After two rounds of the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, it looked like another Don Schumacher Racing type of season, which is what it ended up as. But in between, the Top Fuel category turned out some of the best storylines and best action of the season, right down to the wire of the historic title chase.
DSR’s Spencer Massey and Antron Brown won the season-opening Winternationals at Pomona and the Arizona Nationals in Phoenix, respectively. Massey won three of the season’s first five events, also earning wins at the first Las Vegas race and the Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte. He added a fourth Wally at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
Brown didn’t win another event until the Route 66 Nationals near Chicago in July, but then went on to win two of the three legs of the Western Swing, taking home Wallys from Denver and Sonoma. He ended his six-win championship season with two wins during the Countdown to the Championship, at Dallas and St, Louis.
Tony Schumacher broke out of his winless streak to take two wins during the season – the first at Bristol, the second a historic win at Indy in the U.S. Nationals, his ninth at the famed drag race. The win moved him from a tie with “Big Daddy” Don Garlits for the most wins in Top Fuel and into a tie with Bob Glidden (Pro Stock) for the most wins ever at the U.S. Nationals.
Morgan Lucas had a strong early season, winning at Gainesville and Houston. He added his third win of the season at the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd, accepting the trophy and a hug from his mom in the winner’s circle. His first-year teammate Brandon Bernstein finally broke into the win column for the first time since 2009 with his victory at the season finale in Pomona, defeating Tony Schumacher to give Brown his first title. Along the way, both drivers missed the race at Bristol.
One of the breakout performances of the season was Steve Torrence and his family-owned team, which won three races in a nine-race mid-season span: Atlanta, Englishtown and Seattle. Two other breakout performances came from the new Al-Anabi Racing duo of Shawn Langdon and Khalid alBalooshi, both of whom won the first Wallys of their careers during the Countdown – Langdon at Charlotte and alBalooshi at Reading.
Aussie Dave Grubnic won his first event since 2006 at Topeka, and Bob Vandergriff Jr. earned his second career victory at Las Vegas during the Countdown.
Both national records were broken this season: Massey reset the speed record in April at Charlotte with a speed of 332.18 mph, while Brown reset the e.t. record at Reading in October (3.701 seconds).
The top 10 drivers following the Countdown to the Championship were:
- Antron Brown (six wins)
- Tony Schumacher (two wins)
- Spencer Massey (four wins)
- Shawn Langdon (one win)
- Brandon Bernstein (one win)
- Doug Kalitta
- Morgan Lucas (three wins)
- Bob Vandergriff Jr. (one win)
- Steve Torrence (three wins)
- Dave Grubnic (one win)
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