DENVER (July 20, 2013) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster team fell a little short of a team goal on the mountain at Bandimere Speedway but remains confident as his team continues to rebound from a mid-season slump.

“Our goal for these next couple races is to qualify in the top half of the field where we can have lane choice in the first round, and get back into racing form,” said Brown, the reigning NHRA Top Fuel world champion.

Unfortunately, heading into Sunday’s championship eliminations for the Mopar Mile-High Nationals near Denver he won’t have his choice of lanes to start the day.

Brown, who has won two NHRA Mello Yello Series titles this season, qualified No. 12 with a best time of 4.043 seconds at 306.26 mph. He will face series points leader Shawn Langdon, who will have his choice of lanes for the opening round by qualifying higher at No. 5.

The Matco team will start Sunday ranked fifth in championship points, and start the day as the reigning event champion. He also won the Top Fuel title in 2009 and was runner-up four times.

“We’re picking away at it, little by little, and it’s coming around,” Brown said. “We’ve just got to get in line with what the track has to give you. And the track on the second run today was actually pretty good. It gets cool quickly when the wind blows and the little bit of cloud cover brought the track temperature down. And we stepped it up.

“Tomorrow’s going to be hotter. The good part is the conditions when we make our first run Sunday will be a lot like they were when we ran our second run today. Once you get going, everything starts to pan out and you know what to do from there. The first round will be pretty decent. When the track gets tricky it will be in the second round, and then the semis get really tricky. We’re headed in the right direction. Now, we just need to stay on that path from the first round on tomorrow.”

No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (Torrence/Capco Racing) 3.880 sec., 319.60 mph

Antron Brown, Matco Tools
Qualifying position: No. 12
First-round opponent: Shawn Langdon
Session 1: 4.850 sec., 157.95 mph
Session 2: 4.657, 233.72
Session 3: 4.131, 288.70
Session 4: 4.043, 306.26

Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations

Sunday: High 87; 20 percent chance of rain

Saturday: 10 p.m. (ET), qualifying, delayed
Sunday: 6 p.m. (ET), championship eliminations, delayed

July 26-29, Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, Calif.