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Brown’s best run since April shows Matco Tools team back on championship pace despite semifinals loss at Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. (July 28, 2013) – Sunday didn’t end like it did a year ago at Sonoma Raceway for Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster team, but the way things have gone for the team recently they will head to the next race feeling pretty good.

Brown, who won the Sonoma Nationals title a year ago, advanced to the semifinals when his Don Schumacher Racing dragster lost traction and lost to NHRA Mello Yello Series points leader Shawn Langdon, who went on to win the event title for Al-Anabi Racing.

What will have the Matco team eager to arrive next week for the Northwest Nationals at Kent, Wash., was crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald tuned the car to a 3.787-second run which was the team’s best over the past 50 runs and since Brown won the pole in April at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“Everybody was happy to go out there in the first round and put up our best pass of the weekend,” Brown said. “We were building toward that and there is nothing better than when you make changes to the car and it responds by working exactly the way you hoped it would. That really builds confidence in everyone involved from our crew chiefs to the crew guys and the driver. That’s the biggest benefit.

“It was a good weekend for this entire team,” Brown said. “We’ll build from it and keep taking it one step at a time. We came out and qualified in the top half of the field (seventh) and we were going rounds. At the end of the day, going rounds is what we wanted to accomplish this weekend.

“The car has definitely turned the corner. People are pushing and working hard.”

The following are Brown’s results and notes from Sonoma Raceway:

TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
Event winner: Shawn Langdon (Al-Anabi Racing)

Antron Brown, Matco Tools
Qualified: No. 7
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: BROWN (3.787 sec., 322.58 mph) def. Clay Millican (3.795, 323.12)
Second round: BROWN (3.835, 314.31) def. Tommy Johnson Jr. (6.996, 8531)
Semifinals: Shawn Langdon (3.804, 324.98) def. BROWN (5.346, 114.57)
FRIDAY QUALIFYING
Session 1: 3.873 sec., 315.27 mph
Session 2: 3.803, 320.66
SATURDAY QUALIFYING
Session 3: 5.972, 105.54
Session 4: 3.853, 319.67

NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Unofficial through Sonoma; DSR drivers in CAPS)
TOP FUEL
1. Shawn Langdon, 1210*
2. SPENCER MASSEY, 1108*
3. TONY SCHUMACHER, 1106*
4. Doug Kalitta, 924
5. ANTRON BROWN, 904
6. Khalid alBalooshi, 865
7. Clay Millican, 769
8. Morgan Lucas 768
9. Bob Vandergriff, 726
10. Steve Torrence, 688
*Clinched berth in NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship

ON ESPN2
Sunday: 8-11 p.m. (ET), championship eliminations, delayed

NEXT EVENT
Aug. 2-4, Northwest Nationals, Kent, Wash.

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