NHRA Englishtown winners: Brown (TF), Hagan (FC), Anderson (PS), Savoie (PSM)

Sunday’s NHRA winners at Englishtown: from left: Antron Brown, Matt Hagan, Jerry Savoie, and Greg Anderson.. (Photo courtesy NHRA)

The only thing better than winning a race is winning at home in front of your family and friends.

And when you reach a significant milestone in the process, the end result is all the more sweeter.

That was the case in Sunday’s Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.

Much like another Jersey boy, Martin Truex Jr., won the NASCAR race at Pocono also on Sunday, NHRA Top Fuel driver and Chesterfield, N.J., native Antron Brown won his 50th career race in front of family and friends and on his home track.

Brown (3.843 seconds at 318.47 mph) earned his 50th career NHRA victory: his 34th in Top Fuel along with 16 others when he competed in Pro Stock Motorcycle from 1998-2007 before shifting to the four-wheeled dragster.

Brown, the 2012 Top Fuel world champion, defeated Brittany Force, who lost traction (5.398 seconds at 150.16 mph), in the final round of eliminations.

“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 in an NHRA media release. “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.”

Brown very likely could now be the driver to beat for the championship this season. Sunday was his third win in the first nine races, and since the start of 2009, he’s won 32 races, 10 more than teammate and closest competitor Tony Schumacher.

In Funny Car, defending series champ Matt Hagan (4.132 seconds at 299.53 mph) also earned his third win of the season, defeating Alexis DeJoria in Sunday’s final round.

It was Hagan’s 17th career Funny Car win and his second at Englishtown. He also took over the lead in the Funny Car point standings from teammate Ron Capps, who Hagan defeated in Sunday’s semifinal round.

“It’s nice to be able to go out here and run so strong and defend the title that we won last year,” Hagan said. “Everything started clicking here this weekend.

“(Crew chief) Dickie (Venables) put a great car underneath me. We were able to beat a lot of tough, tough race cars out there and really good drivers. It just gets tougher and tougher each weekend.”

In Pro Stock, veteran Greg Anderson (6.504 seconds at 214.31 mph) did a quadruple-dip of sorts, defeating Allen Johnson in Sunday’s final round. Not only did he earn his 76th career win, his second triumph of 2015 and his sixth career win at Englishtown, Anderson also took over the Pro Stock points lead.

“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.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Louisiana alligator farmer Jerry Savoie (6.974 seconds at 197.71 mph earned his second career win, defeating Jim Underdahl, who was disqualified after red-lighting at the starting line.

“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.”

The next NHRA national event is next weekend, June 12-14, in the NHRA New England Nationals at Epping, N.H.


TOP FUEL: 1.  Antron Brown; 2.  Brittany Force; 3.  Dave Connolly; 4.  Terry McMillen; 5.  Doug Kalitta; 6. Tony Schumacher; 7.  Spencer Massey; 8.  Shawn Langdon; 9.  Steve Torrence; 10.  J.R. Todd; 11. Jenna Haddock; 12.  Larry Dixon; 13.  Leah Pritchett; 14.  Morgan Lucas; 15.  Richie Crampton; 16. Clay Millican.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Matt Hagan; 2.  Alexis DeJoria; 3.  Del Worsham; 4.  Ron Capps; 5.  Cruz Pedregon; 6.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 7.  Dom Lagana; 8.  Tony Pedregon; 9.  John Force; 10.  Tim Wilkerson; 11.  Jeff Diehl; 12.  Jack Beckman; 13.  Courtney Force; 14.  Robert Hight; 15.  Chad Head; 16.  John Hale.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Greg Anderson; 2.  Allen Johnson; 3.  V. Gaines; 4.  Shane Gray; 5.  Drew Skillman; 6.  Bo Butner; 7.  Kenny Delco; 8.  Alan Prusiensky; 9.  Jason Line; 10.  Larry Morgan; 11.  John Gaydosh Jr; 12.  Jonathan Gray; 13.  Vincent Nobile; 14.  Chris McGaha; 15.  Val Smeland; 16.  Erica Enders.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Jerry Savoie; 2.  Jim Underdahl; 3.  Andrew Hines; 4.  Hector Arana Jr; 5.  Hector Arana; 6. Matt Smith; 7.  Eddie Krawiec; 8.  Chip Ellis; 9.  Karen Stoffer; 10.  LE Tonglet; 11.  Scotty Pollacheck; 12.  Shawn Gann; 13.  Angie Smith; 14.  Joe DeSantis; 15.  Steve Johnson; 16.  Angelle Sampey.


Top Fuel: Antron Brown, 3.843 seconds, 318.47 mph  def. Brittany Force, 5.398 seconds, 150.16 mph.

Funny Car: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.132, 299.53  def. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.138, 298.40.

Pro Stock: Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.504, 214.31  def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.537, 213.87.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.794, 197.71  def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, foul.


TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Spencer Massey, 3.809, 318.02 def. Clay Millican, 10.945, 74.58; Shawn Langdon, 3.809, 316.23 def. Larry Dixon, 4.267, 196.73; Dave Connolly, 3.843, 316.60 def. Leah Pritchett, 6.911, 93.42; Tony Schumacher, 3.802, 318.99 def. Morgan Lucas, 8.739, 85.43; Antron Brown, 3.803, 316.82 def. Jenna Haddock, 3.913, 302.82; Terry McMillen, 3.887, 306.40 def. J.R. Todd, 3.902, 282.01; Brittany Force, 3.848, 316.01 def. Richie Crampton, 9.477, 75.71; Doug Kalitta, 3.821, 313.58 def. Steve Torrence, 3.804, 317.34; QUARTERFINALS — Connolly, 3.848, 312.71 def. Langdon, 6.647, 111.11; McMillen, 5.016, 195.34 def. Massey, 6.462, 129.00; Brown, 3.799, 318.32 def. Kalitta, 3.826, 311.85; Force, 3.838, 314.02 def. Schumacher, 6.216, 117.65; SEMIFINALS — Force, 3.899, 314.09 def. McMillen, 5.079, 146.80; Brown, 3.820, 317.12 def. Connolly, 4.740, 160.50; FINAL — Brown, 3.843, 318.47 def. Force, 5.398, 150.16.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.035, 308.43 def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.131, 306.12; Dom Lagana, Toyota Solara, 4.969, 157.74 def. Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 5.348, 270.00; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.114, 299.26 def. Jeff Diehl, Solara, foul; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.101, 303.03 def. John Hale, Charger, broke; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.077, 304.94 def. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.723, 174.73; Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.160, 300.66 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.651, 195.11; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.089, 302.96 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.458, 206.39; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.083, 300.93 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.313, 231.56; QUARTERFINALS — Worsham, 4.116, 300.66 def. T. Pedregon, 7.046, 121.64; Capps, 9.807, 86.18 def. C. Pedregon, foul; Hagan, 4.124, 302.01 def. Johnson Jr., 5.911, 146.96; DeJoria, 4.168, 296.89 def. Lagana, 6.863, 93.35; SEMIFINALS — Hagan, 4.124, 300.20 def. Capps, 4.191, 282.07; DeJoria, 4.120, 297.09 def. Worsham, 4.138, 301.00; FINAL — Hagan, 4.132, 299.53 def. DeJoria, 4.138, 298.40.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Bo Butner, Chevy Camaro, 6.549, 212.63 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.657, 212.23; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.544, 212.13 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, foul; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.519, 213.87 def. Larry Morgan, Camaro, foul; V. Gaines, Dart, 6.538, 212.36 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.510, 215.17; Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.541, 211.76 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 8.301, 117.66; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.493, 214.28 def. Val Smeland, Chevy Cobalt, 8.725, 108.60; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.502, 212.96 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, 6.562, 211.53; Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Avenger, 6.643, 209.95 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 10.306, 87.32; QUARTERFINALS — Gaines, 8.080, 199.14 def. Delco, 10.345, 100.23; Johnson, 6.871, 211.20 def. Prusiensky, 14.931, 56.23; S. Gray, 6.545, 212.49 def. Skillman, 6.523, 212.90; Anderson, 6.503, 214.11 def. Butner, 6.549, 213.43; SEMIFINALS — Johnson, 6.570, 213.77 def. S. Gray, 6.555, 212.79; Anderson, 6.499, 214.14 def. Gaines, 6.531, 213.43; FINAL — Anderson, 6.504, 214.31 def. Johnson, 6.537, 213.87.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.825, 197.48 def. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, foul; Matt Smith, 6.883, 192.96 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.832, 196.19; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.849, 196.04 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.896, 194.80; Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.871, 191.10 def. Angie Smith, 6.971, 189.02; Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.833, 196.10 def. Angelle Sampey, Buell, DQ; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.852, 198.38 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.233, 158.28; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.858, 192.60 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, foul; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.862, 192.91 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.882, 194.63; QUARTERFINALS — Savoie, 6.798, 197.62 def. Krawiec, 6.938, 190.35; Hines, 6.894, 192.69 def. Ellis, broke; Underdahl, 6.860, 195.05 def. M. Smith, 6.928, 191.02; Arana Jr, 6.833, 197.08 def. Arana, 6.841, 197.08; SEMIFINALS — Savoie, 6.785, 197.71 def. Arana Jr, foul; Underdahl, 6.886, 193.10 def. Hines, 6.906, 190.94; FINAL — Savoie, 6.794, 197.71 def. Underdahl, foul.


Top Fuel: 1.  Antron Brown, 751; 2.  Tony Schumacher, 633; 3.  Spencer Massey, 588; 4.  Richie Crampton, 579; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 554; 6.  Shawn Langdon, 530; 7.  Larry Dixon, 508; 8.  Brittany Force, 479; 9. J.R. Todd, 456; 10.  Clay Millican, 427.

Funny Car: 1.  Matt Hagan, 692; 2.  Ron Capps, 653; 3.  Del Worsham, 587; 4.  Jack Beckman, 567; 5.  John Force, 533; 6.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 513; 7.  Robert Hight, 492; 8.  Alexis DeJoria, 487; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 480; 10.  Cruz Pedregon, 458.

Pro Stock: 1.  Greg Anderson, 781; 2.  Erica Enders, 759; 3.  Jason Line, 698; 4.  Chris McGaha, 578; 5. Rodger Brogdon, 493; 6.  Drew Skillman, 488; 7.  Larry Morgan, 486; 8.  Shane Gray, 474; 9.  Allen Johnson, 461; 10.  Vincent Nobile, 453.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  Eddie Krawiec, 339; 2.  Andrew Hines, 286; 3.  Hector Arana Jr, 273; 4.  Hector Arana, 259; 5. Karen Stoffer, 238; 6.  Jim Underdahl, 224; 7.  Scotty Pollacheck, 207; 8.  (tie) Jerry Savoie, 198; LE Tonglet, 198; 10.  Angelle Sampey, 193.

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Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

MORE: McLaren considering Kyle Busch for Indy 500

“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.

Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”