Brainerd: Post race report

TOP FUEL Brandon Bernstein, of Lake Forest, Calif., claimed his 11th career victory in 14 career final rounds, by powering his Budweiser dragster to the win over Tony Schumacher's U.S. Army dragster, which lost traction near mid-track. Bernstein...


Brandon Bernstein, of Lake Forest, Calif., claimed his 11th career victory in 14 career final rounds, by powering his Budweiser dragster to the win over Tony Schumacher's U.S. Army dragster, which lost traction near mid-track. Bernstein posted a dominating winning performance of 4.510 seconds at 329.34 mph, while Schumacher's dragster crossed the finish line in 7.098 at 126.52.

This was Schumacher's fifth consecutive final round, two short of his record of seven that he set at the final seven events of the 2005 season.

Schumacher earned his eighth No. 1 qualifier this season and the 30th of his career with a 4.499-second pass at 330.72 mph.

Schumacher's loss in the final and Funny Car No. 1 qualifier John Force's loss in the second round kept intact the 2006 record of No. 1 qualifiers never having won a nitro event in 2006.

Brandon's third win of 2006 pulled him to within 116 points of Doug Kalitta in the POWERade Series point standings. Schumacher, meanwhile, moved into a tie for second place with Melanie Troxel, 81 points behind Kalitta.

After Chicago (six events ago), Schumacher was in eighth place and 336 points behind then-leader Troxel.

POWERade Series points leader Kalitta and No. 2 Troxel each suffered second-round losses -- Kalitta was beaten by Schumacher and Troxel lost in a holeshot to Rod Fuller.

Tony Schumacher's U.S. Army team won the Full Throttle Pit Crew challenge award.


Tommy Johnson Jr., of Avon, Ind., earned his second victory of the season (Phoenix, Brainerd) by driving his Skoal Chevy Monte Carlo to the win over Gary Scelzi's Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger.

Johnson Jr. had the best car all day Sunday and it showed in the final as he powered his Skoal Funny Car to a solid 4.741 at 321.73 against Scelzi's tire-spinning 7.387 at 112.75.

John Force was the No. 1 qualifier in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang with his 4.773-second pass at 323.74 mph. It was Force's fifth No. 1 qualifier this season and the 130th career of his career.

POWERade Series points leader Ron Capps lost to Bob Gilbertson in the first round in his Brut Dodge Charger, but second-place John Force was only able to narrow the deficit by 22 points. Force -- a 10-time winner at Brainerd International Raceway -- struck the tires against Del Worsham in the second round.

With seven events remaining in the 23-event POWERade Series season beginning with Memphis Aug. 18-20, Capps has a 48-point lead over Force. Capps is looking for his first Series world championship; Force is a 13-time world champ.

Capps, who qualified No. 3, wasn't the only favorite eliminated in the first round. In the bottom half of the draw, No. 2 Tony Pedregon was beaten by Tim Wilkerson and No. 7 Robert Hight was beaten by Jim Head.

John Force's Castrol GTX Ford Mustang team won the Full Throttle Pit Crew challenge award.


Dave Connolly did it again to the powerful Summit Racing team with a holeshot win over Jason Line in the final -- after he'd beaten a red-lighting Greg Anderson in the semis. Connolly became the first driver in the class to win four events this year when he drove his Skull Shine Chevy Cobalt to a 6.743 at 204.17 to beat Line's 6.737 at 205.22 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO.

Connolly had a .013 light to Line's .052 to win by a final margin of .033.

Line maintained his POWERade Series by 83 over Anderson and 108 over Connolly.

This was the first professional final-round appearance at Brainerd International Raceway & Resort for Line, who grew up bracket racing there. He won his first Stock Eliminator national event at BIR in 1992.

Greg Anderson claimed another No. 1 qualifier with his 6.736-second pass at 204.20 mph. It was his eighth this season and the 48th of his career.

Anderson, however, remains shut out on Sunday since his season-opening win at the Winternationals in Pomona.

Larry Morgan earned the Motel 6 Who Got the Light Award for his narrow 0.003-second first-round victory over Dave Howard.

Jason Line's Summit Racing team won the Full Throttle Pit Crew challenge award.


Antron Brown earned his second victory of the season and he regained the POWERade Series points lead with his final-round win over Steve Johnson. Brown rode his U.S Army Suzuki to a 7.108-second pass at 186.85 mph to beat Johnson's 7.159 at 187.60 on his Snap-on Tools/WyoTech Suzuki.

Brown (730 points) edged ahead of Andrew Hines (715) by 15 points with 10 of 15 Pro Stock Motorcycle events complete. Only 51 points separate first-place Brown from fourth-place Angelle Sampey (679).

It was Brown's 32nd career final round and his second straight this season (lost to Chip Ellis at the last event in Sonoma).

Ellis claimed the No. 1 qualifying spot atop his Drag Specialties S&S Buell Twin with his 7.086-second pass at 186.41 mph.

Angelle Sampey was in position to regain the points lead after her first-round win over Ryan Schnitz, but she was stunned moments after celebrating the win-light when she weighed in five pounds underweight and was disqualified. Pro Stock Motorcycles can be no less than 615 pounds and Angelle's U.S. Army Suzuki weighed in at 610 pounds.

Schnitz kept the hot dice into the second round when he won with a 22-second pass -- No. 3 qualifier Karen Stoffer was disqualified with a red light. His luck ran out in the semifinals against Steve Johnson, who ended Schnitz's surprise run with a 7.173-second pass (to Schnitz'a 7.381 at 179.97).

In one of the all-time Christmas Tree duels, Antron Brown laid down a .002 in the second-round and he needed every bit of it in a photo finish win over Chip Ellis, who nailed a perfect .000 reaction time. The margin of victory for Antron was .005.

Ellis's Drag Specialties S&S Buell team won the Full Throttle Pit Crew challenge award.


Jim Tarasenko, 53, of Minot, Minn., won the 15th round of the NHRA POWERade Series Fan Nationals. Tarasenko defeated hundreds of area fans to claim the POWERade Fan Nationals victory, driving realistic POWERade Funny Car simulators. With the victory, Tarasenko will have the opportunity to race for the ultimate title of 2006 POWERade Fan Nationals Series champion in November at the 42nd Annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals.

-credit: nhra

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Antron Brown , Bob Gilbertson , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , Tim Wilkerson , Karen Stoffer , Brandon Bernstein , Jason Line , Ryan Schnitz , Andrew Hines , Steve Johnson , Chip Ellis , Robert Hight , Dave Howard , Rod Fuller , Angelle Sampey , Dave Connolly , Tommy Johnson Jr.