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NHRA Point Standings
Through Charlotte

Pos. Driver Points

1 Tony Schumacher 2170
2 Spencer Massey 2160
3 Shawn Langdon 2151
4 Antron Brown 2142
5 Doug Kalitta 2105
6 Morgan Lucas 2099
7 Brandon Bernstein 2095
8 Steve Torrence 2093
9 Bob Vandergriff Jr. 2053
10 Dave Grubnic 2043
11 Clay Millican 718
12 Khalid Albalooshi 698
13 Terry McMillen 587
14 Hillary Will 316
15 Cory McClenathan 279
Funny Car
Pos. Driver Points

1 Ron Capps 2230
2 Mike Neff 2157
3 Jack Beckman 2152
4 Robert Hight 2113
5 Cruz Pedregon 2087
6 Johnny Gray 2081
7 Courtney Force 2074
8 John Force 2072
9 Jeff Arend 2064
9 Tim Wilkerson 2064
11 Matt Hagan 885
12 Bob Tasca III 833
13 Alexis De Joria 687
14 Tony Pedregon 524
15 Bob Bode 388
Pro Stock
Pos. Driver Points

1 Allen Johnson 2209
2 Jason Line 2206
3 Vincent Nobile 2138
4 Greg Anderson 2107
5 Mike Edwards 2094
5 Erica Enders 2094
7 Ron Krisher 2063
8 Larry Morgan 2062
9 V. Gaines 2052
10 Jeg Coughlin 2031
11 Shane Gray 684
12 Ronnie Humphrey 625
13 Rodger Brogdon 575
14 Kurt Johnson 544
15 Warren Johnson 491
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Pos. Driver Points

1 Ed Krawiec 2215
2 Andrew Hines 2205
3 Hector Arana Jr 2151
4 Hector Arana 2139
5 Scott Pollacheck 2092
6 Karen Stoffer 2083
7 Paul Ray Jr 2074
8 Shawn Gann 2062
9 Louis Tonglet 2061
10 Matt Smith 2054
Dixons Wins Top Fuel Final In Spring Nationals

NHRA
Sunday, April 11, 2010

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Larry Dixon edged fellow Toyota driver Anton Brown as the two finished off a dominating weekend to win the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park Sunday. With the victory, Dixon became just the third driver in NHRA history to win 50 Top Fuel events.

Dixon and Brown combined to lead each of the weekend’s four qualifying sessions, culminating in the duo running the fastest side-by-side run in history in Saturday’s final run, each running in the 3.77s with Dixon’s Al-Anabi Racing/Toyota dragster coming out on top.

In the eliminations, Dixon knocked off Del Cox, David Grubnic and Cory McClenathan, while Brown defeated Spencer Massey and then vanquished fellow Toyota-sponsored drivers Shawn Langdon in the quarter-finals and Morgan Lucas in the semi’s to set up the final.

While the race didn’t register record numbers for speed like Saturday’s run, it surely didn’t lack for excitement.  Both cars had troubles in the final and it appeared Brown had his first win of the season before Dixon closed and passed Brown’s Matco Tools/Toyota dragster at the finish line with his engine on fire to win 4.541 to 4.638. 

After a day that began with rain and ended late Saturday, the perfect spring conditions returned to Houston Raceway Park for eliminations in race five of the 23-race 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Series. The sunny skies warmed the track significantly throughout the day, pushing track temps over 100 degrees for most of the time, and that prevented racers from putting up the big numbers as they did the previous two days. That doesn’t mean the action was dull, however. In fact, it was far from it. From the opening round of Top Fuel through the final rounds, the day was filled with intense action, wild races, and upsets aplenty.

Larry Dixon

Fittingly, the Top Fuel final came down to Dixon and Antron Brown, the Nos. 1 and 2 qualifiers who were at or near the top of the sheets throughout eliminations. Though their runs weren’t side-by-side 3.77s like on Saturday, the final round lived up to the hype and was just as interesting after both struggled downtrack and had to pedal their cars. Dixon’s Al-Anabi Racing dragster lost traction first and, for a while, it appeared he may be out of it. However, Brown’s Matco Tools rail encountered troubles a short while after Dixon’s tire smoke began, opening the door back up. Dixon got back on the throttle, and, despite having his engine burst into a ball of flames, he stayed in it all the way to the finish line, where he just passed Brown to win the battle, 4.541 to 4.638. It is the 50th overall win for Dixon, second this year, and third at Houston Raceway Park.

“I backed off the throttle and rolled back on, and Antron took off,” said Dixon. “I mean, I could see him. He was way, way, too far out there, then all of a sudden, I noticed that he was sideways, and I was like, ‘I can catch him. I’m gonna try.’ So, the thing hooked up enough, and it was probably putting holes out, and it’s revving up, and it blew up before the finish line, but I got enough of a run on him that I was able to coast through and get the win light. That’s probably the first time I’ve won a tire-smoking contest at 1,000 feet. The track is so short it’s hard to win. A quarter-mile you have a better shot just because you have some distance to get the car going. Man, that one, it was cool.

“Man, No. 50. I didn’t even think about it until they started talking about it [at the top end], but, yeah, that’s more than I ever thought I’d do in my lifetime, and I’m not done living yet. It’s real good. Win-wise, I’m dedicating it to my son Darien because he’s in the hospital. He has a bacterial infection. I didn’t even get here until Friday morning because he was in surgery on Thursday night. He’s only 3 years old, and I didn’t even want to leave. He wanted us to win the race for him, and we were able to do it, so this is as good as you can ask for a weekend.”

After nabbing the No. 1 spot Saturday with a 3.772, Dixon’s dragster stayed strong throughout eliminations with a pair of 3.85s and a 3.89 as he worked to his 94th career final. His 3.853 and 3.854 were the best runs of the first two rounds and easily moved him past Del Cox Jr. and Dave Grubnic, respectively. He then ousted Cory McClenathan to earn a spot in his third final of the year.

Though his run to the final wasn’t flawless, Brown had a pretty strong day as he maneuvered through his side of the ladder to advance to his 51st career final. He began with a 3.858 that was second-quickest of the opening round to defeat Spencer Massey. Brown caught somewhat of a lucky break in round two when his dragster experienced troubles on the burnout and continued to struggle as he worked down the 1,000-foot course. Fortunately for him, Shawn Langdon had more troubles in the other lane, and Brown’s 3.96 was more than enough to get by. In the semi’s, Brown returned to form, posting a 3.873 that defeated Morgan Lucas and earned him lane choice for the final.


Matt Hagan

No matter the outcome, the Funny Car result was going to provide the feel-good moment of the day with Hagan searching for his first win facing Jeff Arend, who was looking to add another win for Kalitta Motorsports at Houston Raceway Park; Scott Kalitta won his only nitro Funny Car race here, in 1989. In the end, Hagan won, out-pedaling Arend, 4.390 to 4.714.

“Other than my wife and kids, this is the best feeling in the world,” said Hagan, who now sits second in the standings. “It’s just really cool. The guys work really hard. This was a big weekend for us because everybody in front of us went out first round, so it was huge when we stepped up first round and started to go some rounds to be able to move up in points. I’ve known all along we have a great race car — I even thought last year we were going to win — it’s just a matter of putting four solid runs together and Sunday and having a little bit of luck. It’s one of those things where we had a winning car and a championship car, we just needed everything to fall into place for us. Slowly but surely, it’s happened.

“You don’t understand how frustrating it was coming into the final round, and you’re just ready for that first win to be over, well not over, but you’re ready to have it. It’s one of those things where you can taste it, you can feel it. You know, it’s just there, and you’re ready to just grab it. Thank goodness we did that today because that’s the first little hurdle you have to jump over before you go hunting a championship. I think with John Medlen and Tommy DeLago working so well together and the crew doing such a great job, I think it’s going to happen for us. I’m extremely excited to have the crew we have on our race car because we don’t have any bad problems up there. They’re doing such a good job, and I couldn’t ask for a better crew.”

Hagan’s DieHard Charger has shown promise in qualifying this year, but race day has been a challenge for the team, but that changed in Houston. Though he didn’t have a perfect day, Hagan had moments of brilliance during it. He opened with a 4.217 to defeat Melanie Troxel, then ran low e.t. of the second round, 4.183, to oust Cruz Pedregon. Hagan advanced to his third career final when he defeated Tony Pedregon, 4.632 to 5.838, in the semi’s.

All the pieces came together for Arend in Houston. He earned his best qualifying start of the year, sixth, and collected three round-wins after zero in the first four events. He kicked things off with a 4.140 that was one of the top runs of the opening stanza to beat Jim Head, then got a little lucky when his next two opponents, Robert Hight and Del Worsham, experienced more troubles than him, allowing Arend to advance to his fourth final.

Jeg Coughlin

After defeating points leader Mike Edwards in the semifinals, Coughlin and his JEGS.com Cobalt team entered the Pro Stock money round as the favorite, and he quickly proved he was up to the challenge. Coughlin got the jump at the starting line, .024 to .045, and that was the key. Allen Johnson ran a little better, 6.596 to 6.599, but it wasn’t enough to move him around Coughlin, who turned on the win light for the 62nd time in his career and the 49th time in Pro Stock.

“This is a very special place for me to win a race,” said Coughlin. “I won my first Super Stock race here in 1994, and then I won my first Pro Stock race here in 1997. Oddly enough, both wins came in my second starts in each class.

“We’ve showed some brilliance lately, but unfortunately until this weekend, we’ve bowed out early, so we worked together with [team owner] Victor Cagnazzi, [chassis builder] Todd Bevis, and my father on upgrading the program. Our car has been temperamental for the last 12 races, but I think we’ve finally fixed the problems. Our speeds have really picked up a lot lately, and that shows the gains we’ve made in horsepower. Running the big back-half numbers like that is something that we haven’t done too often.”

As he did in Charlotte, where he was No. 1 qualifier, Coughlin got off to a good start in qualifying, ranking fourth in the final order, but unlike Charlotte, where he lost first round, he was able to carry it on to race day. His 6.582 in the opening round against Bob Yonke was the second-quickest pass of the round, and he one-upped that the following two rounds, posting the best times of those frames, 6.589 and 6.601, in respective wins against Greg Anderson and Edwards. The win against Edwards both snapped Edwards’ perfect run to finals for the year and earned Coughlin a spot in his 96th overall final and 78th in Pro Stock.

Johnson enjoyed his best outing of the year, capped by the appearance in his 18th career final. Johnson, whose last win and final round was Denver last year, defeated Johnny Gray in the first round, then got past Ronnie Humphrey in a wild 12.13 to 13.53 coasting match. Johnson advanced to his second Houston final when he bettered Ron Krisher in the semi’s.

Andrew Hines

With two riders who have had their struggles on the starting line in the past facing off in the Pro Stock Motorcycle final, it was no surprise the race was decided at the Tree. This time, Hector Arana went red and did so by a bunch (-.107), handing the victory to Hines, who posted a 6.998. It is the 19th win of Hines’ career and first at Houston Raceway Park.

“It was good to get the first win of the year,” said Hines, who moved from eighth to fourth in the standings with his win. “We were there for the taking, but it worked out in our favor. I had been working more on the racing program lately than my riding, but I returned to the riding and I’ve had all greens since Charlotte. We had never won at this track before, so this one is huge. I was also beginning to question myself with no wins so far this year, but today’s win put that to rest The Harley-Davidson ran great today, and it had to because of all the fast speeds that everyone was running.

“Hector is a great racer, and he always wishes everybody good luck and never has anything bad to say about anybody. But he knows that our motorcycle will always be running right up there at with the top of the pack and maybe it rattles him a bit to see our V-Rod in the other lane.”

Hines’ victory march began with a 6.940 win over Junior Pippin. He then posted low e.t. of the second round, 6.938, to end Karen Stoffer’s hopes. In the semi’s, Hines faced his Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate, Eddie Krawiec, and the pair put on quite a show that went in Hines’ favor, 6.905 to 6.913.

Arana qualified atop the sheets, and for much of Sunday, he appeared to be well on his way to sweeping the weekend. He was the quickest rider of the first round with a 6.871 that handily moved him around Steve Johnson. After a second-quickest-of-the-round 6.941 against Jim Underdahl in round two, Arana moved back to the front of the pack with a 6.888 in the semi’s that defeated Matt Smith and gave Arana lane choice for the final.

In Lucas Oil action, Bill Reichert scored his 21st win when he defeated Monroe Guest in the Top Alcohol Dragster final, 5.33 to 5.41. Mickey Ferro outlasted Tony Bartone in Top Alcohol Funny Car, posting a 5.54 to Bartone’s 5.56. The Comp final came down to two of the class’ powerhouses, David Rampy and Dan Fletcher; Rampy won the battle. Slate Cummings took top honors in Super Stock, defeating Chris Chaney in the final. Lloyd Parfait turned a near-perfect .002 reaction into victory over Jay Thornburg in Super Comp. Tommy Phillips added a 20th national event Wally to his collection when Jim Hughes went red in the Super Gas final, and John Garner won a tight battle with Mallori McCullar-Rodgers in Top Dragster.

Danny Rowe raced past Funny Car driver Troxel to earn the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series win. Rowe powered his 1968 Supercharged Chevy Camaro to a 5.936-second run at 248.93 mph, just enough to get past Troxel in her ’63 Corvette and earn his first win in the inaugural series. Rowe won last season at Houston Raceway Park in the Pro Mod exhibition series.

It wasn’t any easy win, by any means for Rowe, who qualified third for the event. Rowe drove past Pro Mod drivers Chip King, Mike Castellana, Joe Baker, and Troxel in the final round to earn the win.

Troxel made it to her first final round appearance in the category after qualifying in the 16th and final spot in the field Saturday afternoon.

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