Meanwhile homestate native Antron Brown roared to his 3 win of the season in Top Fuel while Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious at the ninth of 24 events in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
It was a hard fought third national title win of the year and a return to championship form for Don Schumacher Racing’s (DSR) Matt Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T at the event held at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, New Jersey. The victory was a seventh for the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car since being introduced to competition at the Winternationals season opening event, also won by Hagan, and returned the reigning NHRA world champion to the top of the Funny Car points standings with a 39-point lead.
“Congratulations to Matt (Hagan) for his third win of the year in the new 2015 Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO — Mopar Brand Service, Parts and Customer Care, FCA. “We’re very pleased to see the success the DSR team is having with the new body. A lot of time, investment and hard work went into designing and building a fantastic new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, and to see it win its seventh national title in just nine events this season is a great reward.”
Seeded fourth for eliminations, Hagan took the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T down the track for a monster first round lap to defeat his rival John Force with an elapsed time run of 4.035 seconds at 308.43 mph to his opponent’s 4.131/ 306.12 effort. Hagan then had the challenge of facing his DSR teammates, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps to advance to a final round elimination against Alexis DeJoria’s Toyota Camry.
Hagan ran a 4.132/299.53 against DeJoria’s 4.138/298.40 to earn his second win in three years at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park and the 17th of his career.
“It’s nice to be able to go out here and run so strong and be able to defend the (world championship) title that we won last year,” Hagan said. “Everything just started clicking here this weekend. We’ve been getting better at every race. With everything there is a learning curve and (Crew Chief) Dickie (Venables) just put a great car underneath me this weekend. We were able to beat a lot of really tough race cars out here. Funny Car is the most competitive class out here and it just gets tougher and tougher every weekend.”
Antron Brown raced to his third victory of the season and by doing that earned his first ever Top Fuel win at his home track.
Brown, a local favorite as a native of nearby Chesterfield, powered his Matco Tools dragster to the winner’s circle with a performance of 3.843 seconds at 318.47 mph, also claiming a milestone 50th NHRA victory in the process. Brown has 34 wins in Top Fuel and he earned 16 victories in Pro Stock Motorcycle competition from 1998-2007.
The 2012 Top Fuel world champion and current series points leader raced past Brittany Force’s Monster Energy dragster, which lost traction early in the run and finished in 5.398 at 150.16 in her fifth career final round appearance. As the No. 1 qualifier, Brown defeated Jenna Haddock, Doug Kalitta and Dave Connolly in earlier rounds.
“We knew (my 50th win) was at stake when we came in here, but I put everything of what this race means to the side, and that’s what our team did,” Brown said. “We came in here and treated it like a race. Every race we come in, we put in all the hard work and put in our all. We had to remind ourselves that each and every round. To do it in the hometown and in front of family means the world to me.”
Since the beginning of the 2009 season, Brown has earned 32 victories, which is 10 more than his closest Top Fuel competitor and teammate, Tony Schumacher.
Force raced to her first final round appearance of the season by defeating recent Topeka winner Richie Crampton, defending world champ Schumacher and Terry McMillen in earlier rounds. She was the No. 6 qualifier.
Anderson powered his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to a 6.504 at 214.31 mph to earn his 76th career victory and take over the Pro Stock points lead. He sprinted past Allen Johnson in the final round to earn his second win of the season and a category record sixth trophy at Raceway Park.
“I had a great weekend,” Anderson said. “When I got here, the car ran great right off the trailer. I made eight runs in a row. It was awesome. We got the victory. It’s been a while. It’s good to be back. It’s a neat feeling to have a racecar that can win a race if you just pilot it down the race track and don’t do anything wrong. That’s all a driver can ask for.”
As the No. 1 qualifier, Anderson powered past Val Smeland, newcomer Bo Butner and V. Gaines to make it to his eighth career final round appearance at Raceway Park. Anderson has two victories and three runner-up finishes so far this season.
Johnson, still looking for his first victory of 2015, pushed his Magneti Marelli/Team Mopar Dodge Dart past Larry Morgan, Alan Prusiensky and Shane Gray before meeting Anderson in the finals. This was his third career final round appearance at this event.
Louisiana alligator farmer Savoie earned his second career Pro Stock Motorcycle victory when second-time finalist Jim Underdahl turned on the red-light in the final round. Savoie rode his Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki to a 6.794 at 197.71, earning his first Wally since St. Louis 2014.
Savoie advanced to his sixth career final by racing past Joe DeSantis, series points leader and local favorite Eddie Krawiec and Hector Arana Jr. in the first three rounds. With the win, Savoie ties with LE Tonglet for eighth in the points standings.
“The driver goes from zero-to-hero but I’m not a selfish person, this goes to my crew,” Savoie said. “Those guys worked really hard. The biggest thing is Vance and Hines. You’re running against a group of guys that want to win really bad, like I do, and to give you the power and tell you, ‘You have to find it, but it’s there,’ and you have to compete with them? Great company.”
2nd Generation Glidden Wins!
Bill Glidden, who is son to legendary NHRA Pro Stock racer Bob Glidden, raced to his first career victory during the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the Toyota NHRA Summernationals.
This weekend’s Pro Mod competition at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park is co-presented by Smithfield Foods and Western Beef and is the fourth of 10 events in the season.
Glidden powered his Mickey Thompson Ford 2010 Mustang to a 5.923-second pass at 243.24 mph to beat Don Walsh’s 5.897 at 252.33 in his Precision Turbo/Walsh Motorsports Chevy Camaro on a holeshot. This was a rematch of the final in Houston earlier this year in which Walsh was victorious. His victory came over the quickest assembly of Pro Mod cars in NHRA history – a bump spot of 5.944 secs.
Glidden entered eliminations as the No. 13 qualifier and raced past Steve Matusek, Troy Coughlin and No. 1 qualifier Mike Janis to make it to the final round. Glidden, the son of 10-time NHRA Pro Stock world champ Bob Glidden, is second in championship points.
Don Walsh, the No. 2 qualifier, sprinted past Mike Knowles, Kevin Fiscus and Gainesville winner Bob Rahaim to make it to his final round appearance of the season. Walsh remains the leader in the points category.
The Lucas Oil Lowdown
Arnie Martel lead the list of Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series winners this weekend at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park and the 46th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals.
Martel, of Tewksbury, Mass., powered his ’15 Camaro to his 16th NHRA national event win. The No.1 qualifier laid down a 7.732 second, 160.10 mph lap in the Comp Eliminator final to defeat Thomas Miller, Nottingham Pa., adding to his Englishtown event wins from 2001 and 2012. Miller raced out of the No.2 qualifying position and was quicker off the line but couldn’t hold on, resulting in his first runner-up finish of his career.
Larry Miller, Gettysburg, Pa., picked up his third Super Stock title in three final round appearances by defeating Lincoln Morehead with a pass of 9.800 seconds, 132.80 mph. Miller used a great reaction time off the line to keep ahead of Morehead’s 10.265 second, 118.85 mph pass.
The Stock final would grant a first time winner when Steve Calabro, N. Arlington, N.J., and Eugene Monahan, Brockton, Mass., faced off. Calabro got out of the gate first and clocked in at 10.180 seconds at 121.04 mph to grab the coveted Wally trophy.
The Super Comp title was handed over to Tom Stalba of Hamonton, N.J., when Jack Sepanek Jr, Moosic, Pa., left .004 seconds too early off the line. With the automatic win, Stalba received his second Super Comp victory to go along with his six Super Gas titles.
Unlike Sepanek Jr., Dan Northrop, of Pipersville, Pa., recorded a .004 second reaction time on the green side of the tree in the Super Gas final. With the starting line advantage, he drove his ’75 Vega into the winners circle with a pass of 9.922 seconds, 142.67 mph to defeat Mac Starks Jr, and his pass of 9.904, 162.06. Northrop earns his sixth national event win, splitting them evenly between Super Comp and Super Gas.
Michael Cerro of Mineola N.Y., was denied his first national event win in a close Top Sportsman final against Jeff Brooks, Fredericksburg, Va. Brooks got off the line first in his ’51 Henry J and carried it to the finish, clocking in at 6.745 seconds, 201.04 mph. Cerro came up about a foot short at the 1320’ mark with his 7.013, 196.02 runner up pass.
Posted with files from Pat Caporali, Scott Smith & Eric Lotz
Photos by: Bruce Biegler, Dave DeAngelis & Steve Embling
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