Antron Brown secured his third NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel world championship Sunday at the NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas.
After defeating Wayne Newby in the quarterfinals, Brown outlasted his two closest chasers, Doug Kalitta, who lost in the quarterfinal round to Steve Torrence, and Shawn Langdon, who fell in the first round to J.R. Todd, to secure the season crown.
In other drag racing, John Force (Funny Car), Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were event winners in their respective categories at the 23rd race on the 24 event NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. It is the fifth of the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
It is Brown's second consecutive world championship, and he also clinched the title at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2015. His first championship came in 2012.
It is the first time in seven years that a Top Fuel champion has won back-to-back titles.
"Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) and our entire team has worked so hard, and I'm just privileged to drive that racecar for Don Schumacher Racing because Don makes it all happen," Brown said. "When you come to a sport with all this access, it makes dreams like mine, a kid from New Jersey, come true. My dad, uncle, everybody, they instilled it in me at a young age, work hard and you can make great things happen."
Brown won his first race of the season at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas and had a runner-up finish at the next event, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. A win in Epping, N.H., kept him second in points. Brown took the points lead at the Route 66 Nationals and never relinquished the top spot.
During the famed West Coast Swing, he made a final-round appearance at Denver and raced to his fourth victory of the season in Seattle. His success continued during the Countdown to the Championship, as he piloted his dragster to three victories in the first four races.
Force powered his Peak Antifreeze Chevy Camaro to a 3.884-second pass at 327.19 mph to defeat daughter, Courtney Force, who raced a 3.906 at 325.85 in her Traxxas Chevy Camaro. It was the elder Force's 147th career victory, fourth of the season and sixth at The Strip at LVMS.
"I'm really excited," said Force, a 16-time world champion and the winningest driver in NHRA history. "I mean, I never like beating my daughter. We got two wins in the Countdown just a little bit late. It's pretty exciting when I see the stands packed.
"The way NHRA and the way our TV deal has really been hopping, sold-out crowds, and so many things going on. To be a part of it still at my age is really awesome."
It was the fifth time the father and daughter had faced each other in a race finals. The most recent was in Denver, where John also won.
Force defeated John Bojec, Chad Head, and Matt Hagan in the earlier rounds en route to the win. With the semifinal finish, Hagan moved to second in the points standings, 86 behind Ron Capps who fell to Courtney in the semifinals.
Torrence piloted his Capco Contractors dragster to a 3.734 pass at 323.81 to defeat J.R. Todd's 3.762 at 321.96 in his SealMaster dragster in the Top Fuel final. It was Torrence's third win of the season, eighth of his career and first at The Strip at LVMS.
"It's been a good weekend all together," Torrence said. "We kind of struggled the first few races of the countdown and dropped the ball. I mean, heck, we had to turn it on and come up here and try to do some good.
"The Capco guys have really stayed focus and stayed driven and did what it took to overcome just some bad luck and a couple screw-ups on my part. We have a really good team, we have a championship caliber team, I believe."
Torrence defeated Richie Crampton, Doug Kalitta and Leah Pritchett to get to the finals, while Todd faced Shawn Langdon, No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican and 2016 champion Brown in the earlier rounds.
In Pro Stock, Gray raced his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro to a 6.719 pass at 204.76 to defeat teammate Drew Skillman for his first win of the season, the fifth of his career and first at The Strip.
"It was a great weekend," Gray said. "It was a really good weekend for me. We were talking out there I think I've been in nine semis this year, and I haven't won since U.S. Nationals in 2014.
"It was a great day. I've got one more race to run and then my son is getting in the car, so I can't think of a better time to win. Awesome day."
Gray had victories against Deric Kramer, Bo Butner and Greg Anderson before reaching his first final round of the season. His win moved him into third in points. Jason Line and Anderson remain in the first and second spots, respectively, after they both fell in the semifinals.
Savoie rode his Savoie's Alligator Farm Suzuki to a 6.915 at 194.13 to defeat Andrew Hines in the Pro Stock Motorcycle final round for his second win of the season, sixth of his career and first in Las Vegas.
"To do what we did here, we've been working hard," Savoie said. "Tim (Kulungian) went back to the shop and looked at a bunch of notes and got on a dyno and an engine we had back home and did some work. It's like football and anything else, the harder you work, the better you get.
"It all came together this weekend. No. 1 qualifier every round, and we've got a fast motorcycle. It's going to be very, very interesting when we get to Pomona."
Savoie defeated Scott Pollacheck, L.E. Tonglet and Matt Smith in the early rounds and is now three points behind Harley-Davidson teammates Hines and Eddie Krawiec, who are tied for the points lead.
The final race of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series 2016 season, The Auto Club NHRA Finals, will be Nov. 10-13 in Pomona, Calif.
In other action, Troy Coughlin raced to victory Sunday in the final NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series race of the 2016 season. The Pro Mod event was presented by Aeromotive, Inc. and was a portion of the NHRA Toyota Nationals.
Coughlin, a two-time world champion, powered his JEGS.com Chevy Corvette to a 5.814-second pass at 250.78 mph to defeat Todd Tutterow's 6.018 at 233.92. This was the third win of the season for Coughlin who narrowly lost the season championship to Rickie Smith.
"We're gonna take [the trophy] every time we get a chance to," said Coughlin. "Steve Petty (crew chief) and all the guys on the team and back at Jegs.com and Proline Racing Engines gave us a fast race car pretty much all year. Especially in the last half of the season it's been fast, consistent, and will win races."
Coughlin, who won in Englishtown, N.J., and St. Louis, outlasted Pete Farber, Kevin Rivenbark and Rickie Smith in the earlier rounds.
The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series concluded with a season ending celebration in Las Vegas and honored three-time champion Rickie Smith.
Final finish order (1-16) at the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race is the 23rd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Sunday's final results from the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race is the 23rd of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel -- Steve Torrence, 3.734 seconds, 323.81 mph def. J.R. Todd, 3.762 seconds, 321.96 mph.
Funny Car -- John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.884, 327.19 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.906, 325.85.
Pro Stock -- Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.719, 204.76 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 19.793, 27.72.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.915, 194.13 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, Foul - Red Light.
Pro Modified -- Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.814, 250.78 def. Todd Tutterow, Chevy Camaro, 6.018, 233.92.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Garrett Bateman, 5.277, 275.56 def. Joey Severance, 5.305, 269.89.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Terry Ruckman, Chevy Camaro, 5.642, 261.32 def. DJ Cox Jr., Camaro, 5.779, 219.72.
Competition Eliminator -- David Rampy, Bantam, 7.368, 169.06 def. Jeff Lane, Chevy Cobalt, 8.222, 167.63.
Super Stock -- Kyle Rizzoli, Chevy Camaro, 9.877, 125.33 def. Ryan McClanahan, Chevy Cobalt, 8.757, 156.95.
Stock Eliminator -- Darrel Goheen, Chevy Camaro, 11.243, 117.74 def. Nanette Stein, Ford Thunderbird, Foul - Red Light.
Super Comp -- Michael Miller, Dragster, 9.069, 163.93 def. Mike Hiatt, Dragster, 9.046, 170.82.
Super Gas -- Tommy Phillips, Chevy Corvette, 10.057, 157.74 def. Kevin Moore, Chevy Roadster, 10.043, 157.25.
Final round-by-round results from the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 23rd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
ROUND ONE -- J.R. Todd, 3.752, 324.12 def. Shawn Langdon, 10.405, 82.67; Wayne Newby, 3.836, 313.88 def. Tony Schumacher, 9.603, 74.72; Clay Millican, 3.751, 319.45 def. Terry Haddock, 4.086, 287.66; Leah Pritchett, 3.742, 320.20 def. Shawn Reed, 3.931, 310.41; Doug Kalitta, 3.976, 251.77 def. Scott Palmer, Broke; Antron Brown, 3.765, 323.89 def. Terry McMillen, 6.274, 108.62; Steve Torrence, 3.730, 327.74 def. Richie Crampton, 3.766, 317.19; Brittany Force, 3.772, 321.58 def. Tripp Tatum, 4.005, 238.85;
QUARTERFINALS -- Brown, 3.771, 322.11 def. Newby, 3.896, 273.11; Todd, 3.709, 328.94 def. Millican, 3.727, 328.38; Pritchett, 3.816, 279.21 def. Force, 4.303, 223.65; Torrence, 3.732, 324.83 def. Kalitta, 3.739, 324.75;
SEMIFINALS -- Torrence, 3.742, 327.59 def. Pritchett, 3.768, 322.96; Todd, 3.719, 329.02 def. Brown, 7.720, 92.29;
FINAL -- Torrence, 3.734, 323.81 def. Todd, 3.762, 321.96.
ROUND ONE -- John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.906, 326.95 def. John Bojec, Toyota Camry, 5.118, 163.41; Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.890, 326.95 def. Jeff Arend, Charger, 5.805, 98.91; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.911, 328.14 def. John Hale, Charger, 4.389, 201.82; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.916, 323.66 def. Paul Lee, Camry, 3.965, 329.34; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.244, 218.55 def. Robert Hight, Camaro, 6.649, 105.01; Chad Head, Camry, 4.757, 264.55 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 7.027, 125.26; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.923, 327.35 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.949, 321.65; Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.888, 327.82 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, Broke - No Show;
QUARTERFINALS -- J. Force, 3.917, 325.92 def. Head, 4.032, 280.66; Hagan, 3.887, 329.02 def. Worsham, 3.935, 326.71; C. Force, 3.886, 321.73 def. Beckman, 7.852, 78.74; R. Capps, 3.921, 323.43 def. Pedregon, Broke - No Show;
SEMIFINALS -- J. Force, 3.928, 330.39 def. Hagan, 6.561, 122.13; C. Force, 3.880, 326.48 def. R. Capps, 3.937, 317.49;
FINAL -- J. Force, 3.884, 327.19 def. C. Force, 3.906, 325.85.
ROUND ONE -- Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.714, 205.01 def. Erica Enders, Dodge Dart, 6.737, 204.54; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 7.408, 138.24 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, Foul - Red Light; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.676, 206.07 def. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.739, 204.76; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.698, 205.32 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.739, 203.25; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.707, 205.66 def. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.744, 203.28; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.702, 206.01 def. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.750, 204.70; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.679, 206.01 def. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.783, 202.48; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.682, 205.82 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.757, 203.68;
QUARTERFINALS -- Skillman, 6.708, 205.76 def. Nobile, 6.735, 205.19; Gray, 6.702, 205.19 def. Butner, 6.721, 205.26; Anderson, 6.692, 205.60 def. McGaha, 6.725, 205.22; Line, 6.698, 205.76 def. Laughlin, 6.729, 205.29;
SEMIFINALS -- Skillman, 6.716, 205.98 def. Line, 14.554, 58.27; Gray, 6.717, 205.22 def. Anderson, 6.730, 206.10;
FINAL -- Gray, 6.719, 204.76 def. Skillman, 19.793, 27.72.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
ROUND ONE -- Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.908, 194.24 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.116, 185.49; Angie Smith, 7.052, 187.86 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.968, 192.77; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.982, 191.10 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, Foul - Red Light; Cory Reed, Buell, 6.993, 190.32 def. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.978, 191.59; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.966, 190.94 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, Foul - Red Light; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.995, 192.36 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.035, 191.65; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.937, 193.65 def. Melissa Surber, Buell, 7.019, 189.10; Matt Smith, 6.961, 191.67 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 7.205, 160.23;
QUARTERFINALS -- Savoie, 6.951, 192.58 def. Tonglet, 7.028, 191.81; Hines, 6.985, 190.38 def. A. Smith, 7.057, 189.28; M. Smith, 6.992, 190.81 def. Reed, 7.141, 186.56; Krawiec, 6.948, 193.18 def. Arana Jr, 7.027, 191.16;
SEMIFINALS -- Savoie, 6.919, 194.10 def. M. Smith, Foul - Red Light; Hines, 6.968, 193.13 def. Krawiec, 7.014, 191.32;
FINAL -- Savoie, 6.915, 194.13 def. Hines, Foul - Red Light.
Point standings (top 10) following the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 23rd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series -
Pro Stock Motorcycle
*Clinched Top Fuel Championship.
Final finish order (1-16) at the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race is the final of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
Sunday's final results from the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race is the final of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
Pro Modified -- Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.814, 250.78 def. Todd Tutterow, Chevy Camaro, 6.018, 233.92.
Final round-by-round results from the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the race is the final of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
ROUND ONE -- Clint Hairston, Chevy Camaro, 5.923, 246.53 def. Steven Whiteley, Cadillac CTS-V, 6.214, 244.25; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.906, 245.36 def. Danny Rowe, Chevy Corvette, 5.949, 244.34; Kevin Rivenbark, Corvette, 5.980, 228.00 def. Michael Bowman, Chevy Chevelle, 5.909, 255.53; Michael Biehle, Ford Mustang, 5.856, 250.92 def. Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.928, 243.55; Todd Tutterow, Camaro, 5.884, 243.72 def. Shane Molinari, Pontiac Firebird, 5.909, 252.00; Jim Whiteley, Chevelle, 5.925, 242.32 def. Sidnei Frigo, Corvette, Foul - Red Light; Troy Coughlin, Corvette, 5.787, 252.10 def. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 9.414, 111.57; Bob Rahaim, Corvette, 5.868, 244.65 def. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.925, 243.46;
QUARTERFINALS -- J. Whiteley, 5.907, 243.41 def. Hairston, 5.932, 246.21; Tutterow, 5.947, 242.63 def. Rahaim, 8.256, 122.49; Smith, 5.874, 246.26 def. Biehle, 5.910, 250.60; Coughlin, 5.776, 252.76 def. Rivenbark, 5.961, 237.67;
SEMIFINALS -- Tutterow, 5.840, 245.40 def. J. Whiteley, Foul - Red Light; Coughlin, 5.796, 252.80 def. Smith, Foul - Red Light;
FINAL -- Coughlin, 5.814, 250.78 def. Tutterow, 6.018, 233.92.
Point standings (top 10) following the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the race is the final of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.