Greg Anderson ended KB Racing teammate Jason Line’s perfect streak of final-round appearances, but extended Team Summit’s undefeated record in the EFI Pro Stock after winning the rain-delayed NHRA New England Nationals Monday at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.
Antron Brown in Top Fuel, and Ron Capps in Funny car were all winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Boston.
In Pro Stock, Anderson’s win was his fourth of the season and second straight at this event. He defeated Allen Johnson in the final with a 6.598-second at 210.44 miles-per-hour pass in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to hold off Johnson’s charging Dodge Dart, which left the starting line first but finished second with a 6.673 at 208.71.
Anderson and Line are the only Pro Stock drivers to win races so far in 2016, with Line winning the other five.
Line does the engine tuning for Anderson’s Chevy Camaro (and Anderson does the same for Line’s), so they are invested heavily in one another’s success.
Monday’s win was Anderson’s 82nd career victory.
“It’s been a great start to the year,” said Anderson, who defeated V. Gaines, Alex Laughlin and Line in
early rounds. “This team is on fire. It’s a dream to drive that race car. I love racing here. It feels like racing back home in Minnesota. I had the best car on the grounds this weekend and only I could’ve screwed it up, and fortunately I got the job done today.”
In Top Fuel, Brown closed the gap on series points leader Doug Kalitta with a convincing victory over rival Steve Torrence in the final round. Brown powered his dragster to a winning performance of 3.769 seconds at 314.61 mph to hold off Torrence’s machine, which trailed with a 3.778 at 325.30, in a very close finish.
It was Brown’s 56th career win and his first at New England Dragway. He earned an opening round bye as the #1 qualifier and then defeated Shawn Langdon and Tony Schumacher to advance to his fourth final round appearance of the season. With the victory, Brown cut Kalitta’s lead from 95 to 46 points.
“The car ran great all weekend,” said Brown, who is now 18-1 in head-to-head meetings versus Torrence. “We were fortunate to get the win. That Capco team over there is no joke. Steve is a real tough competitor and we like racing against those guys because you know they are going to give you a great race every time. We’re going home to Englishtown this weekend and we are ready for it. We’ve got to keep pushing.”
In Funny Car, Capps scored his second win of the season, second at this event and 47th of his career by outrunning Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final. In an all-Dodge Charger battle, Capps finished in 3.923 at 325.61, just ahead of Johnson’s 3.947 at 322.11.
Capps’ Dodge was quick all weekend. He took the top qualifying position and then used a consistently quick string of 3.9-second runs during eliminations to claim round wins over Dave Richards, Courtney Force and John Force en route to the final round.
“I am proud of crew chief Rahn Tobler this weekend. He let it all hang out,” Capps said. “To be low E.T. and win the race and to win here twice is cool. How about the fans that showed up today? Who cut work and cut school to see some of the racing they saw today? You won’t see that every weekend. There were some nail-biters out there, including that final round. It was a fun day. We knocked off some big cars today and made a big jump in the points. I am proud of Tobler and the whole team.”
Capps, a self-described Funny Car junkie, said winning this event during two significant golden anniversary celebrations is one he will always cherish.
“I love coming here,” said Capps, who moved from sixth to third in the series points standings with the win. “As a kid I remember reading about this place in National Dragster magazine. It’s been a dream to win here for the second time. It’s huge. There’s so many old-school Funny Cars here on display this weekend. To be the guy that wins New England Dragway during the 50th anniversary of Funny Car is only fitting because I love ’em. I love the nostalgia series. I love driving them. I feel like I was born 25 years too late.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues June 9-12 with the NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ.
Monday’s race was the ninth of 24 scheduled for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
(Points are updated as of 6-13-2016)
NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings
1. Jason Line 1,062 2. Greg Anderson 937 3. Bo Butner 680 4. Allen Johnson 559 5. Drew Skillman 497
NHRA Funny Car Point Standings
1. Courtney Force 654 2. Jack Beckman 639 3. Ron Capps 632 4. Tim Wilkerson 608 5. Del Worsham 558
NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings
1. Doug Kalitta 785 2. Antron Brown 739 3. Steve Torrence 658 4. Brittany Force 623 5. Tony Schumacher 483
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings
1. Eddie Krawiec 353 2. Andrew Hines 233 3. Hector Arana 207 4. Jerry Savoie 204 5. Chip Ellis 193