KENT, Wash. (July 30, 2013) – Every team intent on winning a season championship knows the key is peaking at the right time.
The Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster team and driver Antron Brown have the experience of winning last year’s NHRA world championship to fall back on, and despite not winning a Mello Yello Series title since May 12 near Atlanta, Brown likes the timetable crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald are following.
“We want to peak by the time we get to the U.S. Nationals,” Brown said of the year’s most prestigious event held over Labor Day Weekend near Indianapolis.
“That’s what our Matco boys are working hard at, and we expect to keep making progress this weekend in the Northwest Nationals.”
Brown, who has won two titles this season, maintains his hold on fifth place in the standings with three events remaining before only the top-10 will contend for the championship over the last six events in NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship playoff.
While the team tried some new components and tune-ups, Brown lost in the first round five of six races after earning the Atlanta title.
But it was clear progress had been made in the first round Sunday at Sonoma Raceway when his winning run in 3.787 seconds at 322.58 mph was the Matco team its quickest in the previous 50 runs and best since April when it won the pole at Las Vegas. Brown advanced to the semifinals where he lost to eventual event winner Shawn Langdon at Sonoma.
A year ago, the Matco team was ranked second in points but took over the lead at the following event at Brainerd, Minn.
Brown arrived at Pacific Raceways near Seattle last year with the pressure of sweeping the three-race Western Swing for the second time in three years after he won events at Denver and near San Francisco the previous two weeks. But he lost in the second round after qualifying fifth.
“No one is going have to worry about that this year,” he said of separate winners at each of this year’s Swing events.
“It was a lot of fun when we got out the broom for the sweep in 2009, but right now our Matco team is focused on being ready for the Countdown.”
TECH SCHOOL VISIT
Brown will visit and speak to students from 9 a.m. to noon on
Thursday at Renton Technical College at 300 N. Fourth Street in Renton.
Last event (July 28, Sonoma): Qualified No. 7; lost in semifinals to eventual event winner Shawn Langdon.
A year ago at Seattle: Qualified No. 5; lost in semifinals to Shawn Langdon.
Career at Seattle: Wins 1 (2009); Runner-ups 1 (2010); Poles 1 (2011)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(After 15 of 24 events through Sonoma; DSR drivers in CAPS)
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
NORTHWEST NATIONALS EVENT SCHEDULE (times are PT)
Friday: 3:15 p.m., 6 p.m., nitro qualifying
Saturday: 1 p.m., 3 p.m., nitro qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
Saturday: 10:30 p.m. (ET), delayed
Sunday: 7 p.m. (ET), delayed