SONOMA, Calif. – Top Fuel's Antron Brown and Pro Stock's Allen Johnson are poised to sweep the NHRA's Western Swing after earning victories at Sunday's NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
"The competition was brutal today," said Brown, driver of the Matco Tools dragster. "The ladder we had was just cruel. We just kept our head down and kept digging.
"Everybody keeps asking me about it, but we won't talk about sweeping until we get to the final round of the next race."
Other winners on Sunday were Johnny Gray in Funny Car and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Brown, who has one Western Swing sweep under his belt already (2009), beat teammate Spencer Massey in Sunday's final. He'll go for the sweep next weekend in Seattle.
"Our team went through a whole bunch of little issues this weekend," Brown said. "But today the car just ran flawlessly. It's a brand-new racecar we've built in-house at Don Schumacher Racing."
Brown beat the No. 1, 3, 4 and 8 drivers in the Top Fuel standings to earn his win on Sunday. In the final, Brown made a pass of 3.814 seconds at 318.02 mph to down Massey's Fram dragster, which ran a 3.826 at 323.50 mph.
Johnson had his second consecutive "perfect" weekend in the Mopar Dodge Avenger by being low elapsed time in every qualifying round, No. 1 qualifier and winning the race. It's his fourth win on the season overall.
"We've got an awesome racecar and an awesome team making decisions," Johnson said. "It's an awesome feeling to know every round you are going to be the fastest car.
"We're learning how to win round by round by round. It's hard to imagine we've got maximum points two weeks in a row. It's mind-boggling to me, but we're getting into the mind frame to win a championship. I've got to start absorbing this because I've never thought of myself as the best out here."
In the final, Johnson beat Greg Anderson's Summit Racing Chevy Camaro. Anderson left first, but Johnson had more horsepower and finished in 6.542 seconds at 211.76 mph to Anderson's 6.573 at 210.93 mph.
Krawiec can't complete a sweep, as the bikes don't run in Seattle.
"I'd love to bring our Harley-Davidsons up there to put on a good show for the fans," Krawiec said. "I guess you could say I swept, the two-race sweep. Maybe not a full-size broom, maybe we'll use one of those dust-pan brooms."
Krawiec's Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson team has swept every NHRA race this season, as he and teammate Andrew Hines have won all eight races contested this year, and 10 in a row dating back to 2011.
Krawiec beat Hines in the final here with a pass of 6.809 seconds at 197.74 mph to Hines' lap of 6.839 seconds at 196.27 mph.
Gray's Big O Tires/SpeeDee Oil Change & Tune-Up Dodge beat Matt Hagan in a battle of DSR teammates in Funny Car, going 4.142 seconds at 305.15 mph to top the defending series champion, who went 5.461 seconds at 146.67 mph.
"We had a great race car all weekend," said Gray, who qualified No. 6. "We struggled a little bit on a couple things qualifying, but every time I'd say something to (crew chief) Rob Wendland, he'd go, 'Well, it's not a problem. I know exactly what happened. Don't worry about it; we'll be fine on Sunday.' It does bother you a little bit when that happens, but you've got to believe in your crew chief, and I've got a great crew and crew chief over there. They have me a great race car today – and I couldn't even screw it up."