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Oct 20, 2012 - 03:56 PM
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2012 NHRA: Brown Extends T/F Lead, Beckman New Funny Car Leader
Posted by: newsla on Oct 20, 2012 - 03:49 PM
2012 NHRA: Brown Extends T/F Lead, Beckman New Funny Car Leader With Two NHRA Full Throttle Events Remaining In 2012

In April at Las Vegas, after Don Schumacher Racing’s Spencer Massey and the FRAM/Prestone team won the Top Fuel title at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event by beating teammate Matco Tools’ Antron Brown it was a hint of what was to come the rest of the season.


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Returning to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Oct. 25-28 Big O Tires NHRA Nationals, Brown and Massey are ranked 1-2, respectively, in the championship battle with two Full Throttle events left including the one in Las Vegas. Their teammate, Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army, ranks third.

DSR Top Fuel teams have been in the top-three nearly all year. They have combined to win 12 of the 21 Top Fuel titles this year: Brown six, Massey four and Schumacher two.

But in April, celebrations had not taken place at the first four NHRA events in the DSR Funny Car pits.

None of the four DSR Funny Cars had advanced past semifinals rounds, and the most disappointing was when Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team did not qualify for the Las Vegas event.

During that span, drivers for John Force Racing won the first four titles including three by Robert Hight, and some assumed the 2012 Funny Car world champion had been determined.

Well, that’s why the championship trophy isn’t awarded until the battle is over.

Heading to Las Vegas, DSR has three of the top-four teams in the standings with Jack Beckman in the Battery eXtender Powered by Schumacher Electric/Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T ahead of teammate Capps for the lead by 23 points. Johnny Gray’s Big O Tires/Service Central Dodge is fourth.

Since DSR’s April visit to Las Vegas, DSR Funny Cars have won nine of the past 16 NHRA titles: Capps four, Beckman three and Gray two.

A major reorganization by team owner Don Schumacher at Las Vegas resulted when Capps’ veteran crew chief resigned after not qualifying for the show. Schumacher moved crew chief Rahn Tobler from Beckman to Capps. Tobler took his crew and racecars with him.

Schumacher hired veteran Top Fuel crew chief Todd Smith, who had never led a Funny Car team, and moved Capps’ former crew and racecars to Beckman.

What resulted was one of the most miraculous turnarounds in motorsports by both teams.

Tobler helped win the title at Atlanta in their third race working together. Smith and Beckman won the Topeka, Kan., title at the next NHRA event.

With two events remaining, no engraving has started on the Funny Car championship trophy that has come down to three drivers: Beckman, Capps and John Force Racing’s Mike Neff, who trails Beckman by 54 points.

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