Brown Goes Back To Back At NHRA Carolina Nationals

From left, John Force, Antron Brown, Jason Line and Chip Ellis claimed wins in the NHRA Carolina Nationals on Sunday at zMAX Dragway. [CMS/HHP photo]

From left, John Force, Antron Brown, Jason Line and Chip Ellis claimed wins in the NHRA Carolina Nationals on Sunday at zMAX Dragway. [CMS/HHP photo]


  • Antron Brown captured his second consecutive NHRA Carolina Nationals Top Fuel victory Sunday at zMAX Dragway in the first race of the six-race Countdown to the Championship; Brown won last year en route to winning the title
  •  John Force claimed his 146th career Funny Car win; Mooresville, North Carolina-based Jason Line won in Pro Stock and Chip Ellis prevailed in Pro Stock Motorcycle
  • Fans can buy tickets to any upcoming Charlotte Motor Speedway, zMAX Dragway or The Dirt Track event by shopping online or by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267)


CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 18, 2016) – Antron Brown kicked off his NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel title defense in spectacular fashion in Sunday’s NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway, as the Don Schumacher Racing driver won the Countdown to the Championship opener for the second year in a row after a breathtaking battle with No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta.

Brown’s victory was one of several memorable highlights in an unforgettable afternoon at the Bellagio of drag strips. Sixteen-time Funny Car champion John Force prevailed for the 146th time in his illustrious career, while Jason Line claimed the win in Pro Stock and Chip Ellis pulled off a spectacular upset in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

In Top Fuel, Brown held off Clay Milligan in the first round, Brittany Force — by one thousandth of a second — in the quarterfinal, underdog Pat Dakin in the semifinal and Kalitta in the final with a 3.763-second, 319.29-mph pass to pad his points lead.

“I’m dreaming right now. Somebody needs to come pinch me,” Brown said. “When you come here, this is how you want to start the Countdown off … We just kept digging. That was the key. Just keep digging. The track got to be the hottest it’s been all year long (132 degrees). We had to navigate it and we had to face some of the toughest matchups we’ve had all year … We put the work in today and we were fortunate enough to win.”

Force’s road to victory was equally as challenging. He topped No. 1 qualifier Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final with a 3.946-second, 324.06-mph pass that topped Johnson by .041 seconds for his first NHRA Carolina Nationals win.

“It’s stadiums like (zMAX Dragway) that really create the magic in your heart and (make) you want to race,” said Force, whose victory meant he has won every race on the schedule at least once. “We had a good day … I’ve got a race car now that I can race with. I’m not great but I’m good. When I’m on my game, I can win.”

Line prevailed over KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson in the Pro Stock final with a 6.621-second, 209.39-mph run to win by .018 seconds.

“It was a great day for us,” Line said. “If you want to win the championship you’ve just got to come out smoking. To race Greg in the final is a great thing. It’s good, but it’s bad because he’s the last guy you want to see over there in the final. He gets the best of me most of the time, but today was my day.”

Ellis captured his seventh career Pro Stock Motorcycle win when his 6.879-second, 194.88-mph pass held off Andrew Hines for the trophy — his first since 2008.

“This is the most important win of my career, just for (team owner Junior) Pittman,” Ellis said of his seventh career triumph. “I’m really proud to be a part of his team. It’s an amazing deal. We work really hard, putting in a lot of hours … Our bike is amazing. Our guys are doing a great job on the bike and it showed this weekend.”

To purchase tickets to any upcoming Charlotte Motor Speedway event, including the Oct. 8 NASCAR Bank of America 500, shop online or call 1-800-455-FANS (3267).

Connect with zMAX Dragway and stay up to speed with all the happenings at the Bellagio of drag strips on Facebook, Twitter or on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s mobile app.



ROUND ONE — Leah Pritchett, 3.840, 310.20 def. Richie Crampton, 7.051, 97.33; Antron Brown, 3.762, 318.99 def. Clay Millican, 5.606, 117.33; Brittany Force, 3.759, 321.81 def. Chris Karamesines, Broke; Doug Kalitta, 3.768, 324.20 def. Ike Maier, 5.535, 128.37; Cameron Ferre, 4.138, 226.73 def. Tony Schumacher, 6.860, 99.72; Steve Torrence, 4.416, 240.47 def. Scott Palmer, 4.849, 152.16; Wayne Newby, 3.982, 246.71 def. Shawn Langdon, 4.121, 263.36; Pat Dakin, 3.811, 319.90 def. J.R. Todd, 4.667, 173.85;

QUARTERFINALS — Newby, 3.849, 316.90 def. Torrence, 3.843, 280.25; Dakin, 5.327, 127.65 def. Ferre, Broke – No Show; Kalitta, 3.817, 320.20 def. Pritchett, 3.836, 320.13; Brown, 3.796, 319.60 def. Force, 3.797, 320.97;

SEMIFINALS — Kalitta, 3.879, 311.13 def. Newby, 4.096, 225.41; Brown, 3.870, 311.85 def. Dakin, 6.090, 101.73;

FINAL — Brown, 3.763, 319.29 def. Kalitta, 3.811, 320.28.


ROUND ONE — Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 5.330, 132.70 def. Bob Gilbertson, Chevy Monte Carlo, Broke; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.972, 318.99 def. John Hale, Charger, 26.289, 23.60; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.965, 324.75 def. Dave Richards, Ford Mustang, 4.295, 271.19; John Bojec, Toyota Solara, 4.059, 308.78 def. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, Foul – Centerline; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.976, 321.12 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.275, 220.37; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.029, 312.28 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.172, 253.99; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.916, 327.51 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.828, 175.25; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.975, 323.89 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.024, 308.85;

QUARTERFINALS — J. Force, 4.013, 319.90 def. Wilkerson, 7.401, 103.50; Capps, 3.983, 314.31 def. Hight, 4.008, 320.51; Worsham, 4.045, 317.34 def. Bojec, Foul – Red Light; Johnson Jr., 3.970, 320.74 def. Hagan, 3.992, 322.11;

SEMIFINALS — Johnson Jr., 3.949, 321.19 def. Worsham, 3.990, 322.27; J. Force, 3.957, 323.27 def. Capps, 4.003, 317.57;

FINAL — J. Force, 3.946, 324.05 def. Johnson Jr., 3.987, 315.71.


ROUND ONE — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.689, 207.72 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.718, 208.52; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.649, 208.97 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.708, 207.75; Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.687, 206.76 def. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.703, 207.98; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.658, 208.36 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.714, 207.40; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.624, 209.17 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.736, 205.94; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.639, 208.94 def. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.715, 207.46; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.642, 209.23 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.762, 205.35; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.637, 208.49 def. Curt Steinbach, Camaro, 6.700, 206.07;

QUARTERFINALS — Anderson, 6.663, 208.39 def. McGaha, 6.690, 208.10; Line, 6.642, 209.01 def. Butner, 6.672, 209.75; Nobile, 6.660, 207.94 def. Coughlin, 6.705, 206.61; Laughlin, 6.681, 208.78 def. Gray, 6.952, 209.01;

SEMIFINALS — Anderson, 6.673, 208.59 def. Laughlin, 6.674, 209.36; Line, 6.630, 209.20 def. Nobile, 6.646, 209.30;

FINAL — Line, 6.621, 209.39 def. Anderson, 6.639, 209.20.


ROUND ONE — Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.924, 193.29 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.895, 194.21; Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.920, 193.07 def. Matt Smith, 6.915, 192.03; Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.875, 194.74 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.959, 191.92; Angelle Sampey, Buell, 10.044, 97.19 def. Mark Paquette, Buell, Foul – Red Light; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.971, 190.16 def. Melissa Surber, Buell, 7.073, 188.15; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.884, 195.25 def. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.997, 192.30; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.932, 194.18 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.948, 193.74; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.901, 194.86 def. Hector Arana, Buell, Broke;

QUARTERFINALS — Underdahl, 6.956, 192.49 def. Stoffer, 7.011, 193.32; Sampey, 6.896, 194.02 def. Arana Jr, 6.954, 193.74; Ellis, 6.905, 194.24 def. Tonglet, 7.125, 174.93; Hines, 6.921, 193.29 def. Johnson, 6.926, 192.74;

SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.955, 191.40 def. Underdahl, 6.972, 194.44; Ellis, 6.890, 194.16 def. Sampey, 10.377, 77.18;

FINAL — Ellis, 6.879, 194.88 def. Hines, 6.908, 193.49.

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