Championship Drag Racing


K&N Filters SuperNationals
Englishtown, NJ
(June 16-19)

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Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals
Sunday
Itís a great Dadís Day (again) for Dixon in Englishtown

 Larry Dixon won his fifth straight Father's Day race Sunday, taking the Top Fuel title at the 36th annual K&N Filters SuperNationals presented by Advance Auto Parts at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey. Dixon beat a tire-smoking Dave Grubnic with a 4.533-second pass at 329.91 mph. He has not lost a Father's Day race since becoming a dad in 2000.

With his twin daughters waiting at the top end, Del Worsham won his first race of the season, beating Ron Capps in a terrific side-by-side affair. New Jersey native Antron Brown celebrated a win in Pro Stock Motorcycle with daughter Arianna and son Antson. Jason Line took out Warren Johnson in the Pro Stock finale, but not before W.J. regained the points lead from Line's teammate, Greg Anderson.

 
Larry Dixon

Even though the venue changed from Columbus to Englishtown, Dixon remains a lock to take home the hardware on Father's Day, making it five in a row with his 37th Top Fuel victory. He now trails POWERade points leader Doug Kalitta by just 68 points and second-place points earner Tony Schumacher by six.

With team owner Don "the Snake" Prudhomme and Indy 500-winning car owner Michael Andretti watching from the starting line, Dixon delivered, covering the quarter-mile in 4.533 seconds at 329.91 mph. Grubnic lost traction just a few hundred feet into his run and surrendered the win to Dixon, drifting through with a 6.798 at 135.44 mph.

"This is unbelievable, at least from my point of view," Dixon said. "It's kind of like [Bob] Glidden's run at Indy way back in the day. Everyone asks me how we're doing it, and I don't have a clue. I wish I did. All I know is I had a bracket car today.

"We're still back there [in the points]. You guys [in the media] can keep talking about Doug [Kalitta] and Tony [Schumacher]. Please. That's fine with me. Kalitta has about 20 crew chiefs, and there's always a huge gang around Schumacher's cars. Just leave us out of it.

"The last time I checked, you can only race one car at a time. If [John Force Racing crew chief] Austin Coil only had one car, I'd still like his chances a lot. To me, the experience is more valuable than the number of cars you have. We have Dick LaHaie, and I'm really happy with that."

"This trophy is going on a trip. My son, Donovan, asked me this morning if he could have my trophy if I won today. When I asked him why, he told me he wanted to play with it in his sandbox with his dinosaurs, so this thing is taking a detour on the way to the trophy case."

Dixon's miraculous Father's Day run to the final in his Miller Lite dragster came courtesy of a broken Mitch King, a tire-smoking Cory McClenathan, and a tire-spinning Kalitta. Even if his opponents hadn't run into trouble, he would have been tough to beat because he stayed in the low-4.5-second range all day.

Grubnic raced his Zantrex-3 dragster past Doug Herbert, John Smith, and surprise semifinalist "Fast Jack" Beckman to reach his ninth final round. He posted low 4.5s against Herbert and Beckman but got lucky in the quarterfinals when his tire-hazing 4.93 was good enough to beat Smith's 6.10.

This was the ninth final of the year and seventh in a row that featured a car from the Kalitta Motorsports camp. The three team drivers, Grubnic, Doug Kalitta, and Scott Kalitta, have six wins among them.

 
Del Worsham

After struggling all season, Worsham finally put together the race he's been hoping for, beating all comers for his 20th win and first in Englishtown since 1991. With the crowd on its feet, Worsham inched away from Capps as the two zoomed down the track and took the victory with a 4.866 at 321.19 mph to Capps' 4.911 at 315.49 mph.

"This is the first time we've ever won on Father's Day," Worsham said. "It's a very rewarding feeling, and definitely this one is a huge relief. Everyone's been asking me when we were gonna win one. We finally did it, but really the only thing that was different today was that we won some races by a foot instead of losing them by a foot.

"I won this race 14 years ago when I was 21. We'd won our first race ever in Atlanta a few weeks before we got here. It was my first night race, and I was kind of spooked at first. Then in the final, the header fell off and was dragging along, and it really lit up inside the car. I thought, 'Oh this is a fire. It's not so bad.' Then we had a real fire here in 1994, and I spent a few weeks in the burn center. I like winning here a lot more than getting burned."

A preseason favorite to contend for the POWERade championship, Checker Schuck's Kragen driver Worsham drove his Chevrolet Monte Carlo past Tony Bartone, 13-time champion Force, and Robert Hight with mid- to low-4.8-second runs to reach his first final round of the season and 31st of his career.

Capps' 32nd final-round showing came after wins over Tony Pedregon, teammate Whit Bazemore, and former teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. His Brut Dodge Stratus R/T looked great in the first two rounds, but he got out of the groove against Johnson and nearly crossed the centerline. Even so, his 5.12 beat T.J.'s 6.44. Capps' last win was in 2003 in Phoenix.

 
Jason Line

Johnson was denied the honor of being the Pro Stock driver with the most wins at this facility by the red-hot Line, who moved around boss Anderson to within six of the POWERade points lead. This was Line's second win in a row and second straight at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The top-three drivers in Pro Stock are now separated by just 13 points.

Line was ready for the final, leaving with a .014-second light to W.J.'s respectable .036. He never looked back, crossing the timers 14 feet ahead of Johnson with a 6.692 at 205.98 mph against "the Professor's" 6.714 at 207.50 mph. Line now has a 3-2 final-round record this year and a 7-6 mark in his career. Johnson is 94-53 overall.

"We could've dialed this thing in to the thousandths, it was so consistent this weekend," Line said. 'This is about as good a car as I've ever driven. It was difficult to race Greg so early in the day, but we didn't qualify well enough to be on opposite sides of the ladder. Fortunately for me, he's not selfish and we raced straight up and I won this time. Kind of weird because I was hired to help him with the championship, and I did the opposite today. But Ken [Black, team owner] is an ethical guy, and he wants us to race.

"It's Father's Day and I'm not a father yet, but we've got one on the way. My wife, Cindy, is pregnant. She's due in January. We planned it so the baby is born in the off-season. Hopefully next year I can win here again and experience that Father's Day feeling."

Line reached his second final in a row in his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac by beating Greg Stanfield, Anderson, and Larry Morgan. The win over Anderson, combined with Johnsonís win in the same round, set W.J. up to reassume the lead against Kurt Johnson in the semifinals.

W.J.ís GM Performance Parts Pontiac looked steady in victories over Allen Johnson, two-time champ Jim Yates, and son Kurt. The race against Kurt was a nice Father's Day gift as K.J., the event's low qualifier, entered the round with a clear performance advantage but bogged off the starting line and coasted through the rest of the race.

 
Antron Brown

Brown became the sixth different winner in six Pro Stock Motorcycle races this season by riding around a very tough Karen Stoffer. It was the second win for Brown at his home track. The former track star grew up in Chesterfield, N.J., just two exits down the New Jersey Turnpike from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Stoffer made him work for it, leaving in .024-second, well ahead of Brown's .077-second launch, but Brown tracked her down and got the victory by one hundredth of a second, posting a 7.169 at 184.55 mph to Stoffer's 7.238 at 186.90 mph.

Brown moved from 10th place to third in the POWERade points with his 14th victory. Stoffer jumped from sixth place to second after dropping from second to sixth in Chicago.

"Winning on Father's Day with your kids right here is awesome," Brown said. "I got my whole family here with my mom and dad, grandma, great grandma whoís 93, all my cousins and aunts and uncles. They all kept me pumped up to win all day, and it got more and more exciting each round.

"We struggled all weekend with leaving the starting line, but our back-half numbers carried us. This was a big win for the U.S. Army. They celebrated their 230th birthday this week, and we had a bunch of soldiers here from Fort Dix. Winning here in 2002 was cool. This was better because I had all the support.

"The championship fight has just begun. There's a long way to go, and it's gonna be a dogfight. The class is so tough top to bottom. We have to stay on it. The person who wins might not be the quickest or the fastest, but it'll be the person who's the most consistent."

Low qualifier Brown rolled past Scott Valetti and former series champions Geno Scali and Angelle Sampey on his U.S. Army Suzuki. A forgettable .079-second reaction time against Valetti woke Brown up, and he posted a .007 and a .005 in the next two rounds.

Valetti came off his Lake Mortgage Kawasaki after his loss to Brown and slid for several hundred feet. He was alert and conscious and taken to a local hospital with friction abrasions on his hip, legs, and hands.

Houston winner Stoffer was an afterthought at the start of the day after qualifying 14th, but she came to life on her GEICO Motorcycle Suzuki once eliminations began, taking out three heavyweights -- reigning champ Andrew Hines, Craig Treble, and points leader GT Tonglet -- to reach her fifth final round.

Jeg's Mail Order racer Troy Coughlin collected his first win of the 2005 AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge series Sunday by beating Zach Barklage. The former Pro Stock star, who made the switch to Pro Mod in the last off-season, needed just seven races behind the wheel of his Ford Shelby Mustang to claim his first Iron Eagle trophy. Coughlin gave up a big starting-line edge to Barklage, following Barklage's .030-second start with a .104-second launch, but he had his opponent reeled in by the first timing cone at 60 feet, flexing his massive horsepower for a car-length victory. The scoreboards showed Coughlin crossing in 6.124 seconds at 231.04 mph to Barklage's 6.262 at 229.00 mph.



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