EVENT ESSENTIALS: Lucas Oil Nationals – Aug. 18-21st, 2011 Brainerd MN


New Mexico's Johnny Gray earned his first career win in FC during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals


TOP FUEL Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Antron Brown 3.844 319.22 29th
R/UP: Tony Schumacher 5.806 123.81  
Low ET: Del Worsham 3.808    
Top Speed: Spencer Massey   323.04  
Bump Spot:   3.995    
FUNNY CAR Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Johnny Gray 4.113 307.02 1st
R/UP: Ron Capps 4.134 307.37  
Low ET: Matt Hagan 4.101    
Top Speed: Ron Capps   307.37  
Bump Spot:   4.571    
PRO STOCK Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Greg Anderson 6.599 209.26 69th
R/UP: Erica Enders 6.614 208.10  
Low ET: Jason Line 6.580    
Top Speed: Greg Anderson   209.59  
Bump Spot:        
Winner: LE Tonglet 6.954 191.27 9th
R/UP: Hector Arana III 6.961 194.43  
Low ET: Hector Arana III 6.881    
Top Speed: Eddie Krawiec   195.17  
Bump Spot:   7.050    
LUCAS OIL        
Sportsman Class Winners: Name ET MPH  
TA Dragster Jim Whiteley 5.343 270.27  
TA Funny Car Kris Hool 5.675 256.06  
Pro Snowmobile Ron Bray 8.354 153.33  
Top Sportsman Brian Anthony 7.133 193.52  
Super Stock Randy Hopkins 8.584 135.71  
Stock Ron Mattson 11.33 113.48  
Super Comp Gary Stinnett 8.893 176.58  
Super Gas Randy Vados 9.945 144.12  


NHRA BIR = 1st Score for Johnny Gray

New Mexico’s Johnny Gray earned his first career win in Funny Car eliminator during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals held at Brainerd International Raceway.  Antron Brown raced to his fourth win of the season in Top Fuel and Greg Anderson and LE Tonglet were also winners in their respective categories during the 15th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Gray, who is a Pro Stock driver-turned Funny Car pilot, drove his Service Central Dodge Charger to a final round run of 4.113 secs at 307.02 mph to just get past his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.  It was Gray’s second final round appearance of the season.

“I really wanted to win a race in a Fuel Funny Car,” said Gray. “I’m 58 years old, so there’s probably not a whole lot of time left. There are no words for it.”

With the win, Gray moved to within 62 points of 10th-place driver Bob Tasca with just one race left before the cutoff for the Countdown to the Championship.

The Countdown is one of those deals,” said Gray. “If Tasca has bad luck, we might have a chance. If he runs like he normally does and has good luck, we’re pretty well done. No matter what, we’re putting together a good car that we can carry into next year. The way I look at it, there are guys out there who crucified me when we weren’t running good, and we’ll see if we can’t ruin their chances at a championship.”

Brainerd’s FC program was dominated by Don Schumacher Dodge cars.  In addition to the all Dodge Charger final round, Matt Hagan’s Dodge  qualified low and set low ET at 4.101 secs and r/up Capps earned top speed at 307.37 mph.  

Brown powered his Matco Tools dragster past fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher in the final round to collect the win. His final round run of 3.844-seconds at 319.22 mph proved strong enough to secure his fourth win of the season and 29th of his career. It also moved him up to the second spot in the point standings with just one race remaining until the start of the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, a six-race playoff round to determine the world champion in each category.

Antron Brown's 4th win of the season moved him to 2nd in NHRA Full Throttle points.

 “We were thrown some curveballs in qualifying when we were going for the gusto and trying to get the No. 1 spot, but the Matco team was ready for race day,” said Brown. “Mark (Oswald) and Brian (Corradi, crew chiefs) really put their heads down and gave me an incredible race car this weekend. Without a doubt, there’s no love lost with the Al-Anabi cars. We have a lot of respect for that race team and know that the championship goes through them, so we put a lot into trying to win those rounds. We’re going to stay poised and try to take our momentum to Indy.”

While Brown moved up in the point standings, Top Fuel pilot Brandon Bernstein clinched his berth in the Countdown to the Championship with his second round finish on Sunday. Only the final three spots in the Top 10 point standings in Top Fuel remain open.

In Pro Stock, defending world champion and Minnesota native Greg Anderson followed up his runner-up finish in Seattle with a win against Erica Enders. Anderson drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to a 6.599 at 209.26 to get his fourth win of the season and 69th of his career. The win also moved Anderson to the top of the Pro Stock point standings.

Minnesota native Greg Anderson won his 4th Pro Stock event of the season

“This was a perfect weekend,” said Anderson. “On Friday, our cars were good off of the trailer. Jason (Line, teammate) and I qualified 1 and 2 and we had a ton of confidence. It all fell into place and the only dark spot was Jason losing in the semifinals. We have two good cars right now and I’m proud of our team for that. Jason and I only win races because of our team.”

 Defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion LE Tonglet raced to his fourth win of the season. Tonglet powered his Nitro Fish Suzuki past runner-up Hector Arana Jr. with a 6.954 at 191.27 for his ninth career win. The win also moved him up to the third spot in the point standings.

LE Tonglet rode the Nitro Fish Suzuki to a big win in PSM

“I can’t believe what we’ve been able to do the last few races and I really didn’t think I was going to beat Hector Jr. the way he’s been running,” said Tonglet. “For him to slow down so much. I don’t know what happened. I’m just happy for us to get the win. I waited for him to go by me and he never did.”

Fellow Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors Andrew Hines, Matt Smith and Hector Arana Sr. all clinched their berths in the Countdown to the Championship with their performances during Sunday eliminations.

Photos by:  Jim Kampmann