Brown moves into points-lead tie
ENNIS, Texas (AP)
Antron Brown raced to his fifth Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday to move into a tie for the points lead, beating teammate Spencer Massey in the final of the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals.
Brown beat Massey with a 3.898-second run at 311.49 mph. Massey, tied with Brown for the lead in the season standings, finished in 3.945 at 300.60.
''This is definitely the way to rebound,'' said Brown, who fell to fourth in the standings after a first-round loss last week in the playoff opener in Concord, N.C.
''I have to give credit to my team for sticking together. We were winning in the first round in Charlotte when we broke an input shaft. It's so easy to get down after something like that. We came here, and the car was throwing us fits by being overaggressive. Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald, co-crew chiefs) kept backing it off until they got a good handle on it in the semis.''
Brown and Massey lead seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher by 24 points.
''In that final, we had to give it everything we had,'' said Brown, who beat Countdown contenders David Grubnic, Langdon and Morgan Lucas in the first three rounds. ''We edged them, and it felt really good to win and to tie them in the points lead. We have four races left, and it's going to be a slugfest to the end. Everybody's throwing haymakers. It's an all-out battle royal right now.''
Bob Tasca topped the Funny Car field, Allen Johnson won in Pro Stock, and Michael Ray in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the second of six playoff events in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.
In Funny Car, Tasca raced to his first victory of the season and fourth of his career in a tire-smoking final against defending series champion Matt Hagan.
Both cars lost traction near mid-track, but Tasca was able to guide his Ford Mustang to the finish line in front of Hagan's Dodge Charger. Neither driver is in the Countdown to the Championship.
Series leader Ron Capps, who lost to Hagan in the semifinals, increased his lead to 96 points over Mike Neff.
Johnson earned his fifth victory of the season and first in the Countdown playoffs by outrunning local favorite Erica Enders in the final round. Johnson's Dodge Avenger pulled away at the start and finished with a 6.598 at 210.93, while Enders' Chevy Cobalt slowed to a 6.835 at 209.39.
Johnson increased his points lead to 93 over defending champion Jason Line.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Texas native Ray claimed his first career victory, powering his Buell to a 6.920 at 192.77 to hold off Karen Stoffer's Suzuki. Ray moved to fourth in the standings.