BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 18, 2013) – It isn’t the way Antron Brown wanted to leave Brainerd International Raceway Sunday, but at least the driver of Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster knows he will get a chance to defend the world championship he won with his team last season.
Brown, who won two of this year’s first seven events, lost in the first round of championship eliminations Sunday in the Lucas Oil Nationals but by qualifying sixth he locked into one of 10 driver spots for the six-event NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff that begins Sept. 13 near Charlotte.
He was upset by the lower seeded Doug Kalitta to start the day. That marked the ninth time through 17 NHRA Mello Yello Series events this year that he did not advance past the opening round.
“We lost, but we’ve still got a smile on our face because we’ve got our racecar back,” Brown said. “We were just a little too aggressive (against Kalitta). I went up there and the car marched right down the track, we were just a little too aggressive for the track condition.
“We’re learning with this new combination. We’re just happy that the car did the same thing off the starting line three times in a row. It was great to the 60 foot. So we’re definitely making progress…
“We would have liked to get that round win and continue collecting data, but now our deal is to go to Indy testing and gain more information.”
Brown, who dropped two positions in the Mello Yello Series standings to sixth, will join other DSR teams for testing sessions this week at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis to prepare for the Aug. 28-Sept. 2 U.S. Nationals at the track.
“We learned in the race Sunday the edge where the car was running really well. We were trying to run like a 3.78 or 3.79 and the car was running better than that. Our 60-foot times are back to where we want them to be so we’re on to something.
“The car is doing what we want it to do. That’s the good part about it. Now, we’re going to go test and get some more laps under our belt.”
The following are Brown’s results and notes from Brainerd International Raceway:
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
Event winner: Spencer Massey (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Clay Millican (Bob Vandergriff Racing), 3.773 sec.,*ties track record; 326.63 mph
Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Qualified: No. 6
First round: Doug Kalitta (3.821 sec., 318.77 mph) def. BROWN (4.290, 200.14)
Session 1: 3.902 sec., 313.37 mph
Session 2: 3.821, 319.45
Session 3: 3.847, 317.94
Session 4: 3.814, 318.62
Sunday: Eliminations, 9 p.m. (ET), delayed
NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
(Unofficial after 17 of 24 events; through Brainerd; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Shawn Langdon, 1,370
2. SPENCER MASSEY, 1,259
3. TONY SCHUMACHER, 1,199
4. Doug Kalitta, 1009
5. Khalid alBalooshi, 1002
6. ANTRON BROWN, 994
7. Clay Millican, 928
8. Morgan Lucas, 917
9. Steve Torrence, 794
10. Bob Vandergriff, 789
TRAXXAS NITRO SCHOOTOUT QUALIFIERS
The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts, which are races within U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway near over Labor Day Weekend, showcases Top Fuel on Aug. 31 (Saturday) and Funny Car on Sept. 1 (Sunday). Each Nitro Shootout champ will receive $100,000 for their teams.
The following drivers have qualified by winning Mello Yello Series titles this season:
1. Shawn Langdon (Pomona 1 winner)
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (PHOENIX)
3. ANTRON BROWN (GAINESVILLE)
4. SPENCER MASSEY (CHARLOTTE 1)
5. Bob Vandergriff Jr. (Houston)
6. Steve Torrence (Bristol)
7. Khalid alBalooshi (Norwalk)
8. Fan vote
The top-10 drivers in points after the Aug. 28-Sept. 2 U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis qualify for the six-event NHRA Countdown to the Championship that begins Sept. 13 near Charlotte to determine the 2013 season champs in NHRA pro categories.
The following are drivers who are qualified through the past weekend’s Mello Yello event at Brainerd, Minn.:
1. Shawn Langdon
2. SPENCER MASSEY
3. TONY SCHUMACHER
4. ANTRON BROWN
5. Doug Kalitta
6. Khalid alBalooshi
7. Morgan Lucas
8. Clay Millican
TESTING, TESTING, TESTING
DSR teams and many others from the Mello Yello Series will test Wednesday and Thursday at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis in preparation for the 59th annual U.S. Nationals Aug. 28-Sept. 2 at the track.
DSR INDY OPEN HOUSE ON AUG. 30
Fans and friends of Don Schumacher Racing are invited to join the biggest team in professional racing on Aug. 30 at the 8th annual Don Schumacher Racing Open House to benefit Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and Camp Riley.
The festive, free event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on that Friday will feature a giant car show, entertainment and appearances by each of DSR’s seven professional drivers along with owner Don Schumacher at DSR headquarters at 1681 E. Northfield Drive in Brownsburg, Ind.
The event kicks off the NHRA U.S. Nationals Labor Day Weekend, which opens with professional qualifying later that day at Lucas Oil Raceway located about 3 miles from DSR headquarters.
The Open House, which attracted a record-crowd of more than 4,000 fans last year and boosted DSR’s contributions to Riley past the $200,000 mark, invites all to celebrate DSR’s 200th NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series title.
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.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields seven professional teams in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In Top Fuel, the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world champion Matco Tools dragster driven by Antron Brown and the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher and the Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher dragster driven by Spencer Massey; and in Funny Car, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Valvoline Max Life/MTS Mail for Wounded Warriors Dodge Charger R/T, 2011 world champion Matt Hagan in the Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Pitch Energy Dodge of Johnny Gray.
DSR has won 216 NHRA national event titles and 11 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing andFacebook.com/shoeracing.