New Matco Tools ride for Brown leads to Mile-High win and first step toward three-event sweep of Western Swing
MORRISON, Colo. – Antron Brown could not have been happier with the quality of his transportation over the weekend during the Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in the Rocky Mountains near Denver.
He rode to and from Bandimere on different Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Then once he got to the track, he switched to a Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster that was fresher than the new Harleys.
The fabrication shop at Don Schumacher Racing built the chassis and assistant crew chief Brad Mason supervised the Matco crew as it was completed just in time for the Mile-High race.
All involved did flawless work and Brown drove it to the team’s third NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event title of the season that moved the team to second in championship points behind DSR teammate Spencer Massey, who was No. 1 qualifier but lost in the semifinals with another new DSR dragster.
“Our team and all of the fab guys at the shop and the CNC guys in our machine shop spend countless hours putting things together. We’ve been so used to bringing new cars out to the race, not even testing them, and putting them out and running A to B. I have all of the confidence in the car coming up here, I just wanted to be comfortable.
“The car just kept getting better and better as the day went on. I was really pleased and I couldn’t ask for a better car or a better team.
“That dragster drove as smooth as my Toyota Sequoia.”
DSR swept the nitro categories for the second time in 13 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing events when Brown was joined in the winner’s circle by Jack Beckman, who won the Funny Car title.
It is Brown’s third title this year in the Matco Tools dragster tuned by crew chiefs Mark Oswald and Brian Corradi. Brown’s 3.957-second run at 308.21 mph just edged out Brandon Bernstein’s 3.959 at 307.58 in the final round.
“You always have to start strong and we started pretty strong, qualifying number two and winning. We just want to keep on rolling,” said Brown, who posted his 200th Top Fuel round win when he won in the semifinals.
The Bandimere event was the first of three consecutive races called the Western Swing. Next week the series travels to Sonoma, Calif., followed by a jaunt to Kent, Wash.
“This race here is tough. Everything we do out here is tough. We come up here on the mountain and you’ve got to tune it up to get it down the track and keep it living. We lived all four rounds today, so this is the start to a good Western Swing.”
Brown is the last pro driver to “sweep” the Swing by winning all three titles in 2009.
“I remember that feeling. I remember a lot of excitement and a lot of exhaustion from everybody on the team. When you sit back and reflect on it, you have to have some things go your way and you have to perform. We’re off to a great start to it right now.
“Winning at Denver kind of sets the pace and gives our boys motivation for when we go to Sonoma. They can go out there and dig deep because this competition in this class as you saw in the final round, races don’t get much closer than that.”
Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Qualified: No. 2
1st round: BROWN (3.995 sec., 303.23 mph) def. Rob Passey (4.682, 235.93)
2nd round: BROWN (4.070, 295.01) def. Bob Vandergriff (4.089, 273.66)
Semifinals: BROWN (3.991, 306.33) def. Steve Torrence (4.303, 250.78)
Final: BROWN (3.957, 308.21) def. Brandon Bernstein (3.959, 307.58)
Session 1: 4.073 sec., 304.19 mph
Session 2: 3.923, 305.98
Session 3: 4.644, 179.44
Session 4: 4.449, 190.22
The DSR convoy of nearly 20 trucks heads west this week for the Sonoma NHRA Nationals in Northern California. Then the following weekend heads north to Seattle for the third stop on the grueling Western Swing.