BROWNSBURG, Ind. – As a sprinter, Antron Brown qualified for the 1997 U.S. Olympic Trials.
As a former track star, he remembers nothing was worse than having a pebble in a running shoe before a race.
Brown and crew chiefs Mark Oswald and Brian Corradi intend to be certain there are no more “pebbles” in the 8,000-horsepower Aaron’s Dream Machine/Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster when they arrive in Tennessee for this weekend’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
For the past three events, Brown has been eliminated in the first round twice and second round once. When he was upset in the opening round May 6 at Atlanta Dragway, it ended a streak of winning first-round match-ups for 33 consecutive events dating to the U.S. Nationals in 2010.
“It’s just been little things that have bit us the last few weeks, but we’ll have our Aaron’s/Matco dragster right and tight for Bristol,” said Brown, ranked third in points with one title this season.
Each of Brown’s first-round losses this year have been to Doug Kalitta.
Heading to Bristol, Brown hopes a different pattern continues.
Two years ago, Brown lost in the semifinals then a year later he went one round further when he made it to the championship round where he was beaten by Larry Dixon. The next progression is victory lane.
“Man, it doesn’t matter what you did yesterday or last year,” Brown said. “It only matters what you do today and I know Mark, Brian and the rest of our guys are ready to be busy Sunday and race longer than we have been lately.”
NOTE: Brown left his home in Pittsboro, Ind., a day early to visit the Matco Distribution Center on Wednesday in Antioch, Tenn., before heading to Bristol.
June 15-17, NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals; Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway
FULL THROTTLE NITRO SCHEDULE
Friday: Qualifying, 5:30 p.m., 8 p.m.
Saturday: Qualifying, 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m.
Sunday: Eliminations, Noon
Qualifying: 7:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, (delayed)
Eliminations: 7 p.m. (ET) Sunday (delayed)
(Updated through Englishtown; 9th of 23 events)
2012 Pts W Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
3rd 1 3 1 0 17-8
2011 Pts W Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
3rd 6 2 3 0 50-16
Career Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
32* 34 30 2 411-214
(*16 Pro Stock Motorcycle)
NHRA FULL THROTTLE TOP FUEL STANDINGS
(DSR drivers in CAPS)
Driver (Wins) Points
1. SPENCER MASSEY (3) 753
2. TONY SCHUMACHER 719
3. ANTRON BROWN (1) 671
4. Morgan Lucas (2) 657
5. Steve Torrence (2) 644
6. Doug Kalitta 508
7. Kenny Bernstein 493
8. Shawn Langdon 479
9. David Grubnic (1) 437
10. Bob Vandergriff 416