Antron Brown celebrates his Top Fuel victory during the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals auto race at Gateway Motorsports Park on Sept. 30. Photo by Teresa Long/Associated Press
NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the championship finale comes home to the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
The 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will come to a dramatic finish Nov. 8-11 at the 48th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals. Race fans will flock to the historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona to witness the season finale of the Full Throttle Series and be a part of the crowning of the 2012 world champions in all four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
The event wraps up the points battles as the final of six playoff races in the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, and promises to bring sensory-filled 8,000-horsepower action to the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The race will be televised on ESPN2 HD.
Last year at this event, Del Worsham (Top Fuel) and Matt Hagan (Funny Car) raced to their first NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships and also earned race victories on the dramatic final day of the 2011 season, while Greg Stanfield (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won last year’s season-ending race at Pomona. Veteran drivers Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) joined Worsham and Hagan as 2011 NHRA world champions.
The sport’s favorite NHRA stars as well as some new contenders will be competing in the season’s final race, including Top Fuel points leader Antron Brown, teammate Spencer Massey, seven-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher, Funny Car leader Jack Beckman, Ron Capps, and the John Force Racing team – 15-time Funny Car world champ John Force, Robert Hight, Mike Neff, and rookie-sensation Courtney Force. Pro Stock title contenders include Allen Johnson and Jason Line, and female superstar Erica Enders, while in Pro Stock Motorcycle the Harley-Davidson duo Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines will settle the battle for the NHRA championship.
Top Fuel championship-hopeful and driver of the Matco Tools dragster, Antron Brown, is hoping to bring home his first Top Fuel world championship title for the Don Schumacher Racing team. So far, Brown has earned a career-record six wins and five runner-up finishes. He also made NHRA history by setting a national elapsed time record with a 3.701-second pass in Reading, Pa. He brings a 65 point lead into the season finale over seven-time world champ Schumacher.
Massey is 70 points back in third place. “We have to keep attacking,” Brown said. “We’ve got to go in there and just keep digging and digging, and hopefully we can be there at the end and contend and try to bring this championship home.”
Three drivers with ties to Southern California will be battling for the Funny Car world championship, including Norco’s Jack Beckman, Carlsbad’s Ron Capps and Hemet native Mike Neff. Beckman is currently leading the standings over playoff top seed and recent Las Vegas winner Capps by four points. Neff is in third place, 88 points back of the leader. In Pro Stock, Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson also has big dreams of capturing his first world title. The veteran driver is the current points leader and has scored a career-best six wins and four runner-up finishes this season. He holds a 126-point lead over defending world champ Jason Line.
“You know, it’s been our dream for a long time, my dad’s dream when I was just a little kid to race Pro Stock,” said Johnson, a Greeneville, Tenn. native. “But ever since then, we have gone out there and dug tooth and nail with our Mopar stuff, and hopefully this year it’s going to pay off. Things can change on a dime, and you’ve just got to take one round at a time, whether it be qualifying or racing.”
In addition to the exciting racing on the strip, NHRA is bringing fans more entertainment as the season comes to a close. The Auto Club NHRA Finals celebration kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 3, as the NHRA hosts the community-favorite Fan Fest in downtown La Verne with car displays and driver autograph sessions, including Funny Car points leader “Fast” Jack Beckman. Bring the entire family to Fan Fest, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., located on D and 3rd Street.
In observance of Veteran’s Day, on Sunday, Nov. 11, active and retired military can save $10 per Sunday ticket by showing military ID. A special Veteran’s Day Track Walk with Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown will be held on Sunday morning. Free for all Sunday ticket holders, the popular Track Walk gives fans the opportunity to walk down the legendary drag strip alongside some of the NHRA’s biggest stars.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful motorsports attraction on the planet. While strolling through the pits and the Midway, fans will want to check out NHRA’s “Rumble in the Junction” Car Corral featuring dozens of nostalgic dragsters, race cars and hot rods on display. The Rumble in the Junction also will showcase several NHRA-exclusive Cacklefests throughout the weekend.
As part of the Nitro Generation theme of the season, NHRA is offering free general admission for kids 12 and under with a paying adult. Tickets are available online at www.NHRATIX.com or by calling the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at 800-884-NHRA (6472).
• SCHEDULE: Full Throttle Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9 and continue at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11.
• TICKETS: Tickets are available online at www.NHRATIX.com or by calling the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at 800-884-NHRA (6472).
• TELEVISION: ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise an hour and a half of qualifying coverage at 10:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Nov. 10. On Sunday, Nov. 11, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise three hours of coverage starting at 7 p.m. (ET). ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will re-air eliminations at 3:30 a.m. (ET) on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
• ON THE WEB: Get instant results, access to photos, video and audio clips, and the latest news updates from every NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event on the Internet at www.nhra.com.
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