Brown, Crampton, Langdon Advance to Second Round At NHRA Mile High Nationals

Jason Zindroski Photo

Antron Brown and Richie Crampton advanced to the second round in Top Fuel, while Shawn Langdon did the same in Funny Car to lead Toyota at the NHRA Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in suburban Denver, Sunday. 

Brown opened the weekend by qualifying sixth and then opened with Gregg Carrillo in the first round. The three-time world champ took the lead at the starting line and never trailed on the way to the victory. It marked the eighth consecutive event that Brown has earned at least one round win.

In round two against Jordan Vandergriff, Brown again registered the better reaction time, but Vandergriff made up the difference quickly and went on to win by .053 seconds. 

“We made some big strides this weekend in our Matco Tools Toyota,” said Brown, who sits just 13 points out of second-place. “Our crew chiefs made some big moves. They have wanted to switch some stuff around in some different combinations. We did it here and it worked out for the better. We would have liked to go further, but you have to look at all the pluses – we’re leaving here without tearing up any parts, we made big gains and have our car where it didn’t drop holes anymore and we’re running good mph through the finish line. We’re really looking to going to Sonoma next weekend. I think Sonoma is going to be a breakout race. I can’t wait to get out to the track.”

Crampton ran one of the top passes in round one with a 3.85-second run in defeating Austin Prock to set up a match-up with Steve Torrence in round two. Torrence had a starting line advantage, but had a hole out early with Crampton taking over the lead by the 330’ mark. Unfortunately, Crampton started to haze the tires mid-track and finally clicked it off, giving the eventual event winner Torrence the victory.

Rounding out the Toyota Top Fuel contingent, Doug Kalitta had a starting line advantage over Clay Millican, , but Millican would overtake him by 330 feet and drove to the victory, despite Kalitta running his quickest pass of the weekend. 

Fresh off advancing to the Funny Car final round at Epping, Langdon turned in another solid performance in advancing to the second round today. Facing Tim Wilkerson in a key round one match-up, Langdon registered his quickest pass of the weekend with a 4.072-second run on the way to the victory, overtaking Wilkerson for ninth-place in the process. The win set up a second-round match-up with point leader Robert Hight. They had identical reaction times, but Hight would pull out the victory.  

J.R. Todd dropped his first-round contest with John Force in a pedal-fest. Force had an early lead before starting to lose traction with Todd moving out front and appearing to be driving away to the victory before also hazing the tires, with Force coming back to take the win. 

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Sonoma, Calif., for the second round of the three-race Western Swing at Sonoma Raceway, July 26-28.

Toyota Driver ResultsQual./Finish
Funny Car 
Shawn Langdon9/Rd. 2
J.R. Todd11/Rd. 1
Todd Simpson13/Rd. 1
Jeff Diehl15/Rd. 1
Top Fuel 
Antron Brown6/Rd. 2
Richie Crampton8/Rd. 2
Doug Kalitta10/Rd. 1

2019 Toyota Wins (4)

Top Fuel (2) – Kalitta, Pomona1, Crampton, Gainesville

Funny Car (2) – Todd, Las Vegas1; Langdon, Charlotte1

Notes:

– Antron Brown has now won at least one round in each of the last eight events.

– With just four regular season races remaining after today’s Mile High Nationals, all five Toyota drivers continue to be on pace to make the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. In Top Fuel, Antron Brown is third, less than one round out of the second spot, Doug Kalitta is fourth and Richie Crampton remains eighth. In Funny Car, J.R. Todd currently holds down the seventh spot, while Shawn Langdon moved up one position to ninth. 

Driver Quotes:

Antron Brown, Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster“We made some big strides this weekend in our Matco Tools Toyota. Our crew chiefs made some big moves. They have wanted to switch some stuff around in some different combinations. We did it here and it worked out for the better. We would have liked to go further, but you have to look at all the pluses – we’re leaving here without tearing up any parts, we made big gains and have our car where it didn’t drop holes anymore and we’re running good mph through the finish line. Now when we come here next year, we have a good starting place where we can start where we left off here and have a car that’s capable of running high 70s and maybe even go for a mid-to-low 70. We’ll be able to start off in the right position to do that, knowing where the tune-up needs to be at and the engine isn’t hurting itself. The good part is that we made big strides and I think it’s the strides we need to get ready for the Countdown. We’re really looking to going to Sonoma next weekend. I think Sonoma is going to be a breakout race. I can’t wait to get out to the track.”

Shawn Langdon, Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry:“First round was huge for us running Tim Wilkerson. We are getting down the last few races where points matter. Now that there is a lot of focus on the points you go to the starting line and you are trying not to think about that. I knew if we could get around Tim we would move up in the points. He is a great racer and I knew it would be a tough race. He cut a .027 light and I tried to the best I could. I felt confident with my .071 light on the tree and making a good run with a 4.07. Our qualifying car didn’t really show the potential it had. We had a little tire shake or it dropped a cylinder or the pan pressure shut it off early on one run. The trick is getting the fuel system right when you come up on the mountain. We kept working on it and it showed first round.  Running Robert (Hight) second round it dropped a cylinder fairly early. It was trying to run low or mid 4.0s. Probably still wouldn’t have been able to get around Robert’s 4.01. They have a strong car right now. We don’t have anything to hang our heads about. Everything for this race is a one off deal. We love coming here and this is a great facility. The Bandimere family is awesome. The fans are awesome. All in all, we did what we needed to do with the points.”

Richie Crampton, DHL Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “We’re trying not to pay too much attention to the points, but you still always have an eye it and we made some gains this weekend. We ran well in round one to beat Austin Prock. Then we had a great shot to beat Steve Torrence in the second round and we didn’t take advantage of it. That’s a race we have to win, but we can’t do anything about it now. We just need to get ready to run Sonoma next weekend.”

J.R. Todd, DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: ““It is so hard to make power up here on the mountains. We really struggled here this weekend in the DHL Toyota Camry. Now our goal is to win the next two. We have dug ourselves a little bit of a hole. The guys in front of us and the guys behind us are picking up some round wins. Now is the time for us to get some momentum going into Indy.”

Doug Kalitta, Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “We struggled a little bit up here. It’s a tricky place to run. Unfortunately, we just didn’t hit on it. Our first run in eliminations is what we were hoping would have been our first qualifying runs on Friday. That’s where we needed to be coming into today. It’s just one of those deals, you have to move on. We’re heading to one of my favorite places next in Sonoma.  The Western Swing and sweeping all three races is everybody’s goal, but unfortunately, we’re not going to get it done this year.” 

Toyota DriversFunny Car Points Behind Leader (1159)2019Wins2019W-L Career RacesCareerWinsCareer W-L
7. J.R. Todd857(-302)116-1321418227-195
9. Shawn Langdon727 (-432)113-1324615276-228
Top Fuel (1407)     
3. Antron Brown839 (-568)017-1442066720-351
4. Doug Kalitta831 (-576)117-1350345669-451
8. Richie Crampton666 (-741)110-13117998-109

Toyota Drivers NHRA Denver Eliminations Round-by-Round

Funny CarRd. 1 Win-Loss Rd. Win-Loss
LangdonW – Wilkerson,4.072-4.334 L – Hight, 4.018-4.060
ToddL – Force,4.275-4.334**
SimpsonL – Capps,4.078-4.356**
DiehlL – Johnson4.156-8.776**
Top Fuel  
BrownW – Carrillo,3.867-3.920 L – Vandergriff,  3.837-3.910
CramptonW – Prock3.850-4.856 L – Torrence, 3.970-4.373
KalittaL – Millican,3.781-3.909**

Toyota Racing PR

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