POMONA, Calif. – Antron Brown continues to be the hottest driver in Top Fuel drag racing over the last 11 national events going back to last year, but the blink of an eye Sunday prevented him from winning his first NHRA Winternationals title.
Brown drove his Matco Tools dragster to the championship round for the sixth time in the last 11 NHRA events but lost to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Spencer Massey in the final round of eliminations in the first event of the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
Massey’s 3.750-second run at 325.77 mph just edged Brown’s 3.794-second pass at 320.43 mph. In the semifinals, Brown topped Morgan Lucas with a 3.801-second pass at 325.28 mph. Lucas’ dragster went up in tire smoke shortly after leaving the line.
“Let me put it this way, if you go to the semifinal, that right there is a great race day,” Brown said.
“In 1999, Tony won only one race and he won the world championship, but he went to so many semifinals. That’s the key. Going to the semifinal is a great race day. Going to the final is just icing. It’s about being consistent.
“We went to the final this weekend but we need to be consistently going rounds with this Matco Tools dragster. That’s the key. Going rounds out here.”
Brown lauded crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald along with the rest of the Matco Tools team for delivering such good racecar to the season-opener at Auto Club Raceway.
“Brian and Mark and all of the guys have been working on a whole bunch of stuff. It’s just getting better and better. It felt like each run we had this weekend we just got stronger.
“The coolest deal is that we are very fortunate because the group of guys we have are a team. A real team,” Brown said. “They work together and there are no egos. Everyone puts their foot in and there’s no hokey-pokey. They don’t take their feet out. They are in this thing.”
Antron and the Matco Tools team will remain on the West Coast before heading to Phoenix for next weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.
Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Qualified: No. 4
Round 1: BROWN (3.801, 325.92) def. Cory McClenathan (5.902, 108.47)
Round 2: BROWN (3.771, 323.35) def. Brandon Bernstein (10.000, 75.56)
Round 3 (semifinals): BROWN (3.819, 320.28) def. Morgan Lucas (4.430, 178.57)
Round 4 (final): Spencer Massey (3.750, 325.77) def. BROWN (3.794, 320.43)
For daily DSR updates during Sunday’s eliminations follow DSR on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shoeracing and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/shoeracing.
About Matco Tools
Matco Tools manufactures, distributes and services premium quality automotive equipment, tools, and tool storage for the professional technician. The company has more than 60 years of national brand experience in the automotive equipment industry and a vast product line of more than 13,000 of the highest quality, innovative tools and accessories. The company’s franchise offering has no franchise, royalty, or advertising fees. Initial corporate and ongoing local training create and build outstanding value for the franchisee’s business. For more information on Matco Tools products or franchise opportunities, visit www.matcotools.com.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 174 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.