POMONA, Calif. --
Brown, who lost in the opening round of eliminations, had to wait until the final round before he could grab the championship trophy, when Tony Schumacher lost in a photo finish to Brandon Bernstein.
Brown entered Sunday's eliminations 67 points ahead of Tony Schumacher and for a while it appeared that Schumacher would put together another magical come-from-behind victory to take the title. Schumacher's U.S. Army dragster lost the final to Bernstein's ProtectTheHarvest.com dragster by eighth-thousandths of a second.
When the win light went on in Bernstein's lane, Matco Tools dragster driver Brown was mobbed by his teammates, family and friends in a huge celebration at the starting line.
"I feel so blessed to be in this moment right now and this is a big huge moment," Brown said. "I am just glad we could bring it home for Don Schumacher Racing. To win the world championship the way the competition has been this year in Top Fuel and to run and compete how we've been doing all season long is just phenomenal. We all switched the lead back and forth a bunch of times. Is this really happening?"
Brown, who earned six victories in 11 final rounds and was top qualifier three times en route to his title, continues the great history of diversity in NHRA, joining pioneering champions Shirley Muldowney, Cruz and Tony Pedregon, Hector Arana and Angelle Sampey.
"If I can be an inspiration for any of the kids out there who have dreams, any Americans, that's all I want," said Brown, who became the 18th different driver to win a Top Fuel world championship title.
"It's awesome, we did a great job all weekend," Bernstein said. "It's been a long time since we've had a win. It's a really good team and it's a lot of fun. I don't think I've ever had a win where I had to wait so long for the TV interview. Hopefully next year we're in a better position to challenge for the championship. We'll come out next year and try to get a championship."
Jack Beckman claimed the Funny Car world championship title when he outlasted teammate Ron Capps and took the title by two points in one of the closest points margins in the history of the category.
Top qualifier Capps lost in a close semifinal round to rookie Courtney Force and dropped out of contention. Beckman was crowned champion before his semifinal matchup against eventual race winner Pedregon, which he ultimately lost.
Beckman's title gave team owner Don Schumacher both nitro championship trophies and more than a million dollars in earnings for the weekend, duplicating his effort from 2005 when his son Tony won Top Fuel and Gary Scelzi took the Funny Car crown.
Beckman, a cancer survivor who won the 2003 Super Comp championship, came on during the Countdown playoffs and moved into contention with a win at St. Louis. He took the points lead at the event in Reading, Pa. when he set a national performance record and was the No. 1 qualifier. A major historian of the sport and former drag racing school driving instructor, Beckman, who drives the Valvoline/NextGen Dodge Charger, was more than thrilled with the outcome.
Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) joined Bernstein (Top Fuel) as race winners of the final event of the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
"We've probably left five or six races on the table this year and we put it together this weekend," Pedregon said. "But we've always had a fast car. We placed third overall last year, and after winning today, we finished fourth this year and I think we've proved we belong with the top teams. We're a smaller independent team, but with the way we finished, I think we can build on this and be one of the favorites heading into next season."
"Our team is so awesome and the Mopar Dodge Avenger has just performed flawlessly," said Johnson, who on Saturday gave Dodge its first Pro Stock championship since 1994 and fifth overall. "Determination and my father (who is his engine builder) is what got us to this point. He wanted to do this all his life and my whole focus was winning this with him. A lot of hard work and determination went into winning this. We had a dominating performance in this Countdown, won a championship and ended with a win. What more can we do? That has added just a little more emotion to it."
"It was by far the best bike I had all year," Hines said. "This was an absolutely phenomenal bike I had all weekend long. It was a total joy to get down the track."
The 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series opens Feb. 14-17 with the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
POMONA, Calif. -- Sunday's final results from the 48th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The race is the final of 23 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel -- Brandon Bernstein, 3.762 seconds, 320.81 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 3.753 seconds, 325.53 mph.
Funny Car -- Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.035, 306.12 def. Courtney Force, Ford Mustang, 7.878, 75.79.
Pro Stock -- Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.528, 212.76 def. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.533, 211.66.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.766, 198.29 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.805, 197.54.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Chris Demke, 5.236, 274.00 def. Jim Whiteley, 5.248, 275.84.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- John Lombardo Jr., Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.599, 261.02 def. Tony Bartone, Ford Mustang, 5.641, 263.62.
Competition Eliminator -- Doug Lambeck, Pontiac Sunfire, 8.313, 160.90 def. Bo Butner, Chevy Cobalt, 8.285, 162.39.
Super Stock -- Abe Loewen, Pontiac Grand Am, 9.698, 139.91 def. Jimmy DeFrank, Chevy Cobalt, 10.631, 89.49.
Stock Eliminator -- Eric Waldo, Ford Mustang, 10.657, 125.24 def. Gary Waldo, Chevy Nova, foul.
Super Comp -- Cameron Ferre, Dragster, 8.943, 167.93 def. Matt Constant, Dragster, 8.927, 174.68.
Super Gas -- Ryan Herem, Chevy Corvette, 9.958, 147.17 def. Peter Bothe, Porsche, 9.868, 145.05.
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