Pomona Post Race – Dramatic Wrap to NHRA Full Throttle Season

Allen Johnson caps off truly dominating 2012 Pro Stock season & Antron Brown became the first African-American to win a major U.S. auto racing title following the Sunday conclusion at the Auto Club NHRA Finals….

Allen Johnson put an exclaimation mark on his 2012 season when he bested teamate Vincent Nobile in the final round of the season in Pro Stock

Johnson continued his back-breaking pace in NHRA Pro Stock and completed his championship season with his 7th victory of the year and 16th of his career when he powered his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger past Vincent Nobile in the final round. Johnson posted a 6.528 at 212.76 to hold off Nobile’s Mountain View Tire Avenger, which finished in 6.533 at 211.66.

With that the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season can now be dubbed ‘Year of the HEMI’ as Pro Stock World Champion Allen Johnson and Jack Beckman added another Championship trophy to Mopar’s mantle by earning the Funny Car crown for Don Schumacher Racing on Sunday at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona. The two championships highlight the brand’s 75th anniversary year in which Mopar-powered drivers also captured 10 wins in each of the Pro Stock and Funny Car classes.

Allen Johnson clinched the 1st NHRA Pro Stock title since 1994 for Mopar and Dodge when qualifying completed on Saturday at Pomona.

“All of us are very proud of Allen Johnson and Jack Beckman on bringing home two NHRA World Championships for Mopar,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Allen’s impressive win atPomonasolidified his mark on his Championship and all the hard work behind it. It was also amazing to watch Jack and Ron Capps battle each other in their Dodge Charger R/Ts for the crown.”

“Mopar-powered cars have either led or been near the front of the field all year in both Pro Stock and Funny Car, which shows the strength of our Mopar HEMI engines that compete in the NHRA,” added Gorlier. “It was tremendous to watch our Team Mopar drivers battle for wins all season long and be rewarded with two championships.”After clinching the World Championship on Saturday, Johnson reflected after beating his teammate Vincent Nobile for the event title on Sunday.

“Our team is so awesome and the Mopar Dodge Avenger has just performed flawlessly,” said Johnson after punctuating his first championship with the win.When asked what kept him going for 17 years he added, “Determination and my father (who is his engine builder). He wanted to do this all his life and my whole focus was winning this with him. A lot of hard work and determination went into winning this. We had a dominating performance in this Countdown, won a championship and ended with a win. What more can we do? That has added just a little more emotion to it.”

Brown, who lost in the opening round of eliminations, had to wait until the final round before he could grab the championship trophy, when Tony Schumacher lost in a photo finish to Brandon Bernstein.

Antron Brown held on for a truly dramatic and popular Championship in NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel racing.

Brown entered Sunday’s eliminations 67 points ahead of Tony Schumacher and for a while it appeared that Schumacher would put together another magical come-from-behind victory to take the title. Schumacher’s U.S. Army dragster lost the final to Bernstein’s Protect The Harvest.com dragster by eighth-thousandths of a second.

When the win light went on in Bernstein’s lane, Matco Tools dragster driver Brown was mobbed by his teammates, family and friends in a huge celebration at the starting line.

“I feel so blessed to be in this moment right now and this is a big huge moment,” Brown said. “I am just glad we could bring it home for Don Schumacher Racing. To win the world championship the way the competition has been this year in Top Fuel and to run and compete how we’ve been doing all season long is just phenomenal. We all switched the lead back and forth a bunch of times. Is this really happening?”

Brown, who earned six victories in 11 final rounds and was top qualifier three times en route to his title, continues the great history of diversity in NHRA, joining pioneering champions Shirley Muldowney, Cruz and Tony Pedregon, Hector Arana and Angelle Sampey.

“If I can be an inspiration for any of the kids out there who have dreams, any Americans, that’s all I want,” said Brown, who became the 18th different driver to win a Top Fuel world championship title.

Jack Beckman claimed the Funny Car world championship title when he outlasted teammate Ron Capps and took the title by two points in one of the closest points margins in the history of the category.

Top qualifier Capps lost in a close semifinal round to rookie Courtney Force and dropped out of contention. Beckman was crowned champion before his semifinal matchup against eventual race winner Pedregon, which he ultimately lost.

Jack Beckman is the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle FC World Champ!

Beckman’s title gave team owner Don Schumacher both nitro championship trophies and more than a million dollars in earnings for the weekend, duplicating his effort from 2005 when his son Tony won Top Fuel and Gary Scelzi took the Funny Car crown.

Beckman, a cancer survivor who won the 2003 Super Comp championship, came on during the Countdown playoffs and moved into contention with a win atSt. Louis. He took the points lead at the event inReading, Pa.when he set a national performance record and was the No. 1 qualifier.

A major historian of the sport and former drag racing school driving instructor, Beckman, who drives the Valvoline/NextGen Dodge Charger, was more than thrilled with the outcome.“You think about this, and you dream about this,” Beckman said. “It’s going to take me a while to wrap my head around this. We would have loved to have won it head-to-head (against Capps) in the final, but the trophy is going to shine just as well no matter what. We really wanted to win.”

Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) joined Bernstein (Top Fuel) as race winners of the final event of the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Brandon Bernstein ended a very long drought in Top Fuel by winning at Pomona

The win for Bernstein was the 19th of his career and ended a drought that dated back to 2009. Bernstein used a quicker reaction at the start to finish in front of Schumacher. Bernstein posted a performance of 3.762 seconds at 320.81 to finish in front of the quicker, but losing U.S. Army dragster which clocked a 3.753 at 325.53.“It’s awesome, we did a great job all weekend,” Bernstein said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a win. It’s a really good team and it’s a lot of fun. I don’t think I’ve ever had a win where I had to wait so long for the TV interview. Hopefully next year we’re in a better position to challenge for the championship. We’ll come out next year and try to get a championship.”

Pedregon raced to his first Funny Car victory of the season and 30th of his career, as he pulled away from rookie Force in the final round. Pedregon drove his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry to a performance of 4.035 at 306.12 while Force lost traction in her Traxxas Ford Mustang at the hit of the throttle.

“We’ve probably left five or six races on the table this year and we put it together this weekend,” Pedregon said. “But we’ve always had a fast car. We placed third overall last year, and after winning today, we finished fourth this year and I think we’ve proved we belong with the top teams.  We’re a smaller independent team, but with the way we finished, I think we can build on this and be one of the favorites heading into next season.”

Cruz Pedregon scored his first win 2012 during the final event of the NHRA Full Throttle season schedule.

Hines defeated newly crowned Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Eddie Krawiec in the final round and took his sixth victory of the season and 31st of his career. Hines rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a track record performance of 6.766 at 198.29 to finish in front of Krawiec, who trailed with a 6.805 at 197.54.

The PSB final round was once again “all Harleys all the time”

“It was by far the best bike I had all year,” Hines said. “This was an absolutely phenomenal bike I had all weekend long. It was a total joy to get down the track.”

Posted with files from:  NHRA Communications, Eric Lotz and Pat Caporali

All photos by:  Bruce Biegler

In TAD Jim Whiteley ran the quickest and fastest runs ever for a supercharged car in the class (5.178 secs & 277.43 mph) but placed runner-up.

Event Essentials: 48th NHRA AAA Auto Club Finals (Nov. 8-11th, 2012) Pomona CA

TOP FUEL Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Brandon Bernstein 3.762 320.81 19th
R/UP: Tony Schumacher 3.753 325.53  
Low ET: Shawn Langdon 3.730    
Top Speed: Brandon Bernstein   328.14  
Bump Spot:   3,864    
FUNNY CAR       Career Win
Winner: Cruz Pedregon 4.035 306.12 30th
R/UP: Courtney Force 7.878  75.59  
Low ET: Ron Capps 4.007    
Top Speed: Jack Beckman   319.75  
Bump Spot:   4.112    
PRO STOCK       Career Win
Winner: Allen Johnson 6.528 212.76 16th
R/UP: Vincent Nobile 6.533 211.66  
Low ET: Jason Line 6.495    
Top Speed: Jason Line   213.13  
Bump Spot:   6.589    
PRO STOCK BIKE       Career Win
Winner: Andrew Hines 6.766 198.29 31st
R/UP: Eddie Krawiec 6.805 197.54  
Low ET: Andrew Hines 6.766    
Top Speed: Eddie Krawiec   198.29  
Bump Spot:   6.991    
LUCAS OIL        
Sportsman Winners:        
TA Dragster Chris Demke 5.236 274.00  
TA Funny Car John Lombardo 5.599 261.02  
Competition Doug Lambeck 8.313 160.90  
Super Stock Abe Loewen 9.698 139.91  
Stock Eric Waldo 10.65 125.24  
Super Comp Cameron Ferre 8.943 163.93  
Super Gas Ryan Herem 9.958 147.17  
Summit Super Pro Brad Bolton 8.179 123.37  
Summit Pro Seth Polvadore 10.24 124.83  
Summit Sportsman Dave Muller 12.51 106.09  
Summit Bike/Sled Tome Klemme 8.778 133.18  


Canada’s Abe Loewen (from Saskatchewan) prevailed in Super Stock eliminator during the AAA Auto Club Finals.

To view DragRaceCanada’s extensive AAA Auto Club Finals photo gallery click:  HERE