BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Losing in the first round of eliminations on Sunday and later the points lead in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship were the last ways Antron Brown wanted to leave North Carolina before heading to Texas.
But the always optimistic driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing arrived in the Longhorn state on Tuesday carrying the optimism and smile he’s known for as he represented Matco Tools at a technical school before visiting with media in Waco.
He only had one day at home in Pittsboro, Ind., before soldiering on from a disappointing weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s zMax Dragway in North Carolina.
“It’s good to get right back on the horse after it bucks you off. That makes sense to say going to Texas,” said Brown, who was the Top Fuel Dragster points leader when he arrived at Charlotte before leaving No. 4 behind DSR teammates Spencer Massey and Tony Schumacher, who took over the lead.
“At Charlotte, a part broke that shouldn’t have broke,” Brown explained.
“We were going down the racetrack fine. We just broke an input shaft. We just don’t know why. It’s the second one we broke this year. It didn’t have many runs on it at all. Practically brand new.
“You can go from a hero to zero pretty quickly in NHRA racing. It just wasn’t our weekend no matter how you look at it. We fought hard at everything we tried to do, but the outcome was just the opposite.”
It was the third time in 18 events the team lost in the opening round.
Brown and his Matco Tools team with crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald begin racing at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas where Brown earned his first career win in1999 on a Pro Stock Motorcycle.
“We are going head there with a full head of steam and keep on pressing. There is still five races left, plenty of racing left. It just hurts because it was the first race of the Countdown.”
The following are Brown’s statistics and event notes:
Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Career at Texas Motorplex: Wins 1 (1999-Pro Stock Motorcycle); Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
2011 at Texas Motorplex: Qualified No. 11; lost in semifinals to Spencer Massey
2012 Pts Races Wins Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
3rd 18 4 5 2 0 38-14
CAREER Races Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
257 35* 35 31 2 432-220 (*19 T/F)
AAA Texas Fall Nationals Schedule:
Friday: Qualifying, 3 p.m., 6 p.m.
Saturday: Qualifying, 1, 3:15 p.m.
Sunday: Championship eliminations, 11 a.m.
ON ESPN2 (times are ET)
SUNDAY: Qualifying, 1 p.m.
SUNDAY: Eliminations, 8:30 p.m.
FRIDAY: High 91 degrees; 0 percent chance of rain
SATURDAY: High 89 degrees; 0 percent chance of rain
SUNDAY: High 80 degrees; 0 percent chance of rain
NHRA FULL THROTTLE STANDINGS
Countdown to the Championship
(Through Sept. 16, 2012; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. TONY SCHUMACHER, 2,170
2. SPENCER MASSEY, 2,160
3. Shawn Langdon, 2,151
4. ANTRON BROWN, 2,142
5. Doug Kalitta, 2,105
6. Morgan Lucas, 2,099
7. Brandon Bernstein, 2,095
8. Steve Torrence, 2,093
9. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 2,053
10. David Grubnic, 2,043