TOPEKA, KS – Antron Brown defeated Steve Torrence in the Top Fuel final to win the Menards NHRA Heartland Park Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka Sunday. The victory is the second of the season for Brown and the 63rd of his Mello Yello Series career.
After qualifying third, the long-time Toyota driver defeated Kebin Kinsley in the opening round, fellow Toyota driver Shawn Langdon in round two and Leah Pritchett in the semi-finals to set up his match-up with Torrence. For the weekend, Brown ran 3.71 or better in five of his seven runs, including three 3.6-second passes. His opening round 3.691 was the best run of race day.
TOPEKA, KS – Antron Brown set a national Top Fuel speed record at more than 333 mph to qualify third and lead Toyota in preparation for Sunday’s Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties at Heartland Park Topeka.
Brown’s 333.16 mph pass came on a 3.667-second run, which temporarily put him at the top of the field in the third qualifying session. He then followed with a second 3.67-second pass in the final round. Brown has now qualified in the top three in seven of eight races this season.
KALITTA MOTORSPORTS LOOKS TO MAKE IT AN EVEN DOZEN IN TOPEKA – Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel drivers Doug Kalitta, Shawn Langdon and Troy Coughlin, Jr., are all competing this weekend to give the team its 12th Top Fuel victory at Heartland Park Topeka. No team has won more at Topeka and no driver had won more than the late Scott Kalitta, who earned six victories at the track. Both defending champ Doug Kalitta (2016 and 2006) and David Grubnic registered a pair of wins, while Hillary Will rounds out Kalitta’s Topeka winners. While not having won at Topeka for his new team, Langdon also has a win at Heartland Park on his resume, having taken home the Wally in 2013.
LAST YEAR AT TOPEKA – Doug Kalitta defeated Antron Brown in a pedal-fest to win an all-Toyota Top Fuel final at the 2016 NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. It marked Kalitta’s third straight victory.
Kalitta defeated Chris Karamesines and Clay Millican before falling to Tony Schumacher in the semi-finals. In the semis, Kalitta had the advantage at the starting line before hazing the tires around the 400-foot mark. He reached the 600-win milestone with his second-round victory over Millican.
The three-time world champion’s performance marked the sixth time in seven races this season that he has qualified in the top three. After Friday’s sessions were washed out, Brown placed second in Saturday’s first run and third in the final qualifying session to earn bonus points for each pass. He enters Sunday’s eliminations looking for his fifth Atlanta victory.
ATLANTA PLAYED CRUCIAL ROLE FOR WORSHAM – As one of just three drivers ever to win both Top Fuel and Funny Car world championships, Del Worsham is considered one of the great drivers in NHRA history. Yet, if it hadn’t been for the 1991 Southern Nationals, history may have looked much different. At the time Worsham was a rookie just trying to make it through the season with his family-owned and run team. As they went to Atlanta, the team was preparing to shut down operations after the race and return home looking to save money to, hopefully, return to action that summer. Instead, the 21-year-old went on to defeat Mark Oswald (now Antron Brown’s co-crew chief) in the final to become the youngest winner in Funny Car history. It also provided the money the team desperately needed to fund the remainder of the season, which would include a second win and Rookie of the Year honors.
CHARLOTTE, NC – Competing in just his sixth Funny Car race, J.R. Todd drove his DHL Toyota Camry to the final round on the way to an eventual third-place finish at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at the zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday.
Todd, who placed fourth overall in last year’s Top Fuel championship before making the move to Funny Car this season, defeated Courtney Force and Jonnie Lindberg in the first round and Matt Hagan and Tim Wilkerson in round two to advance to today’s final, which was eventually won by Ron Capps.