Brown, Matco team arrive home at Indy with points lead, plan to do more than defend NHRA U.S. Nationals title
BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Antron Brown recalls the feeling he enjoyed a year ago after the winning the most prestigious race of the season.
The New Jersey native had just won the Top Fuel Dragster title in the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind., about 10 miles from Pittsboro where he lives with his family.
“If you want to win one race all year long, this is the race that you want to win,” he said. “Everyone comes out and brings their A-game. Everyone saves their best for this race. If you can do good at this race then you’ve definitely done something.”
For Brown, he’s already done plenty this season.
By advancing to the championship round of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event two weeks ago at Brainerd, Minn., Brown took the Top Fuel points lead from Don Schumacher Racing teammate Spencer Massey heading to the U.S. Nationals that is the last of the series’ 17 regular season races.
After Indy, the top-10 in each of four professional categories will contest for season championships over the last six events in the Countdown to the Championship in which points will be reset at 10-point increments for those drivers. The regular-season points leader will receive a 20-point bonus that gives that driver a 30-point lead when the Countdown begins Sept. 14-16 at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.
Brown and the Matco Tools team with crew chiefs Mark Oswald and Brian Corradi have four event titles this season while competing in a series best nine championship rounds through 16 events.
But the team won’t be looking backward whether to previous races this year or the big Indy win a year ago.
“It doesn’t make a difference what we did last year,” said Brown, who owns 35 NHRA titles. “Right now we’re coming in fully focused and our team has some momentum built up from two wins on the Western Swing this summer and we had a good outing at Brainerd. Right now the first thing on our agenda is qualifying.”
And added feature to the U.S. Nationals is the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout that will be contested on Saturday for the first seven event winners this season along with an eighth contender determined by the combination of a fan vote and lottery draw Wednesday afternoon during the NHRA Fanfest on Monument Circle in Downtown Indianapolis.
The Shootout champ will earn a $100,000 bonus.
“We’re really looking forward to the Traxxas Shootout. They put up a big-money all-star race and it’s going to have a little bit of drama to it with the fan vote and lottery drawing. We want to that cash.”
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools DSR dragster
2011 at Indy: Qualified No. 1; defeated Del Worsham in championship round
Career at Indy: Wins 3 (TF-2011; Pro Stock Motorcycle-2004, 2008), Runner-ups 0, Poles 2 (2009, 2011)
Pts Races Wins Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2012 1st 16 4 5 2 0 36-12
Career 255 35* 35 31 2 430-218
(*19 Top Fuel)
NHRA FULL THROTTLE TOP FUEL STANDINGS
(Through Aug. 19, Brainerd, Minn.; 16 of 23 events)
(DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. ANTRON BROWN, 1,335
2 SPENCER MASSEY, 1,277
3. TONY SCHUMACHER, 1,196
4. Steve Torrence, 1,139
5. Doug Kalitta, 971
6. Morgan Lucas, 945
7. Shawn Langdon, 874
8. David Grubnic, 809
9. Brandon Bernstein, 800
10. Bob Vandergriff, 664
NHRA TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUT – Top Fuel
Saturday, (4 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m.)
No. 1. ANTRON BROWN vs. No. 8 fan vote/lottery winner
No. 2. SPENCER MASSEY vs. No. 7 David Grubnic
No. 3. TONY SCHUMACHER vs. No. 6 Morgan Lucas
No. 4. Steve Torrence vs. No. 5 Doug Kalitta
THIS FRIDAY – DON SCHUMACHER RACING OPEN HOUSE
The seventh annual Big O Tires presents the Don Schumacher Racing Open House is Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature each of the seven DSR drivers, an indoor car and bike show, Cacklefest with the legendary “Jungle Jim” Funny car, “330-mph Art & Technology” exhibits and Silent Auction to benefit Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and Camp Riley.
The annual Open House and other DSR functions have raised more than $175,000 for Riley Hospital.
The event is free to the public.
Silent auction items range from 50-inch HD, flat panel television provided by Aaron’s to the actual front end from Matt Hagan’s Aaron’s Funny Car that was featured worldwide on the Internet and television news programs after the car exploded earlier this season at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s zMAX Dragway.
The technology aspect of the Open House will allow visitors for the first time to tour the DSR CNC Machine Shop that includes high-tech machinery used to manufacture more than 200 components used on DSR Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars.
The DSR 8,000-horsepower supercharger dynometer also will be operated at various times throughout the day.
DSR is located at 1681 E. Northfield Drive in Brownsburg about 4 miles west of Lucas Oil Raceway.
U.S. NATIONALS FULL THROTTLE NITRO SCHEDULE (all times ET)
WEDNESDAY: NHRA Fanfest, public press conference and autograph session, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Monument Circle, Downtown Indianapolis
FRIDAY (Aug. 31): Big O Tires Don Schumacher Racing Open House for Riley Hospital, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Nitro qualifying, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY (Sept. 1): Nitro qualifying, 3:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
SUNDAY (Sept. 2): Nitro qualifying, 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
MONDAY (Sept. 3): Eliminations, 11 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (ET)
Sunday: 5-7 p.m. (ET)
Monday: 12-6 p.m. (ET)