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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Ford unveils a new Mustang for 2024 Le Mans in motorsports ‘lifestyle brand’ retooling

Ford Mustang Le Mans
Ford Performance

LE MANS, France — Ford has planned a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its iconic Mustang muscle car next year under a massive rebranding of Ford Performance aimed at bringing the automotive manufacturer “into the racing business.”

The Friday unveil of the new Mustang Dark Horse-based race car follows Ford’s announcement in February (and a ballyhooed test at Sebring in March) that it will return to Formula One in 2026 in partnership with reigning world champion Red Bull.

The Mustang will enter the GT3 category next year with at least two cars in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, and is hopeful to earn an invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA entries will be a factory Ford Performance program run by Multimatic, and a customer program in WEC with Proton Competition.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, also an amateur sports car racer, told The Associated Press the Mustang will be available to compete in various GT3 series across the globe to customer teams. But more important, Farley said, is the overall rebranding of Ford Performance – done by renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee – that is aimed at making Ford a lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset.

“It’s kind of like the company finding its own, and rediscovering its icons, and doubling down on them,” Farley told the AP. “And then this motorsports activity is getting serious about connecting enthusiast customers with those rediscovered icons. It’s a big switch for the company – this is really about building strong, iconic vehicles with enthusiasts at the center of our marketing.”

Ford last competed in sports car racing in 2019 as part of a three-year program with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team scored the class win at Le Mans in 2016 in a targeted performance aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford snapping Ferrari’s six-year winning streak.

Ford on Friday displayed a Mustang with a Lee-designed livery that showcased the cleaner, simplified look that will soon be featured on all its racing vehicles. The traditional blue oval with Ford Performance in white lettering underneath will now be branded simply FP.

The new mark will be used across car liveries, merchandise and apparel, display assets, parts and accessories and in advertising.

Farley cited Porsche as an automaker that has successfully figured out how to sell cars to consumers and race cars in various series around the world while creating a culture of brand enthusiasts. He believes Ford’s new direction will help the company sell street cars, race cars, boost interest in driving schools, and create a merchandise line that convinces consumers that a stalwart of American automakers is a hip, cool brand.

“We’re going to build a global motorsports business off road and on road,” Farley told the AP, adding that the design of the Mustang is “unapologetically American.”

He lauded the work of Lee, who is considered the top helmet designer among race car drivers.

“We’re in the first inning of a nine inning game, and going to Le Mans is really important,” Farley said. “But for customer cars, getting the graphics right, designing race cars that win at all different levels, and then designing a racing brand for Ford Performance that gets rebranded and elevated is super important.”

He said he’s kept a close eye on how Porsche and Aston Martin have built their motorsports businesses and said Ford will be better.

“We’re going in the exact same direction. We just want to be better than them, that’s all,” Farley said. “Second is the first loser.”

Farley, an avid amateur racer himself, did not travel to Le Mans for the announcement. The race that begins Saturday features an entry from NASCAR, and Ford is the reigning Cup Series champion with Joey Logano and Team Penske.

The NASCAR “Garage 56” entry is a collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and is being widely celebrated throughout the industry. Farley did feel left out of the party in France – a sentiment NASCAR tried to avoid by inviting many of its partners to attend the race so that it wouldn’t seem like a Chevrolet-only celebration.

“They’re going right and I’m going left – that NASCAR thing is a one-year deal, right? It’s Garage 56 and they can have their NASCAR party, but that’s a one-year party,” Farley said. “We won Le Mans outright four times, we won in the GT class, and we’re coming back with Mustang and it’s not a one-year deal.

“So they can get all excited about Garage 56. I almost see that as a marketing exercise for NASCAR, but for me, that’s a science project,” Farley continued. “I don’t live in a world of science projects. I live in the world of building a vital company that everyone is excited about. To do that, we’re not going to do a Garage 56 – I’ve got to beat Porsche and Aston Martin and Ferrari year after year after year.”

Ford’s announcement comes on the heels of General Motors changing its GT3 strategy next season and ending its factory Corvette program. GM, which unlike Ford competes in the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype division (with its Cadillac brand), will shift fully to a customer model for Corvettes in 2024 (with some factory support in the IMSA GTD Pro category).