NHRA: Brown (Top Fuel), DeJoria (Funny Car), Line (Pro Stock) big winners in Las Vegas

(Image courtesy NHRA)
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Racing in Las Vegas couldn’t have been more appropriate for Antron Brown and Alexis DeJoria.

In a town built upon gambling, the defending NHRA Top Fuel Champ (Brown) and Funny car star (DeJoria) rolled the dice and came up big winners in Sunday’s final round of the DENSO Spark Plus NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In addition, Jason Line’s hot streak continued, as he reached his fourth final round of 2016 in Pro Stock, going on to earn his second win of the season and 39th of his career.

Brown (3.843 seconds at 314.60 mph) defeated first-time finalist Troy Buff (3.918 at 307.58) to break through after struggling in the previous three races of the season.

Brown earned his 55th career win in NHRA competition, including his 39th in Top Fuel.

“It never gets boring,” Brown said in an NHRA media release. “It’s more than just a trophy, it’s all the hard work it takes to get here. We struggled the first three races but we just kept digging, we kept our head down and just kept going.”

With his third career win at Las Vegas, Brown makes a big jump in the standings, going from 10th to second behind points leader Brittany Force, who lost to Buff in the second round Sunday.

In Funny Car, DeJoria (3.968 seconds at 315.49 mph) defeated defending class champion Del Worsham (3.988 at 323.58). It was the fourth win of DeJoria’s Funny Car career, snapping a 33-race winless streak.

“This fourth trophy was definitely a difficult one,” said DeJoria, who also won in Las Vegas in 2014. “It took a lot of risks to get here.

“We made consistent passes down the race track all four runs in qualifying and on race day as well. I don’t know when the last time was that we did that. It’s incredible to be a part of this.”

Robert Hight, who lost to DeJoria in the second round, remains atop the Funny Car points standings.

DeJoria’s win was also noteworthy in that it marked the first time in NHRA history where three women have raced to wins in nitro fuel categories in consecutive events, following Top Fuel winners Leah Pritchett (Phoenix) and Brittany Force (Gainesville).

“It’s great to be a part of that history,” DeJoria said.

In Pro Stock, Line continued his dominance as he pursues a third world championship. He defeated KB Racing teammate Butner in the final after Butner redlighted at the starting line. KB Racing has won all four Pro Stock races thus far this season.

“It’s been special to say the least,” Line said. “It’s been a fun ride. Hopefully it continues like this for the rest of the year.”

The fifth race of the 24-race NHRA season is April 22-24: the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.

NOTES: Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was the failure of veteran Funny Car driver Ron Capps to qualify for the final eliminations for the second time in five seasons.

A prior five-time winner at Las Vegas, Capps had been the early season points leader, having one the season-opening Winternationals at Pomona in February, followed up two weeks later by finishing runner-up in Phoenix. He then was the No. 1 qualifier two weeks ago at Gainesville, Florida.

“Nothing is worse than not being able to race on Sunday,” said Capps, the second-winningest driver in Funny Car history with 45 national event victories.

Also, prior to the start of Sunday’s eliminations, the sport honored and remembered starter Mark Lyle, who died tragically in a swimming accident on March 27 while on vacation in Mexico.

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER

TOP FUEL: 1.  Antron Brown; 2.  Troy Buff; 3.  Dave Connolly; 4.  J.R. Todd; 5.  Leah Pritchett; 6.  Brittany Force; 7.  Doug Kalitta; 8.  Steven Chrisman; 9.  Tony Schumacher; 10.  Scott Palmer; 11.  Clay Millican; 12.  Steve Torrence; 13.  Shawn Langdon; 14.  Richie Crampton; 15.  Terry McMillen; 16. Steve Faria.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Alexis DeJoria; 2.  Del Worsham; 3.  Chad Head; 4.  John Force; 5.  Courtney Force; 6.  Robert Hight; 7.  Jim Campbell; 8.  Jack Beckman; 9.  Matt Hagan; 10.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 11.  John Hale; 12.  Tim Wilkerson; 13.  Jeff Arend; 14.  Cruz Pedregon; 15.  Bob Bode; 16.  Terry Haddock.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Jason Line; 2.  Bo Butner; 3.  Greg Anderson; 4.  Erica Enders; 5.  Chris McGaha; 6.  Allen Johnson; 7.  Drew Skillman; 8.  Deric Kramer; 9.  Matt Hartford; 10.  Jeg Coughlin; 11.  Vincent Nobile; 12.  Joey Grose; 13.  V. Gaines; 14.  Shane Gray; 15.  Aaron Strong; 16.  Alex Laughlin.

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FINAL RESULTS

Top Fuel: Antron Brown, 3.843 seconds, 314.68 mph  def. Troy Buff, 3.918 seconds, 307.58 mph.

Funny Car: Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.968, 315.49  def. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.988, 323.58.

Pro Stock: Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.712, 206.32  def. Bo Butner, Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS

TOP FUEL:
ROUND ONE — Troy Buff, 4.967, 191.97 def. Richie Crampton, 7.447, 103.83; Brittany Force, 4.274, 267.48 def. Terry McMillen, 9.263, 85.53; Steven Chrisman, 4.087, 263.31 def. Steve Torrence, 4.682, 204.08; Doug Kalitta, 4.289, 260.61 def. Steve Faria, 10.782, 80.13; Antron Brown, 3.840, 313.88 def. Scott Palmer, 4.121, 249.35; Leah Pritchett, 3.892, 319.75 def. Shawn Langdon, 5.755, 135.33; Dave Connolly, 3.924, 275.34 def. Clay Millican, 4.290, 226.01; J.R. Todd, 3.933, 283.13 def. Tony Schumacher, 4.034, 254.66;

QUARTERFINALS — Buff, 3.924, 311.41 def. Force, 3.972, 301.54; Todd, 4.045, 257.33 def. Chrisman, 4.918, 155.72; Connolly, 3.843, 315.86 def. Kalitta, 4.338, 223.58; Brown, 3.846, 313.95 def. Pritchett, 3.878, 322.11;

SEMIFINALS — Buff, 3.910, 310.55 def. Todd, 9.260, 87.02; Brown, 3.826, 316.90 def. Connolly, 3.865, 297.02;

FINAL — Brown, 3.843, 314.68 def. Buff, 3.918, 307.58.

FUNNY CAR:
ROUND ONE — Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 4.196, 301.47 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.567, 209.10; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.081, 299.53 def. Terry Haddock, Toyota Solara, 11.632, 76.84; Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.969, 324.20 def. Bob Bode, Solara, 7.985, 106.02; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.989, 322.27 def. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.786, 170.79; Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.047, 316.38 def. John Hale, Charger, 4.084, 317.42; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.006, 313.00 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.073, 308.85; John Force, Camaro, 4.059, 300.40 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.061, 308.07; Chad Head, Camry, 4.509, 275.90 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 5.268, 156.59;

QUARTERFINALS — Head, 4.172, 305.84 def. Beckman, 4.310, 316.97; Worsham, 4.056, 314.53 def. Campbell, 4.266, 262.90; J. Force, 3.991, 322.65 def. C. Force, 3.996, 321.58; DeJoria, 4.005, 315.86 def. Hight, 4.004, 320.20;

SEMIFINALS — Worsham, 4.027, 318.39 def. Head, 4.036, 315.05; DeJoria, 4.012, 316.97 def. J. Force, 4.053, 319.52;

FINAL — DeJoria, 3.968, 315.49 def. Worsham, 3.988, 323.58.

PRO STOCK:
ROUND ONE — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.758, 205.69 def. Shane Gray, Camaro, 10.900, 82.19; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.818, 203.80 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 18.813, 31.25; Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.775, 204.29 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.800, 205.22; Erica Enders, Dart, 6.767, 204.42 def. Aaron Strong, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.691, 205.13 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.831, 204.20; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.704, 206.01 def. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.818, 203.74; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.708, 206.04 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.793, 202.97; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.729, 204.88 def. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.795, 204.01;

QUARTERFINALS — Enders, 6.845, 204.70 def. Skillman, 6.807, 204.01; Line, 6.747, 205.38 def. McGaha, 6.750, 205.29; Anderson, 6.725, 205.66 def. Johnson, 6.754, 204.45; Butner, 6.706, 205.22 def. Kramer, 16.622, 49.38;

SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.737, 205.22 def. Enders, 6.801, 204.82; Butner, 6.703, 205.47 def. Anderson, 6.755, 205.88;

FINAL — Line, 6.712, 206.32 def. Butner, Foul – Red Light.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS 

Top Fuel: 1.  Brittany Force, 307; 2.  Antron Brown, 269; 3.  Doug Kalitta, 267; 4.  Steve Torrence, 249; 5. Clay Millican, 242; 6.  J.R. Todd, 229; 7.  Dave Connolly, 217; 8.  Terry McMillen, 209; 9.  Tony Schumacher, 190; 10.  Leah Pritchett, 188.

Funny Car: 1.  Robert Hight, 341; 2.  John Force, 294; 3.  Ron Capps, 289; 4.  Del Worsham, 283; 5.  Jack Beckman, 271; 6.  Courtney Force, 265; 7.  Chad Head, 236; 8.  Alexis DeJoria, 233; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 221; 10.  Matt Hagan, 150.

Pro Stock: 1.  Jason Line, 463; 2.  Greg Anderson, 415; 3.  Bo Butner, 331; 4.  Drew Skillman, 264; 5.  Chris McGaha, 214; 6.  Allen Johnson, 212; 7.  Jeg Coughlin, 191; 8.  Vincent Nobile, 175; 9.  Erica Enders, 171; 10.  Alex Laughlin, 154.

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