Toyota Motorsports press release
BROWN TAKES TOYOTA TO WINNER’S CIRCLE AT CHARLOTTE
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 18, 2011) – Antron Brown reeled off back-to-back 3.7-second runs in the semi-finals and finals to storm to his third consecutive NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Top Fuel victory at today’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. The win is the 14th of the season for a Toyota-sponsored Top Fuel driver in 17 events.
Brown’s victory is his fourth in the last five races. He eliminated T.J. Zizzo, Bob Vandergriff and Tony Schumacher in advancing to the finals before beating teammate Spencer Massey in the final. He now has registered an amazing 12-round winning streak with an overall 18-1 stretch in elimination rounds dating back over the last five races. With the victory, he moves into the Top Fuel point lead with a 16-point advantage over second with five races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Larry Dixon also enjoyed a strong weekend as he advanced to the semi-finals today. He knocked off fellow Toyota driver Shawn Langdon in round one and then Brandon Bernstein in the second round prior to falling to Massey in the semi-finals. Dixon registered four passes in the 3.7s this weekend. He remains in fourth-place, 48 points out of the top spot.
Del Worsham, who entered the Countdown with the points lead, was upset in the first round and slipped to third in the points. Morgan Lucas and Langdon also were eliminated in the first round.
In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon defeated Robert Hight in a match-up between the number three and four drivers in the points, and then was knocked off by top qualifier Matt Hagan in a tight battle in round two. He remains fourth in points.
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs resume next weekend, September 23-25, at the Texas Motorplex in Dallas with the AAA Texas Fall Nationals.
- Antron Brown’s victory today is his third in a row and his fourth in the last five races. It is his sixth of the season and his seventh overall in the last 18 NHRA events. He is now tied with Del Worsham for the series lead in wins. His previous victories this season came at Las Vegas, Atlanta, Sonoma, Brainerd and Indianapolis.
- Antron Brown currently has a 12-round win streak after winning today. He also has an 18-1 streak in elimination rounds over the last five races. He has now advanced to the semi-finals or beyond in each of the last seven races with four wins – Sonoma, Brainerd, Indy and here today; and three semis – Chicago, Denver and Seattle.
- Toyota-sponsored Top Fuel drivers have won 14 of the first 17 events this season. In addition, Toyota drivers have garnered 21 of the 34 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.
- Larry Dixon advanced to the semi-finals for the third consecutive race today.
- With his first-round upset today, Del Worsham will relinquish the Top Fuel points lead for the first time since taking the lead after Gainesville in the second race of the season. Worsham is now third in the title chase, 38 points behind Antron Brown.
Antron Brown, Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “Three wins in a row against this type of competition feels amazing. We came out on Friday and ran second in qualifying, but yesterday we couldn’t do any more than a 3.81 (seconds). My teammates were really strong and the Al-Anabi guys were very good. We just stayed poised out there and kept digging and digging. Early on our deal was just to stay up with them. Then when we got to the semi-finals against Tony (Schumacher), we knew we had to step up because he consistently had the best car this weekend. And then we responded with a 3.79 and then with a 3.78 in the finals. I can’t say enough about the whole team, they did a great job. It was a hard-fought weekend. There’s still a long way to go in the championship, though, and a lot of hard work to get done.”
Shawn Langdon, Lucas Oil/Speedco Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: "We kind of set ourselves up. We ran one of the quickest runs we've had all season, but the air and track are so good, guys are setting records. It's record-setting conditions at this track. We didn't make a bad run first round – it's one of the fastest mph we've ever ran. We just need to figure something out because we found out that we're further behind than we thought we were. It's not a good way to start the Countdown. But you are running the defending champ. We kept him honest. If they messed up at all, we were winning that race."
Morgan Lucas, GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: "We anticipated they would try to run a 3.70 of some sort. We had to be realistic; we've never run that fast. We went up there and made some pretty good sized moves from Saturday. We made the motor happier. We went down the track, kept them honest and finished in the same frame on the TV show. The guys have done a great job this weekend. Qualifying better might have put us in a little better position, but we're making gains every weekend."