Brown Increases NHRA Playoff Lead 

Antron Brown raced to his sixth Top Fuel victory of the season during Sunday’s AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals  at Gateway Motorsports Park and in the process increased his championship points lead……

Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the event, the first race for NHRA in the St. Louis area in more than two years.

Brown defeated championship rival Spencer Massey in the final round and moved 21 points ahead of theTexasdriver as only three races remain in the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Antron Brown raced to his 6th Top Fuel win of the season at St. Louis and padded his overall Full Throttle points lead.

Brown, who battled side-by-side with Massey all weekend, took the victory with a final round performance of 3.766 seconds at 325.22 mph in his Matco Tools/Aaron’s dragster, while Massey trailed with a 3.812 at 324.05 in his FRAM/Prestone dragster.

“Our team hit a grand slam here this weekend,” Brown said. “We qualified No. 1 and took it one round at a time. It was a great weekend, but it’s always a struggle. This class is very competitive, and these guys aren’t playing anymore. You have your struggles here and there, and you have to keep on overcoming them. I’m just so happy for our Aaron’s/Matco guys.”

Brown beat Bruce Litton, Steve Torrence and Brandon Bernstein in early rounds before unleashing his quickest run of the day in the final against Massey. 

“It was a stressful day where we matched up against some great competition,” Brown said. “Matching up against my teammate [Massey] in the final was big – we’ve been back and forth in the points.  It’s great to have six wins, but right now they’re all in the past.  We need to go back to the shop and get focused on these last three races. It’s just so competitive out here and this points race is going to go down to the last race.”

Beckman moved to within 30 points of Funny Car points leader Ron Capps by racing to his third victory of the season. He took the final round win in his Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger over Matt Hagan, who fouled at the start in his DieHard Dodge Charger.

Jack Beckman remained in serious 2012 NHRA Championship contention with another convincing win driving the Valvoline-sponsored Dodge Charger.

“It’s nice to know that we have a car that can challenge for the championship,” said Beckman, who beat Alexis DeJoria, Jeff Arend and Tony Pedregon to advance to the final round. “This wasn’t do-or-die, but it’s getting pretty close. I’m not saying we counted points, but we had a tablet going with a lot of cross marks and updated math. Losing to Capps by four-thousandths inDallashurt a lot, but today went a long way towards healing that. It’s awesome to know that we have three races to go and are only 30 points back. All we want is a fighting chance going intoPomona.”

Points leader Capps lost in the second round to Hagan, a non-Countdown performer and the defending world champ who has now advanced to back-to-back final rounds in the playoffs. Beckman was surprised when he saw Hagan blast away from the line so early in the final.

“From my perspective, you’re ready to go up there and squeeze the trigger if anything happens,” Beckman said. “I heard noise, saw the red light come on, and saw the big DieHard logo from Matt’s car. We have a big respect for that car. Over the last four races, it might be the best-running car on average.”

Canadian Jeff Arend was a performance star at St. Louis — setting top speed of the meet in Fuel FC at a career best 312.93 mph.


In Pro Stock, Enders earned her fourth victory of the season and first ever in the playoffs by using a reaction time advantage to defeat series points leader Allen Johnson in the final round. She powered her GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt to a 6.540 at 211.79 to finish just inches in front of Johnson’s Team Mopar Dodge Avenger, who posted a quicker, but losing run of 6.538 at 212.13.

Erica Enders won for the 4th time this season in Pro Stock and moved to 3rd place in the NHRA Championship points chase.

 “This is the win I wanted to get inTexaslast week, but I’ll take it,” Enders said. “We were definitely consistent this weekend and that’s why we got to the final so I could race my bud [Allen Johnson] and get to the winner’s circle.”

Enders outran Shane Gray, teammate Dave Connolly and event top qualifier Jason Line to advance to her second straight Countdown final round appearance.

“It is a total team effort every week,” she said. “My team is the reason why I get to do this. They’re great. They helped me get down a tricky track when other guys were getting in pedal-fests. We were a little behind performance-wise in the final, but we made a good run and I did my job.”

With the runner-up finish and third straight final round appearance in the Countdown playoffs, Johnson increased his series lead to 109 over Line, while Enders moved to third in the standings, 126 back of Johnson.

Krawiec claimed his seventh Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of the season and increased his points lead to 33 over his final round opponent and teammate, Andrew Hines. Krawiec took his 18th career victory when Hines fouled on his identically-prepared Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.

Eddie Krawiec won for the 7th time in PSM this season!

Krawiec took three of his round wins via red-light starts by his opponents, including his first round win over Steve Johnson and second round win over Chip Ellis. Krawiec used a strong performance on his Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson to outrun Hector Arana Sr.’s Lucas Oil Buell in the semifinals.

“Andrew and I were lucky to take out the Hectors in the semis and that really helped us in the points,” Krawiec said. “I lost  in Dallas due to rider error. I had a .066 light which is unacceptable. This week I was good on the tree and had a good bike which is what it takes to win some rounds. Yes, I had three red-lights against me here but I did well and all my runs were good. I pushed it a little in the final but I know the potential of what he [Andrew] has. He crushed me in Charlotte.” 

Posted by:  NHRA Communications

Photos by:  Dave Ostaszewski 

Coughlin Lights Cigar in Pro Mod! 

Every year Troy Coughlin buys a box of cigars in anticipation of winning a national event in the NHRA Pro Mod Series presented by ProCare Rx. After defeating Danny Rowe in the finals of the AAA Insurance for his first Pro Mod win since 2005 — it was finally time to break the seal. 

Troy Coughlin powered his way to a very convincing 1st win in the NHRA ProCare RX Pro Mod Challenge series,

“We’ve been saving these babies for a while,” Coughlin said as a broad smile came across his face. “I was hoping we’d pick up a couple more wins this year but it’s not for a lack of effort.  “The win hasn’t sunk in 100 percent yet. I do know we’re pretty excited here.”  

Coughlin beat Rickie Smith, Leah Pruett and Pete Farber before crossing paths with Rowe in one of the most herky-jerky final rounds the class has seen in a while. 

With the trophy on the line, Coughlin’s turbo Chevy Camaro started up and rolled to with waterbox without issue. Rowe’s car fired up, sounded all wrong and was shut off on the line. Ever the sportsman, Coughlin was willing to wait, but was instructed to move forward and do his burnout by an NHRA official.  

“It’s always a better show when you have two cars competing,” Coughlin said. “We try to be good sportsmen and didn’t want anything for free. But when the NHRA was telling me to go ahead and start doing the burnout, I kind of had to follow their lead. Fortunately, (Rowe’s team) fixed their problems pretty fast, so we were able to get a good race off after all.”  

When they finally lined up, there was a slight moment of anxiousness when it looked like the turbo didn’t want to stage. But it finally turned on both bulbs and took the green light cleanly. 

“We were on the lucky end of the stick and made a great run,” Coughlin said. “When I let the button go at the starting line in the final, I knew it was over when I didn’t see him, because those blower cars accelerate fast. From then on, I just focused on making a clean run. “It was just our time to win, finally.”  

Coughlin got off the line first and sailed through to a pass of 5.873 seconds at 257.58 mph, his best lap of the weekend. Rowe sputtered at halftrack and finished in 6.732 seconds at 179.42 mph.  

The Pro Mod Final saw Troy Coughlin’s turbocharged Camaro beat the supercharged Camaro driven by Canadian Danny Rowe.

“My guys Steve Petty, Bryan Metzenheim, Mike Rees, Nick Gaylord and all the folks back at deserve all the credit,” Coughlin said. “Pro Line, our engine shop, has given us a fantastic power all year. We beat a five-star team today.”  

The Camaro was firing straight and true all weekend. In the quarterfinals against Pruett, Coughlin was off the line first and won on a holeshot. His .032-second advantage paired with a pass of 5.922 seconds at 236.75 mph was enough to overcome Pruett’s 5.912-second lap at 251.58 mph.  

In the semis, Coughlin was off the line first again and rolled to a 5.930 at 252.99 mph, with Farber finishing with a 6.041 at 243.68 mph.  

Coughlin said winning this Wally trophy ranks among his favorite moments in racing.  

“It’s right up there with the with $50,000 shootout in Bristol and the $50,000 Street Car Shootout at the Big Dog race,” he said. “This is pretty cool stuff.” 

And the season is far from over for Coughlin. He moved into third place in the Pro Mod standings; one point behind second place and 42 points out of the lead.  

Posted by:  Scott Woodruff  –  Photos by: Auto Imagery 

Event Essentials:   NHRA AAA Auto Insurance Mid-West Nationals (Sep. 28-30th, 2012)  Madison IL 

TOP FUEL Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Antron Brown 3.766 325.22 37th
R/UP: Spencer Massey 3.812 324.05  
Low ET: Antron Brown 3.737    
Top Speed: Antron Brown   326.79  
Bump Spot:   3.902    
FUNNY CAR       Career Win
Winner: Jack Beckman 4.132 306.53 15th
R/UP: Matt Hagen 4.528 189.18  
Low ET: Jack Beckman 4.049    
Top Speed: Jeff Arend   312.93  
Bump Spot:   4.187    
PRO STOCK       Career Win
Winner: Erica Enders 6.540 211.79 4th
R/UP: Allen Johnson 6.538 212.13  
Low ET: Jason Line 6.496    
Top Speed: Jason Line   213.47  
Bump Spot:   6.581    
PRO STOCK BIKE       Career Win
Winner: Eddie Krawiec 6.851 193.88 18th
R/UP: Andrew Hines 6.868 193.93  
Low ET: Hector Arana Jr. 6.809    
Top Speed: Eddie Krawiec   197.10  
Bump Spot:   6.987    
ProCare RX Pro Mod        
Winner: Troy Coughlin 5.873 257.58  1st
R/UP: Danny Rowe 6.732 179.42  
Low ET: Don Walsh 5.816    
Top Speed: Troy Coughlin   257.97  
Bump Spot:   12.96    
LUCAS OIL        
Sportsman Winners:        
Competition Clint Neff 9.148  99.07  
Super Stock Fred Bartoli 9.798 134.46  
Stock Daryl Bureski 11.41 103.20  
Super Comp Michael Eggleston 8.889 175.87  
Super Gas Jarod Bowman 9.909 161.19