KENT, Wash. (Aug. 4, 2013) – It seems whenever Antron Brown and his Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster team have taken big step forward lately it’s followed by a little step back.
After Brown’s 3.799-second qualifying pass at 315.42 mph earned the No. 6 qualifying spot Saturday in the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways near Seattle, he opened championship eliminations Sunday with a quicker reaction to the starting system to overcome a quicker dragster and advance to the second round.
But his Don Schumacher Racing dragster lost traction in the next race and he was upset by part-time racer T.J. Zizzo, whose winning time of 3.975 was the second slowest among the eight drivers in the round. It was only quicker than Brown’s.
“We pushed a little hard on that run and didn’t back it off enough,” said Brown, who moved up one spot to fourth in the Mello Yello Series standings. “We’ve still got a little work to do to get some stuff figured out.
“We just got too aggressive out there and started applying the clutch in the middle of the track where (traction) got worse. We just didn’t back off enough right there. Obviously he (Zizzo) did and he left it wide open. We could’ve run a 4-flat (four seconds) and beat him. We were out there trying to run a 3.88 and it was just too much. That’s the hard part.
“We’re trying to get back in the zone that we’re used to being in. We’ve got to stay patient because it’s going to be a little bit of work. We just have to keep after it. That’s the whole name of the game.”
“It’s a constant work in progress. We’re starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel, so we’ve just got to keep on pushing, keep on pushing.”
The upset of Brown wasn’t the first for Zizzo Sunday or the biggest. In the opening round Zizzo beat DSR’s Tony Schumacher, who qualified third.
Spencer Massey and his DSR team also were sidelined in the first round.
Any chance DSR drivers had of cutting into Shawn Langdon’s points lead were dashed when Langdon, the No. 1 qualifier, advanced to the semifinals before losing.
Rain on Friday afternoon cancelled the first two qualifying sessions marking the fifth Mello Yello Series event this year to lose out to inclement weather costing teams nine runs down the track.
The following are Brown’s results, statistics and notes from Pacific Raceways:
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
Event winner: Morgan Lucas (Morgan Lucas Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Shawn Langdon (Al-Anabi Racing) 3.765 sec.*, 320.58 mph (*track record)
Antron Brown, Matco Tools
Qualified: No. 6
First round: BROWN (3.866 sec., 310.63 mph) def. Bob Vandergriff (3.826, 313.58)
Second round: T.J. Zizzo (3.842 sec., 313.22 mph) def. BROWN (4.626, 179.56)
Both sessions rained out
Session 1: 3.880 sec., 308.85 mph
Session 2: 3.799, 315.42
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Unofficial, after 16 of 24 events through Seattle; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Shawn Langdon, 1,292*
2. TONY SCHUMACHER, 1,145*
3. SPENCER MASSEY, 1,140*
4. ANTRON BROWN, 958
5. Doug Kalitta, 956
6. Khalid alBalooshi, 920
7. Morgan Lucas, 884
8. Clay Millican, 822
9. Bob Vandergriff, 758
10. Steve Torrence, 741
*Clinched berth in NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship
About Matco Tools
Matco Tools manufactures, distributes and services premium quality automotive equipment, tools and tool storage for the professional technician. The company has more than 60 years of national brand experience in the automotive equipment industry and a vast product line of more than 13,000 of the highest quality, innovative tools and accessories. The company’s franchise offering has been ranked as the #1 tools distribution franchise for five of the past seven years by Entrepreneur Magazine. Initial corporate and ongoing local training create and build outstanding value for the franchisee’s business. For more information on Matco Tools products or franchise opportunities, visit www.matcotools.com.