NHRA: Antron Brown wins 3rd race of year, now No. 1 in Top Fuel points

(Photos courtesy NHRA, Jerry Bonkowski)
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JOLIET, Illinois – Antron Brown took a big step towards repeating as NHRA Top Fuel champion with his win in Sunday’s K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Brown (3.777 seconds at 321.19 mph) earned his third win of the season, defeating J.R. Todd (3.798 seconds at 322.11 mph).

“We’re loving it right now,” Brown said. “We’re starting to go in the right direction. We’re peaking at the right time but we haven’t peaked yet.

“We wanted to come here, come home with the win and are fortunate we made all the right calls, did all the right moves and hopefully there’s a lot more for us to come and to our goal is to get better and better and better. That’s what’s going to set us up for the championship.”

MORE: Results and standings from K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals

Brown ties Doug Kalitta for most visits to victory lane thus far in 2016, with each driver having won three races apiece in the first 13 national events of this year’s 24-race season.

In addition, it was Brown’s 57th career win in NHRA competition (41 in Top Fuel, 16 in Pro Stock Motorcycle), as well as his fifth win at Route 66 Raceway (3 in Top Fuel, 2 in PSM).

“This place is just really, really special to us,” Brown said. “This is the boss’s (Don Schumacher) hometown. There’s lots of family and friends that come out here and you want to do well in front of them.”


Brown also vaults past Kalitta into the top spot in the Top Fuel point standings, now having a razor-thin two-point edge over Kalitta, who lost in the quarterfinals to Brown’s teammate, Tony Schumacher.

But perhaps the most spectacular stat of all: Brown has now won 32 national events in the last 5.5 seasons, twice as much as the next driver during that period (16 wins by Spencer Massey).

“We found new things that are making us better,” Brown said. “We’re on to something and we’re just going to keep improving on that.

“You have to have that whole pie to make it happen. We’re getting all our pieces together, hopefully we get the bake time right and we come out with a beautiful cake at the end that we can put some icing on and we can repeat what we did last year, hopefully.”

Last but not least, this is the 56th time in its history that Don Schumacher Racing has doubled-up, earning wins in both Top Fuel and Funny Car (Jack Beckman) at the same event.

In addition, it’s the sixth double-up that DSR has achieved at Route 66, as well as its third straight and fourth overall double-up this season.

There were a number of upsets in the first three rounds, particularly in the quarterfinals and semifinals:

* Brittany Force (4.327 seconds, 187.31 mph) was upset in the quarters by rising star Leah Pritchett (3.872/311.63). However, Pritchett (3.814/319.22) lost in the semifinals to Brown (3.762/324.05).

* Todd (3.771/324.28) upset Steve Torrence (3.785/313.58) in the quarterfinals, and then Todd (3.781/323.35) kept going in the semifinals, defeating eight-time Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher (3.815/315.49).

Hard as it may seem to believe, Schumacher has now gone a complete year without a win, his last coming last year at Joliet, his hometown track.

* Doug Kalitta (3.806/320.05) saw his hopes of earning a fourth win of the season fall short when he lost to Schumacher (3.71/322.73) in the quarterfinals.

The NHRA enjoys next weekend off before returning to action July 22-24 with the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, Colorado.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points