News: Brown captures win in NHRA Countdown opener; Schumacher reaches semis
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Turner
FORT KNOX, Ky. -- U.S. Army driver Antron Brown continued his torrid pace in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series by capturing Sunday's Top Fuel title at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Charlotte, the opening race in the Countdown to 1 championship playoff. The victory was Brown's third straight and sixth of the season.
Brown's U.S. Army Top Fuel teammate, Tony Schumacher, claimed the No. 1 qualifying position and went on to win the first two rounds of competition before dropping a close side-by-side semifinal race to Brown.
With five races remaining in the Countdown, Brown has the points lead while Schumacher is ranked fifth.
The next NHRA Countdown race is this weekend's Texas Fall Nationals, contested at the Texas Motorplex outside of Dallas.
Over on the NASCAR side, Ryan Newman's U.S. Army Medicine Chevrolet ran out of fuel on the final lap, but was able to coast to the finish line with a ninth-place finish in Monday's rain-delayed Geico 400 Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
The NASCAR event was the first of the 10 Chase races, a 12-driver championship style playoff that will determine the 2011 Sprint Cup season champion.
After Round 1 of the Chase, Newman is in seventh place, 14 points out of first.
The next race for Newman and his No. 39 U.S. Army team will be Sunday (Sept. 25) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Newman dominated the New Hampshire race in July, winning the event from the pole.