NORWALK, Ohio (July 7, 2013) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team had their best qualifying effort over the past five NHRA Mello Yello Series events, but it wasn’t enough to enable them to get their first win over Al-Anabi Racing’s Khalid alBalooshi in the opening round of Sunday’s Summit Racing Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio.
Brown, who qualified No. 7 for the 16-car field, lost traction early and although alBalooshi moments later smoked his tires, alBalooshi had enough momentum to post the smoky win. AlBalooshi, who is now 4-0 against Brown, won with a time of 4.150 seconds at 194.24 mph to Brown’s 4.610 (194.24).
“His car went a little bit farther than mine,” said Brown, who has won two event titles this season. “I saw him out there and I got back in it and then he let up and we were catching him. We just ran out of racetrack.
“When you see stuff like that it’s really frustrating. The competition is tough out here.
“This is a very humbling business,” said Brown, the reigning world champion. “We work hard and wanted that deal … we saw an opportunity and I’m just bummed that we didn’t get it. We are still just going to keep on pressing, hard at work.”
Brown’s DSR teammate Tony Schumacher lost the points lead when he also lost in the opening round. Schumacher fell to second in points to Shawn Langdon of Al-Anabi Racing while Brown dropped one spot to fifth.
“We can see that we’re in for one of those big fights this year where nothing is going to go easy. We’ve got a week off before the Western Swing and our main focus is to turn our Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster back to where we know how.”
The Western Swing opens July 19-21 with the Mopar Mile-High Nationals near Denver and continues with successive events near San Francisco and Seattle. Brown won two of the three events last year and swept the Swing in 2009.
“Hopefully, we go out there and get back in a groove,” he said. “We just have to keep on fighting. It’s going to be one of those fighting years and we know that and we just have to stay after it.”
The following are Brown’s results from the Summit Nationals and other notes:
Event Winner: Khalid alBalooshi (Al-Anabi Racing)
Antron Brown, Matco Tools
Qualified: No. 7
First round: Khalid alBalooshi (4.150, 257.53) def. BROWN (4.610, 194.24)
Session 1: 3.866 sec., 315.42 mph
Session 2: 3.812, 315.78
Session 3: 3.950, 271.30
Session 4: 5.053, 144.63
July 19-21, Mopar Mile-High Nationals, Bandimere Speedway, Denver
Sunday: 7-10 p.m. ET (delayed), eliminations
NHRA MELLO YELLO SERIES STANDINGS
(Unofficial after 13 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Shawn Langdon, 1,013
2. TONY SCHUMACHER, 1,012
3. SPENCER MASSEY, 922
4. Doug Kalitta, 807
5. ANTRON BROWN, 799
6. Khalid alBalooshi, 771
7. Clay Millican, 700
8. Morgan Lucas, 639
9. Bob Vandergriff, 615
10. Steve Torrence, 605
2013 WINNERS: Langdon, SCHUMACHER, BROWN, SCHUMACHER, MASSEY, Vandergriff, BROWN, Langdon, Langdon, Steve Torrence, MASSEY, SCHUMACHER, alBalooshi.