BROWN STORMS TO FOURTH 2011 WIN AT BRAINERD;
TORRANCE, Calif. (Aug. 21, 2011) – Antron Brown continued his torrid late summer streak storming to his fourth victory of the season and his second in the last three races in today’s NHRA Full Throttle Series Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn. The win is the 12th of the season for a Toyota-sponsored Top Fuel driver.
With the victory, Brown moves into second-place in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs and is carrying the momentum into the final regular season race of the season in two weeks. Brown’s recent streak includes two victories and three additional semi-final appearances in the last five races. He defeated four of the top-10 drivers in the championship on the way to the win today - beating Terry McMillen, Doug Kalitta, Del Worsham and Tony Schumacher.
In addition to Brown, two other Toyota drivers enjoyed a strong day as Al-Anabi teammates Worsham and Larry Dixon each advanced to the semi-finals. After qualifying one-two on Saturday, Worsham defeated Bruce Litton and Brandon Bernstein, while Dixon ended the day for Chris Karamesines and Morgan Lucas. For Worsham, it marked the 11th time this season he’s advanced to the semi-finals or beyond. He and Brown have now combined to win five of the last six events.
Lucas defeated Bob Vandergriff to advance to the second round where he fell to Dixon, while teammate Shawn Langdon was eliminated in the first round on Sunday.
In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon registered an impressive second in qualifying. He then defeated John Force in the opening round before falling to eventual winner Johnny Gray in round two. Pedregon has already clinched his first Countdown to the Championship playoff berth since winning the 2008 Funny Car title.
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will conclude its regular season at the prestigious U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend before beginning the first round of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs September 18 in Charlotte.
- Antron Brown’s victory is his fourth of the season and his fifth overall in the last 16 NHRA events. He had previously won at Las Vegas, Atlanta and Sonoma. The victory vaults him into second-place in the Top Fuel point standings. While it is his first Top Fuel win at Brainerd, he previously registered three wins in Pro-Stock Motorcycles.
- Antron Brown has now advanced to the semi-finals or beyond in each of the last five races, including victories today and at Sonoma, and semi-final showings at Chicago, Denver and Seattle. He heads into the final race before the Countdown with a 29-point advantage over third-place.
- Del Worsham advanced to the semi-finals for the 11th time in 15 races this season. He now has a series-best 37-9 elimination round record this season. Worsham extended his championship points lead to 136 points. He can clinch the number one seed for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs simply by qualifying at Indianapolis. He has led the championship hunt since Gainesville – the second race of the 2011 season – and was the first to clinch a berth.
- Toyota-sponsored Top Fuel drivers have won 12 of the first 15 events this season. In addition, Toyota drivers have garnered 18 of the 30 finals spots in Top Fuel events this season. Four of the five Toyota drivers have at least one win and each of the five drivers has appeared in at least one final this season.
- Four Toyota drivers have qualified for the Countdown as Del Worsham, Larry Dixon and Antron Brown have all qualified in Top Fuel, while Cruz Pedregon clinched a berth in Funny Car this week. Both Shawn Langdon and Morgan Lucas can guarantee their spots simply by qualifying for the next race at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
Antron Brown, Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “We were thrown some curveballs in qualifying when we were going for the gusto and trying to get the number one spot, but the Matco team was ready for race day. Mark (Oswald) and Brian (Corradi, crew chiefs) really put their heads down and gave me an incredible race car this weekend. Without a doubt, there’s no love lost with the Al-Anabi cars. We have a lot of respect for that race team and know that the championship goes through them, so we put a lot into trying to win those rounds. We’re going to stay poised and try to take our momentum to Indy.”
Morgan Lucas, GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: "I feel like the weight is off our back a little bit now that we've got a little breathing room between the other people, but that's only for one race. After that, you've got to start paying attention to what you're doing because you've got to beat these guys every race. The bottom line is, we've got to get this thing down the track more. Once we do that, we can give anybody a run. The car showed a lot of promise this weekend. We've still got to gain more consistency and confidence in the tune-up but at least it seems like it's there now. The car wants to wants to run. It's just off a little tick here, a little tick there. I guess that's what happens when you try to run on this level. You've got to be able to dance on that fine line. We're getting closer. We've got the Indy test, and hopefully we can learn a couple things there and get the ball rolling as we head into the Countdown."