BROWN CAPS OFF HISTORIC O'REILLY SPRING NATIONALS WITH FIRST TOP FUEL WIN Del Worsham, Greg Anderson and Matt Smith round out winner's circle BAYTOWN, Tex. -- Antron Brown capped off an historic Sunday afternoon at the 21st annual O'Reilly...
BROWN CAPS OFF HISTORIC O'REILLY SPRING NATIONALS WITH FIRST TOP FUEL WIN
Del Worsham, Greg Anderson and Matt Smith round out winner's circle
BAYTOWN, Tex. -- Antron Brown capped off an historic Sunday afternoon at the 21st annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil when he powered his Matco Tools dragster past Larry Dixon U.S. Smokeless dragster to become the first driver in NHRA history to win races in Pro Stock Motorcycle and Top Fuel.
He followed Del Worsham (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) into the winner's circle at the fourth of 24 races in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Brown had won 16 races in Pro Stock Motorcycle before making the jump to the 7,000-horsepower Top Fuel class this year and he'd not been able to get past the quarter finals until Sunday when he sped past Dixon in a terrific final, 4.605 (at 320.28 mph) to 4.621 (at 309.06).
"We've been plagued by the second round all season -- the second round's been biting us, but today we bit back," said Brown, who is the second African-American driver to win a race in Top Fuel (J.R. Todd).
Worsham defeated John Force in the semis and Ashley Force in the final -- 4.933 at 316.60 to 4.971 at 302.62 -- en route to his 22nd career win, but just his first since Labor Day weekend 2005.
"It finally happened," said Worsham, who was sporting a K&N Filters paint scheme over the traditional Checker Schuck's Kragen decal on his Chevy Impala. "Everything came together. I won't say it wasn't without a problem, but my dad (crew chief Chuck Worsham) made some great calls on the starting line. Great day."
Ashley Force was in her second career final round in her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang and she is still the only female competitor to reach a final round in Funny Car.
Anderson's win -- 6.692 at 207.37 in his Summit Pontiac GXP over a tire-shaking Kurt Johnson (13.425 at 64.01) in his ACDelco Chevy Cobalt -- was the 53rd of his career, which moved him one ahead of Joe Amato (52) into solo fifth on the NHRA POWERade Series' all-time wins list.
It was quite a bit different from win No. 52, which came in the season-opener at Pomona when he ran the table from the No. 1 qualifying position.
"We were flawless at Pomona. This was different -- we qualified No. 6, I don't know how it looked (from the stands), but it was a struggle (on the track). The good lord was looking after me today," said Anderson, who still willingly accepted the trophy.
"There's no such thing as an ugly win so we'll take it," he said.
Anderson leap frogged teammate Jason Line and defending POWERade Series world champion Jeg Coughlin to regain the points lead.
The defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion, Smith, powered his Nitro Fish Buell past Matt Guidera's Mohegan Sun Buell, 7.060 at 187.76 to 7.140 at 185.03, to claim his first win of the 2008 season.
"It's an awesome experience," said Smith, who struggled at Gainesville in the season-opener for the two-wheel class. "We were embarrassed the way we raced at Gainesville. We went home and went to work and it showed (with the win Sunday)."