Antron Brown raced to his third Lucas Oil Raceway win Monday as racing came to an end at the prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. Mike Neff, Greg Anderson and Hector Arana Jr. were also winners in their respective categories at the final race of the regular season before the start of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, the six-race playoffs to determine the world championships.
Brown became the first driver to win the historic event in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle when he powered his Matco Tools dragster to a 3.813-second run at 321.73mph. The final round performance was enough to get past Del Worsham and secure his fifth win of the season and 30th of his career.
“Words cannot describe how this feels,” said Brown. “To come here and win at Indy, the biggest stage in drag racing, means so much. It just goes back to my childhood dream and sitting under those grandstands as a kid and saying ‘I want to do that one day.' It's the greatest feeling I've ever had.”
With the final regular season race complete, the Top Fuel field is set for the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. Worsham secured his No. 1 spot in the point standings during qualifying, while Kalitta Racing driver David Grubnic locked down the 10th and final spot after both Terry McMillen and Bob Vandergriff lost in the second round.
In Funny Car, Mike Neff drove his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang past Bob Tasca to secure his first Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win. Neff posted a run of 4.068 at 314.61 in the final round to take his fifth win of the season and sixth of his career. It was also John Force Racing's fifth Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win in the past six seasons.
“This is the big one, the one you dream about,” said Neff. “It's huge to win here. I've never won here as a driver or a crew chief so to be able to do it here as both was great. It probably hasn't even sunk in yet.”
Neff secured his top spot in the Funny Car standings for the Countdown to the Championship during qualifying, while runner-up Tasca clinched the 10th and final spot after Johnny Gray lost in the first round to Daniel Wilkerson.
Pro Stock points leader Anderson continued his domination at Lucas Oil Raceway when he held off teammate Jason Line to earn his sixth Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win. Anderson and his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP posted a final-round run of 6.552 at 210.50 to get his fifth win of the season and 70th of his career. It was also his fourth win in the past six races.
“I feel like it's my first and biggest win ever,” said Anderson. “Every time it happens up here it's just special; it's just magic. I love this place. I think some of the other racers might miss out on how important it is and what it means to race here. There's so much history here. It's just everything about drag racing.”
While Anderson locked up his No. 1 spot in the Countdown to the Championship, Ron Krisher secured the 10th and final spot when 11th-place driver Ronnie Humphrey lost to Allen Johnson in the second round.
Arana Jr. raced to his first career win in Pro Stock Motorcycle when he held off Jerry Savoie in the final round. Arana Jr. rode his Lucas Oil Buell to a 6.867 at 192.60 to take the win in his second consecutive final round appearance for the season.
“It has not sunk in on me yet,” said Arana Jr. “This is the biggest race of the year and I won it in my rookie year. For all my family, this is a hometown event and it just doesn't get any better than this.”
Eddie Krawiec locked up the No. 1 spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle for the Countdown to the Championship while Jim Underdahl secured the final spot with his semifinal round finish.
The NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship begins at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 15-18 at zMAX Dragway.
1. Antron Brown; 2. Del Worsham; 3. Brandon Bernstein; 4. Larry Dixon; 5. Bob Vandergriff; 6. Spencer Massey; 7. Terry McMillen; 8. Doug Kalitta; 9. T.J. Zizzo; 10. David Grubnic; 11. Shawn Langdon; 12. Troy Buff; 13. Brady Kalivoda; 14. Morgan Lucas; 15. Tony Schumacher; 16. Rod Fuller.
1. Mike Neff; 2. Bob Tasca III; 3. Ron Capps; 4. Matt Hagan; 5. Jack Beckman; 6. Jeff Arend; 7. Melanie Troxel; 8. Daniel Wilkerson; 9. Cruz Pedregon; 10. Paul Lee; 11. Robert Hight; 12. Jim Head; 13. Bob Bode; 14. Johnny Gray; 15. Tim Wilkerson; 16. John Force.
1. Greg Anderson; 2. Jason Line; 3. Mike Edwards; 4. Allen Johnson; 5. Ronnie Humphrey; 6. Erica Enders; 7. Vincent Nobile; 8. Rodger Brogdon; 9. Kurt Johnson; 10. Mark Martino; 11. V. Gaines; 12. Greg Stanfield; 13. Shane Gray; 14. Ron Krisher; 15. Chris McGaha; 16. Buddy Perkinson.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:
1. Hector Arana Jr; 2. Jerry Savoie; 3. Chip Ellis; 4. Jim Underdahl; 5. Eddie Krawiec; 6. LE Tonglet; 7. Hector Arana; 8. Shawn Gann; 9. Karen Stoffer; 10. Michael Phillips; 11. Angie Smith; 12. David Hope; 13. Steve Johnson; 14. Matt Smith; 15. Mike Berry; 16. Andrew Hines.