READING, Pa. (Oct. 1, 2013) – Antron Brown will be racing for a cause this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway and fighting for a chance to defend his NHRA Top Fuel world championship.
For the second consecutive year, his Don Schumacher Racing dragster will be wrapped in pink and black to help the Matco Tools’ “Tools for the Cause” campaign benefitting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer.
And for the second straight year, Brown hopes that his trip to Maple Grove can at least be as good as the one last year and maybe a little better.
A year ago, Brown earned a 20-point bonus for leaving with the NHRA elapsed time record of 3.701 seconds. One improvement he can make is winning the NHRA Nationals title after he gets to the championship round.
He needs all the points he can muster. The Matco Tools for the Cause team will arrive at Maple Grove ranked sixth in points and 102 out of first place with three events remaining in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff.
“Our goal from here on out is to go to every race like it is the last race out here, and we are going to push really hard,” he said after winning the title Sunday at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.
“We want to qualify in the top half of the field at Reading and then we’re just going to take it one round at a time. If we can creep up to gain some points here and there we can go into the last race at Pomona (Calif.) with a shot, and that’s all we want.”
After winning two of this season’s first seven events with crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, the Matco team went into a slump. Before winning Sunday, Brown had lost in the first round at four of the eight previous events and did not qualify for another.
But the team produced one of its best weekends of the year. Brown qualified sixth with a time of 3.796 seconds and defeated three Countdown contenders – Clay Millican, DSR teammate Tony Schumacher and Khalid alBalooshi – en route to his 40th NHRA title. The Matco dragster ran in the 3.7-second range twice on Sunday including a 3.788 to beat alBalooshi in the final. Brown also surpassed 320 mph on each run in eliminations.
“We have been working our tails off, and it has been no secret that we have been struggling a lot more than what we hoped to,” Brown said after his third win this season. “We hoped we could have had it turned around a little bit sooner, but we are not going to go out without a fight.”
ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools for the Cause Top Fuel Dragster
Last event (Sept. 27-29, Madison, Ill.): Qualified No. 6; defeated Khalid alBalooshi in championship round.
A year ago at Maple Grove: Qualified No. 7; lost in championship round to Khalid alBalooshi.
Career at Maple Grove: Wins 0; runner-ups 1 (2004-Pro Stock Motorcycle); poles 2 (2011, 2004).
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2013 6th 21 3 1 4 2 10 2 1 25-17
CAREER 283 40* 37 58 81 64 34 3 468-240
*24 Top Fuel/16 Pro Stock Motorcycle
Best Time, Speed
3.701 sec. */** (10- 8-12, Reading, Pa.) 328.78 mph (10-8-12, Reading); * quickest ever, ** NHRA record
NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Official through Sept. 29 near St. Louis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Shawn Langdon 2,317 (–)
2. Doug Kalitta 2,284 (-33)
3. SPENCER MASSEY 2,282 (-35)
4. Morgan Lucas 2,272 (-45)
5. TONY SCHUMACHER 2,245 (-72)
6. ANTRON BROWN 2,215 (-102)
7. Clay Millican 2,198 (-119)
8. Khalid alBalooshi 2,192 (-125)
9. Bob Vandergriff 2,134 (-183)
10. Steve Torrence 2,115 (-202)
2013 REGULAR SEASON WINNERS: Langdon, SCHUMACHER, BROWN, SCHUMACHER, MASSEY, Vandergriff, BROWN, Langdon, Langdon, Steve Torrence, MASSEY, SCHUMACHER, alBalooshi, MASSEY, Langdon, Lucas, MASSEY, Langdon.
2013 COUNTDOWN WINNERS: Lucas (Charlotte), Doug Kalitta (Dallas), BROWN.
NHRA NATIONALS NEAR READING
SCHEDULE (Times are ET)
Friday: 2 p.m., 5 p.m., nitro qualifying
Saturday: Noon, 3 p.m., nitro qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
Sunday: 8 p.m. (ET), championship eliminations, delayed
WEATHER.COM FORECAST FOR MOHNTON, PA.
(As of Tuesday afternoon)
Friday: High 81; 10 percent chance rain
Saturday: High 82; 20 percent chance of rain
Sunday: High 80; 20 percent chance of rain