Antron Brown raced to his first win of the season in Top Fuel Sunday at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway.
Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) were also winners at the second of 23 races in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
Brown held off fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher in the final when he powered his Matco Tools dragster to a 3.793-second pass at 319.82 mph. It was Brown’s first win of the season in his second consecutive final-round appearance. It was also his 32nd win, with 16 victories in Top Fuel and 16 in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
“It was an incredible day,” said Brown. “The competition in Top Fuel now, pound for pound, is like a 324-mph Pro Stock class. Even though the odds were against us, we dug down deep and believed in our Matco Tools boys. We took it one round at a time and really had to battle with these guys. Making it to the final round for the second race in a row is a real huge statement. But it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, especially when the Countdown gets tight.”
The win moved Brown to the top spot in the Top Fuel standings, 32 points ahead of second-place Schumacher, who continued his winless streak to eight final-round appearances. Schumacher’s last win came in Las Vegas in October 2010. DSR teammate Spencer Massey sits third after his second-round appearance.
In Funny Car, Hight powered his Auto Club Ford Mustang past John Force Racing teammate Mike Neff when he posted a 4.139 at 307.07 in the final. It was Hight’s first win at Firebird Int'l Raceway and 24th of his career.
“It’s pretty exciting two weekends in a row having all-John Force Fords in the final,” said Hight. “You have to cherish that because you know that’s not going to keep happening. It’s tough to do. What’s really cool is I got in that Traxxas [Nitro] Shootout. When they show you the rules and there’s seven guaranteed in there – the first seven winners – that isn’t that easy. There’s a lot of good Funny Cars out here, so to get it this early, it’s a little relief.”
With the win, Hight moved to second in the points standings behind teammate Neff. Team owner John Force sits third, four points behind Hight. Force fell in the first round to daughter Courtney Force, who went on to her first semifinal appearance.
Defending Pro Stock world champion Line held off KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson to secure his first win of the season. Line drove his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac GXP to a 6.558 at 211.69 past Anderson to secure his 28th win and first at Firebird Int'l Raceway.
“This is a great start,” said Line. “I felt like I had the best car at both races, but we just didn’t get the job done in Pomona. This was the first off-season we’ve had in a while without any tragedies, and I think it shows in how we’ve started off the year. All in all, it was a great day and a great weekend.”
With the win, Line moved to second in the points standings, one point behind leader Anderson, who made his second consecutive final-round appearance of the season. Recent runner-up finisher Jeg Coughlin Jr. sits fifth after his first-round loss to Line.
Friday: Langdon, Gray, Line race to No. 1 qualifying spots Friday in Phoenix Saturday: Langdon, Gray, Edwards secure No. 1 qualifying positions in Phoenix
Points: Brown, Neff move to top of nitro standings; Anderson still leads Pro Stock