KENT, Wash. – Antron Brown’s eye has remained on the prize and a good sweep still only matters if he’s cleaning his garage.
The driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster started with a pair of titles on this year’s three-event Western Swing on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series tour, but fell short Sunday of his second sweep in four years when he lost in the second round of the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways near Seattle.
What mattered most to the New Jersey native was winning titles the previous two weeks near Denver and at Sonoma, Calif.
“I’m happy with what we accomplished on the Swing. I couldn’t be more proud of our Matco guys. What it boils down to when we come out here on the West Coast is that we’re on a mission to win rounds. And we did that.”
Crew chiefs Mark Oswald and Brian Corradi along with the Matco crew posted a 9-1 record in three weeks with Brown that moved them to second in Full Throttle points and just five behind Don Schumacher Racing teammate Spencer Massey, who also lost in the second round Sunday.
“We would have loved to get the win at Seattle but we won two of the three events,” said Brown, who along with Massey has won a series-best four titles this year. “It would be nice to get our name in the NHRA history book again for getting another sweep but at the end of the day people only remember who the world champ is and that’s our main focus.
“We wish these three races would have been the first three in the Countdown and then it really would have meant something. It came down to our guys having to come out and switch some things up and learn more about our new DSR dragster before the Countdown starts.”
Two events remain before the top-10 in points are determined for the Countdown that is contested over the last six races of the 23-event Full Throttle season. Brown is locked into the Countdown field.
Brown’s day ended when his dragster smoked the tires and he lost to Shawn Langdon, who lives near Brown in Indianapolis. Langdon, who advanced to the final round, produced a 3.852-second time at 314.83 mph to Brown’s 4.267 (224.06).
“We lost to a tough competitor. He got me on the tree then we hazed (smoked) the tires a little bit,” Brown said. “We lost to a better racecar today. There are no gimmes in our class.”
Brown and the Matco team will return to DSR headquarters in Brownsburg, Ind., this week before heading to Brainerd, Minn., for the next event on Aug. 16-19.
“We’ll hit Brainerd hard and the U.S. National hard after that before we go into the Countdown swinging.
“It will be great to get back home, and I know our guys are looking forward to that. I just really miss my kids and my wife. I miss them so much. It will good to get some rest before we go to Brainerd with a full head of steam.
Event winner: Steve Torrence, CapCo Racing
No. 1 qualifier: Spencer Massey, DSR, 3.837 sec., 319.60 mph
Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Qualified: No. 5
First Round: BROWN (3.859 sec., 313.95 mph) def. Clay Millican (3.926, 294.05)
Second Round: Shawn Langdon (3.852, 314.83) def. BROWN (4.267, 224.06)
NHRA FULL THROTTLE STANDINGS
(Through Kent, Wash., 15 0f 23 events; DSR drivers in CAPS; * clinched spots in Countdown)
1. *SPENCER MASSEY, 1,236
1. *ANTRON BROWN, 1231
3. *TONY SCHUMACHER, 109
4. *Steve Torrence, 1108
5. Doug Kalitta, 902
6. Shawn Langdon, 839
7. Morgan Lucas, 829
8. Brandon Bernstein, 766
9. David Grubnic, 756
10. Bob Vandergriff, 633