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Reigning Top Fuel champion Brown hungry for East Coast success with Matco Tools team at this weekend’s NHRA Gatornationals

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (March 14, 2017) – While most of the East Coast is under a heavy blanket of snow this week, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is headed far enough south where there won’t be any worries about frozen precipitation falling from the Florida skies.

One of the most prestigious events on the NHRA tour is this weekend’s NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the season opener for East Coast fans and the site of many historic events in NHRA – including the first ever 300-mph Top Fuel run.

“Gainesville has always been a great race as far as the history of NHRA goes and one you definitely want to win,” said two-time reigning and three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown, who earned the Gatornationals trophy in 2013.

“You want to win them all, but when you can win the Gatornationals, you know you’ve done something special because all the cars come out of the woodwork and they’ll be full fields there.

“Everybody’s out there trying to win the Gatornationals and that is a monumental race in drag racing. When you win the Gatornationals, it’s like winning the U.S. Nationals. It’s our first race on the East Coast and I’m an East Coast boy, so I’m looking forward to getting back there.”

The Mello Yello series completed two events before taking a two-week break when the Don Schumacher Racing teams returned to Brownsburg, Ind., from the West Coast for the first time since preseason testing in late January.

The Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald have quarterfinal and semifinal finishes thus far in 2017.

“Our guys were out on the road for a long time and Phoenix was the first time they’d been back to the shop with our racecars so there was a lot of work to do in these couple weeks off the road,” Brown said. “The Matco boys went over everything, got all of our parts serviced and we’re ready to come out swinging this weekend in Gainesville.

“We’re ready. We’re hungry. You get in the groove with testing and the first couple of races and then you have two weekends off. We can’t wait to get back to the track and get focused on bringing home our first win of the season.”

ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster – 2016 world champion/3-time champ
Last event (Feb. 24-26 at Phoenix): Qualified No. 2, lost in second round to Brittany Force
2016 at Gainesville: Qualified No. 3, lost in first round to Terry McMillen
Career at Gainesville: Wins 1 (2013); Runner-ups 3 (2014, 2010, 2006); Poles 2 (2010, 2001)

Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 4th 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3-2
2016 1st 25 7 4 6 6 2 3 0 55-17
CAREER 360 61 (45 TF/16 PSB) 47 75 94 80 47 (36/11) 3 626-296
Best Time, Speed: 3.679 sec., (2016, Brainerd; and first below 3.7, 2015, Brainerd); 331.12 mph (2015, Brainerd)
Last event (Feb. 24-26 at Phoenix): Qualified No. 2, lost in second round to Brittany Force
2016 at Gainesville: Qualified No. 3, lost in first round to Terry McMillen
Career at Gainesville: Wins 1 (2013); Runner-ups 3 (2014, 2010, 2006); Poles 2 (2010, 2001)

2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Official after Phoenix; 2 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
TOP FUEL
1. LEAH PRITCHETT (2) 245 —–
2. TONY SCHUMACHER 153 -92
3. Brittany Force 151 -94
4. ANTRON BROWN 143 -102
5. Doug Kalitta 140 -105
6. Steve Torrence 110 -135
7. Shawn Reed 99 -146
8. Troy Coughlin Jr. 84 -161
Scott Palmer 84 -161
10. Terry McMillen 80 -165
Clay Millican 80 -165

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