Banner season for most, 2017 Mello Yello season serves up a dish of motivation for hungry Brown and Matco Tools, U.S. Army team
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2017) – The last time Antron Brown competed in a NHRA Mello Yello Series race without the TF1 adorning the sides of his rear wing spill plates was two years ago at the season-ending Auto Club Finals at the famous Southern California drag strip.
In what most drivers would consider an outstanding season, 2017 has Brown and his Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald-led team starving for the championship glory they experienced the past two seasons. Brown and his Matco Tools/Toyota team finished the 24-race NHRA season Sunday afternoon with a fourth-place ranking in the final NHRA Mello Yello standings.
Brown qualified his Matco-backed rail in the No. 4 position and raced to a semifinal finish on Sunday afternoon under gray Southern California skies, falling to eventual series champion Brittany Force by two-thousandths of a second after posting his quickest pass of the weekend at 3.677-seconds. Force was slightly quicker at 3.674 as the reaction times were separated by just one thousandth of a second.
Brown completed his 10th season in the NHRA’s Top Fuel division with four wins in 10 final round appearances, two No. 1 qualifiers and 53 round wins. The Matco team won 55 rounds last year en route to a second straight NHRA crown.
“It was a good season, but we’re used to great,” Brown said Sunday afternoon. “We’re very hungry. We’re going to attack this off season. My Matco boys, with Brian and Mark, are going to work hard to try and get that championship back for Matco and the U.S. Army and Toyota and everyone that supports us next season.
“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years in Top Fuel. Wow. It’s been a great ride with three championships and almost 50 wins, but we want to make history and keep winning races. It’s time to get to work.
“I’ve got a lot of things that I need to work on. But the positive thing is, it feels good to have our car back. Our car is definitely where it should be. It ran great today and we improved every round. We’re back where we need to be. I’m just looking forward to next year and to start off on a high note. I wish next year was tomorrow, but we’re going to go as hard as we can go this offseason. All I can say is, we’re going to put the work in and we aren’t going to be anything nice next year.”
2017 NHRA world champion: Brittany Force (John Force Racing)
Event winner: B. Force
No. 1 qualifier: B. Force, 3.667 sec.-track record, 330.31 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools
Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald; Assistant: Brad Mason
First round: BROWN (3.710 sec., 329.91 mph) def. Mike Salinas (3.795, 324.90)
Second round: BROWN (3.691, 328.30) def. Steve Torrence (3.695, 328.46)
Semifinals: Brittany Force (3.674, 326.63) def. BROWN (3.677, 329.34)
Qualified: No. 4
FRIDAY:6.302 sec., 105.999 mph, (Session 1); 3.696, 326.00, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.740, 3.708, 326.87, (Session 3); 3.708, 326.87, (Session 4)
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS – FINAL
(Official standings after 24th of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
- Brittany Force-CHAMPION (5) 2690 —–
- Steve Torrence (8) 2609 -81
- Doug Kalitta (1) 2553 -137
- ANTRON BROWN (4) 2508 -182
- LEAH PRITCHETT (4) 2452 -238
- Clay Millican (1) 2419 -271
- Shawn Langdon 2406 -284
- TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 2395 -295
- Terry McMillen (1) 2310 -380
- Scott Palmer 2218 -472