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Brown misses chance to repeat as U.S. Nationals champ but leaves Indy with Top Fuel top seed for NHRA Countdown

BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Antron Brown didn’t get to leave the U.S. Nationals with another title from the most prestigious race of the season, but he was able to leave as the Top Fuel points leader heading to the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series playoffs.

Brown advanced to the semifinals Sunday at Lucas Oil Raceway where he lost to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Spencer Massey. Massey went on to lose to another DSR teammate, Tony Schumacher, for the title at the track just west of Indianapolis.

“Our hats are off to Spencer and his Prestone/FRAM boys and of course to Tony for winning the U.S. Nationals again,” said Brown, who won the prestigious title a year ago. “It was great to see our DSR teammates in the final, but trust me, I wish it was our Matco team.”

Brown’s win in the second round clinched the points lead for his Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Mark Oswald and Brian Corradi as they enter the six-event Countdown to the Championship, which begins next weekend near Charlotte, N.C.

The top-10 drivers after the first 17 events of the season advance to the Countdown when points are reset at 10-point increments, and the points leader receives a 20-point bonus so Brown will lead Massey, who is No. 2 in the standings, by 30 when racing begins at zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

(See below for details on the Countdown.)

“We had a great weekend,” Brown said. “We secured our No. 1 spot for the Countdown so we accomplished the main mission we set out to do. We wanted to bring it to the winner’s circle but a clutch disc disintegrated and it slowed us right there on our last run against Spencer.

“All our Matco boys are amped up, pumped up. This is a great motivator for going into the Countdown because we have to make sure nothing goes wrong and we’re up on our Ps and Qs.

“We’re ready to go out there and take charge. We’re not going to change anything we’re doing.’

The following are Brown’s results from the U.S. Nationals and other notes:

TOP FUEL
Winner: Tony Schumacher (DSR)
No. 1 qualifier: Shawn Langdon (Al-Anabi Racing), 3.740 sec., 326.48 mph.

Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Qualified: No. 3

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
1st round: BROWN (3.797 sec., 324.20 mph) def. T.J. Zizzo (3.948, 294.56)
2nd round: BROWN (3.802, 319.90) def. J.R. Todd (8.803, 84.02)
Semifinals: Spencer Massey (3.807, 315.64) def. BROWN (3.829, 313.07)

FRIDAY (Aug. 31) QUALIFYING
Session 1: 3.844 sec., 319.37 mph
SATURDAY (Sept. 1) QUALIFYING
Session 2: 3.851, 317.42 (first-round loss in Shootout)
Session 3: 3.807, 322.34
SATURDAY (Sept. 8) QUALIFYING
Session 4: 4.85, 153.28
Session 5: 3.762, 322.50

COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
The fields are set for each of the four Full Throttle professional categories heading to the six-event Countdown to the Championship.
The points will be reset at 10-point increments for the Countdown contestants and the points leaders after Indy, which was the 17th event of the year, getting 20-point bonus so they will start the Countdown with 30-point leads in Top Fuel (Antron Brown), Funny Car (Ron Capps), Pro Stock (Allen Johnson) and Pro Stock Motorcycle (Eddie Krawiec).
Only the top-10 drivers can contend for season championships but all drivers entered in the last six events will contend with Countdown drivers for event points and titles. The best season finish for non-Countdown driver can be 11th.

SIX IN A ROW
Postponing the U.S. Nationals by one week means the Full Throttle series will now race on five consecutive weekends beginning next weekend with the first race in the Countdown at zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway at Concord, N.C.
Factoring in last week’s rainout it actually means teams will have competed six straight weekends.

NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Unofficial through Sept. 9, 2012, U.S. Nationals; DSR in CAPS)

TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
1. ANTRON BROWN, 1,413
2. SPENCER MASSEY, 1,378
3. TONY SCHUMACHER, 1,321
4. Steve Torrence, 1,171
5. Doug Kalitta, 1,105
6. Morgan Lucas, 1,002
7. Shawn Langdon, 956
8. Brandon Bernstein, 849
9. David Grubnic, 841
10. Bob Vandergriff, 696

COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
(Points reset for six-event Countdown; DSR IN CAPS)

TOP FUEL
1. ANTRON BROWN, 2,110 (Includes 20 points for finishing first in regular season)
2. SPENCER MASSEY, 2,080
3. TONY SCHUMACHER, 2,070
4. Steve Torrence, 2,060
5. Doug Kalitta, 2,050
6. Morgan Lucas, 2,040
7. Shawn Langdon, 2,030
8. Brandon Bernstein, 2,020
9. David Grubnic, 2,010
10. Bob Vandergriff, 2,000

NEXT EVENT
Sept. 14-16, zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.

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