Infinenon Raceway Sears Point
Brown Puts Toyota Into Winner’s Circle At Infineon; Four Toyotas Advance To Semi-Finals
Antron Brown defeated teammate Tony Schumacher to win today’s NHRA Full Throttle Series FRAM/Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., for his third victory of the season and put Toyota into the Winner’s Circle for the 10th time in 13 Top Fuel races this season.
The event was one of the strongest of the season for the Toyota contingent. Four Toyota drivers advanced to the semi-finals as Larry Dixon and Del Worsham also progressed in Top Fuel, while Cruz Pedregon did likewise in Funny Car.
Brown, who qualified third, beat Ron August, Jr., in the opening round and then defeated David Grubnic in the second round before locking horns with fellow Toyota pilot Worsham in the semi-finals and eventually Schumacher in the finals. In the last three races, he now has one victory and two semi-final appearances to help propel him into third-place in the point race.
Worsham defeated Clay Millican and Spencer Massey as he advanced to the semi-finals or beyond for the ninth time in 13 races this season. Dixon narrowly defeated Morgan Lucas in the first all-Toyota match-up of the day and then eliminated Terry McMillen in round two before falling in the semi’s.
Both Morgan Lucas Racing cars were eliminated in the first round, but the result wasn’t indicative of how strong the team ran on Sunday. Lucas and Shawn Langdon each turned in sub-3.9-second passes with Lucas registering a 3.880-second run in his narrow defeat to Dixon, while Langdon ran a 3.896 in a close loss to Grubnic.
In Funny Car, Pedregon appeared to be on the verge of a disastrous weekend midway through the day on Saturday. Heading into his final qualifying run, the two-time Funny Car champ had yet to drive his way into the field. He forced his way into the show with a dramatic final pass, jumping all the way up into the 10th spot. He edged Matt Hagan in the opening round and then defeated number two qualifier Robert Hight to reach the semi-finals. He eventually fell to Ron Capps in the semi-finals, but not before closing to within 23 points of third place with just three races remaining before the Countdown.
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series concludes its three-races-in-three-weeks western swing next weekend with the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Seattle, Wash.
Antron Brown, Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “It was a great day. It’s special when we get two Schumacher cars into the final. We’re teammates all weekend, but when you come up against each other, deep down we both want to win. Tony wants to kick my butt as badly as I want to kick his – and then afterward, we will always happy for each other because we know whoever wins earned it. We also were able to step up and beat the Al-Anabi guys again this weekend. That’s an incredible team, but they are our main rivals and it’s always special to beat them. We’re peaking at the right time. Having the momentum heading into the Countdown is so important. That’s how you win championships. You can never let up out there because the competition is ridiculous right now. One little hiccup and you’re done.”
Cruz Pedregon, Snap-On Tools Toyota Camry Solara: “As a team owner, I’m ecstatic with the performance of our Snap-On Toyota. We turned the corner this weekend and I think we had the best car out there at the end. As a driver it was disappointing (redlighting in the semi-finals), but our approach has been to live on the edge and we’ll keep doing that. That’s what we have to do to beat these guys. The last two years have been painful missing out on the top-10. We made the decision that we just had to dig deep and do whatever it took and it’s paid off.”
By: toyota motorsports