Antron Brown continued his dominance at Gateway Motorsports Park by winning his fourth straight NHRA Midwest Nationals Top Fuel drag race Sunday afternoon.
Brown, the Top Fuel series points leader who also won last week in Charlotte, raced to the win over Dave Connolly with a time of 3.721 seconds at a speed of 325.92 mph . Connolly, who won the Pro Stock race here at Gateway last year, ran a 3.753.
“There’s only two words to describe this, truly blessed,” said Brown. “When they brought this track back they brought it back better than ever. To go four rounds and to get a win here today it makes you speechless.
“It’s crazy how tough the competition is out there and to sneak out of here with a win feels good.”
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In the semifinals, Brown ran a 3.733 to get past the 3.761 of Billy Torrence. Connolly drove past Brittany Force to reach the finals, as Force spun her tires at the start of the race.
Funny Car points leader Del Worsham won back-to-back finals by knocking off Matt Hagan with a run of 3.964 at a speed of 320.13 mph. Hagan, the two-time and defending world champ, ran a 3.983 to finish runner-up at Gateway for the second straight year.
At the end of his final run, Worsham’s 2015 Toyota Camry burst into flames when the engine blew up as it crossed the finish line. He will want to salvage that car especially after Worsham established a new Funny Car national record with a run of 3.899 this weekend.
“Right before the finish line the car blew up and fire came back into the car,” Worsham explained. “Other than that, in my 25 years of racing I don’t know if I’ve ever driven a car that has made that many good runs.”
In the semifinals Hagan smoked his tires at the start line giving Ron Capps a free pass to the finals. But halfway down the track Capps lost control of his 2015 Charger and crossed the center line, causing him to be disqualified.
Local favorite Tim Wilkerson of Springfield got knocked out in the quarterfinals despite running a solid 3.974, which was third fastest in the final eight-car field. Wilkerson, unfortunately, was up against Worsham who laid down a 3.956. In the first round on Sunday Wilkerson got past defending event champ Courtney Force when she smoked her tires.
Elite Motorsports had a pair of red Chevy Camaros in the finals with odds-on favorite Erica Enders and teammate Drew Skillman. Enders, the Pro Stock points leader who was in her fourth straight final round this season, got off the line first but spun the tires to give Skillman his first career Pro Stock win.
“This was our fourth trip to the finals and fortunately a little luck came our way this weekend,” Skillman said. “Erica shook off the line and luck was on our side and that’s huge in drag racing with everything so close.”