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Brown Wins All-Toyota Top Fuel Final At Houston NHRA


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Antron Brown defeated Khalid alBalooshi in an all-Toyota Top Fuel final for his third victory of the season at today’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Tex.

Brown’s latest victory comes at the same track where he earned his first Top Fuel win in 2008. He defeated Clay Millican, Spencer Massey and Shawn Langdon on the way to the finals match-up against alBalooshi where he captured his fifth win in the last 10 Top Fuel events.

“We’ve just been able to execute,” said Brown, who took over the Top Fuel point lead with the triumph. “When we have a problem we’re able to fix it from the last round and make it better for the next round. I feel like we have a class-A, true all-star team. All the guys can execute under pressure. The championship goes through the Al-Anabi teams. Any time we can beat them, it’s like hitting the jackpot.”

AlBalooshi fell just shy of his second win of the season, but moved up to fifth-place in the point chase after defeating Tony Schumacher, Leah Pritchard and number one qualifier Steve Torrence.

Overall, it was a strong day for the Al-Anabi Racing Toyota team as alBalooshi’s teammate Langdon advanced to the semi-finals today as well. The reigning Top Fuel world champion knocked off Troy Buff and then defeated Doug Kalitta on a holeshot before losing to Brown. Richie Crampton rounded out the Toyota Top Fuel drivers with a first-round loss to Brittany Force.

In Funny Car, Del Worsham advanced to the semi-finals today after earning number one qualifier honors on Saturday. He defeated Courtney Force in his opening round and fellow Camry driver Chad Head in the second round before falling to Robert Hight in the semi-finals. The strong weekend pushed Worsham into fourth-place in Funny Car points.

Worsham was one of four Toyota Funny Car drivers to win at least one round in Houston. Also advancing to the second round was his Kalitta Motorsports teammate Alexis DeJoria, Cruz Pedregon and Head. Tony Pedregon lost in the opening round in a Toyota vs. Toyota match-up with DeJoria.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is off each of the next two weekends before resuming with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., May 16-18.

Toyota Drivers NHRA Houston Results
Top Fuel Car Qual/Fin.
Antron Brown Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster 2/Winner
Khalid albalooshi Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel Dragster 13/Finals
Shawn Langdon Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel Dragster 3/Semis
Richie Crampton GEICO/Lucas Oil Toyota Top Fuel Dragster 9/Rd. 1
Funny Car Car Qual./Fin.
Del Worsham DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car 1/Semis
Alexis DeJoria Patr?n XO Café Toyota Camry Funny Car 5/Rd. 2
Chad Head Head Racing Toyota Camry Funny Car 9/Rd. 2
Cruz Pedregon Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry Funny Car 10/Rd. 2
Tony Pedregon WIX Toyota Camry Funny Car 12/Rd. 1

2014 Toyota NHRA Winners (6):
Top Fuel (4): alBalooshi, Pomona1; Brown, Phoenix, Charlotte, Houston
Funny Car (2): DeJoria, Phoenix, Las Vegas
2014 Toyota Number One Qualifiers (5):
Top Fuel (3): Langdon, Gainesville, Charlotte; Brown, Las Vegas
Funny Car (2): Pedregon, Gainesville; Worsham, Houston

Notes:

– Antron Brown’s victory today is his third of the season and the 44th of his career, with 28 of those coming in Top Fuel. He has now won five of the last 10 NHRA events. The victory comes at the track where he won his first-ever Top Fuel race in 2008. Overall, he’s advanced to the final round in Houston four times in seven years.

– Since losing in the first round in the season opener in Pomona, Antron Brown has registered a 16-2 won-loss record in the last five races, where he’s won three, advanced to one final and one semi.

– Antron Brown has now reached the finals in four of the last five events, with today marking his 51st final round in Top Fuel competition. He has now advanced to the finals in seven of the last 10 races.

– Khalid alBalooshi advanced to his second final round of the season and the sixth of his career. He had earlier won the season-opening Winternationals in Pomona. With the strong effort, he climbs into the top-five in points, just behind teammate Shawn Langdon.

– Toyota drivers now occupy three of the top-five positions in Top Fuel and two of the top four in Funny Car.

– Today’s victory is the fourth by a Toyota Top Fuel driver this season and the sixth for a Toyota driver in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competition in 2014.

Quotes:

Antron Brown, Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “It was very draining this weekend here at Houston. It felt like we were running a marathon out here this weekend. Instead of running like a sprint, it felt like we ran 5,000-kilometers out here. That’s what made it so tough on all the teams.
We’ve just been able to execute. When we have a problem we’re able to fix it from the last round and make it better for the next round. We’ve got a class A, true all-star team. If you wanted to pick your dream team this would be it.”

Khalid alBalooshi, Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “It was a good day, especially winning the first round with a very close win over Tony. The Al-Anabi car was very good all weekend. In the final round, I made a mistake and got the car outside the groove, and it smoked the tires. I am sorry that happened. I hope we will keep running this way and even get way better in the next couple of races. I feel good about how we started this season with a win and a runner up. Our team is going in the right direction now; both cars are running good numbers. I think we are in a good way right now. I appreciate the hard work from everyone on our team, and I thank Sheikh Khalid for giving me this opportunity.”

Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “Results wise, the Al-Anabi team had a good weekend; we qualified well, made it to the semis and we’re fourth in points. We still struggled a little with our tune-up, but we’re close. We’re still learning about some of the changes we’ve made. We missed it a little in the semis and didn’t make as good a run as we thought we would; we’re still kind of diagnosing everything. When the car goes down the track, it’s really good so we know we’re close. When things get right, we’ll be in good shape going forward. We need to get that first win out of the way.”

Richie Crampton, GEICO/Lucas Oil Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “This is starting to hurt. I knew coming into the year that there would be growing pains with me being a rookie, but I also knew this has been a contending race team for several years in a row. I figured we’d be up to speed really quick. We had a great run Friday (3.807 seconds at 322.11 mph) and you get your hopes up and think, ‘We’re finally getting a handle on this thing,’ but then you end up here Sunday afternoon wishing so much more had happened.”

Top Fuel Drivers Championship POINTS POINTS BEHIND LEADER
1. Antron Brown 580 -0
4. Shawn Langdon 408 -172
5. Khalid alBalooshi 381 -199
9. Richie Crampton 224 -356
Funny Car Drivers Championship
3. Alexis DeJoria 431 -178
4. Del Worsham 361 -248
12. Cruz Pedregon 258 -351
13. Chad Head 217 -382
14. Tony Pedregon 189 -420

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