Antron Brown And Del Worsham Capture Historic Victories During NHRA Carolina Nationals In Charlotte

Antron Brown And Del Worsham Capture Historic Victories During NHRA Carolina Nationals In Charlotte

by September 20, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Wayne Thomas

CONCORD, NC – The 8th Annual Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway, featured intense battles between the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ top drivers on Sunday afternoon.

This weekend’s event marked the first stop on the schedule for the Countdown to the Championship, a six-race stretch that will crown NHRA’s next set of champions. Sunday’s weather was beautiful, but with the high temperatures, the racing surface was slick, and that was a challenge for many drivers. Fans witnessed some of the series’ best drivers, spinning their tires and holding on for life as the championship was on the line.

Top Fuel

Antron Brown posted his fifth win of the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season on Sunday at zMAX Dragway after defeating J.R. Todd in the final round. He qualified sixth to start the Carolina Nationals, but throughout the afternoon, he defeated 11th place qualifier, Terry McMillen in Round 1, third place qualifier, Steve Torrence in Round 2 and second place qualifier, Tony Schumacher in the semi-finals.

“I went up there first round and it was a long tree,” Antron said. “You have to sit there. It was so long that I wanted to go but I didn’t and when I did go I cut one of my worst lights ever. When I got back, Brian and Mark looked at me and they asked what happened. They looked at me and they pulled the reigns in on me and told me that this wasn’t any different and to just do what you do. They told me to have fun with it and that’s when I got back into my zone for the second round and had that same mindset through the finals. Just to have fun. That’s the whole name of the game.”

Antron went up against J.R. Todd in the final round, and it marked the first time in NHRA history that two African-Americans went head-to-head for an event victory. He was able to outrun Todd to claim the win and the point lead.

“You want to start off strong because it’s a sprint now,” Brown said. “There’s six races for the championship. Do the math. There’s 24 rounds of racing left and the more rounds you win, the less other people have to catch you. Our main focus is one round at a time. We just let the chips fall where they fall and we give it all we have.”

Finishing third on Sunday was Leah Pritchett, followed by Tony Shumacher and Doug Kalitta, who upset Dave Connolly in Round 1.

Antron now leads defending series champion, Tony Schumacher by a mere nine points in the NHRA Mello Yellow Countdown to the Championship standings. Larry Dixon is third, 82 points back, followed by J.R. Todd who trails by 85 points and Richie Crampton who is 98 points back.

NHRA Top Fuel Carolina Nationals Results:

1.) Antron Brown

2.) J.R. Todd

3.) Leah Pritchett

4.) Tony Schumacher

5.) Doug Kalitta

6.) Clay Millican

7.) Larry Dixon

8.) Steve Torrence

9.) Richie Crampton

10.) Dave Connolly

11.) Pat Dakin

12.) Chris Karamesines

13.) Terry McMillen

14.) Brittany Force

15.) Shawn Langdon.


Funny Car

Del Worsham outran top qualifier, Tommy Johnson Jr. to claim his first event victory of the 2015 season on Sunday afternoon at zMAX Dragway.  Worsham also became the first driver in NHRA history to claim a win at zMAX Dragway, both in a Top Fuel car and a Funny Car. Before Worsham could get to Johnson Jr., he first had to defeat Dave Richards, Matt Hagan and 16-time Funny Car champion, John Force.

“These are the races we are going to need to win if we’re going to win the championship,” Worsham said. “I think all of those losses over the season, losing that close and losing the ways we lost. You know when it came down to this final round, we’re in there kind of discussing our strategy, not once did I ever think about let’s just get down the track and try to win.”

In the finals, Worsham just narrowly defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. by .0358 seconds. John Force rounded out the top-three, followed by Alexis DeJoria and Ron Capps.

With the win, Worsham now leads Johnson Jr. by six points in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship point standings. Jack Beckman sits third, 34 points back. Matt Hagan is fourth, 48 points back and John Force sits fifth, 56 points behind Worsham.

NHRA Funny Car Carolina Nationals Results:

1.) Del Worsham

2.) Tommy Johnson Jr.

3.) John Force

4.) Alexis DeJoria

5.) Ron Capps

6.) Courtney Force

7.) Shane Westerfield

8.) Matt Hagan

9.) Robert Hight

10.) Cruz Pedregon

11.) Bob Gilbertson

12.) Tony Pedregon

13.) John Hale

14.) Tim Wilkerson

15.) Jack Beckman

16.) Dave Richards.

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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