BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Feb. 18, 2014) – Antron Brown’s physical fitness routine is one of the most demanding of any professional race car driver, and the past few weeks he’s upped his workout to suit the record-breaking winter near his home in Pittsboro, Ind., outside Indianapolis.
Anton has logged nearly as many runs on his snow blower this year as he has in his Matco Tools Top Fuel dragsters. He always has been popular in his neighborhood but has enhanced his standing by “power” cleaning sidewalks for others around his home.
Those in his community hope any further snowfall waits for Antron’s return from this weekend’s NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event outside Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, formerly Firebird International Raceway.
“I’ve seen on the Internet where it’s supposed to be in the low 80s in Phoenix while we’re there but it’s going to warm up to the 50s here at home,” Antron said. “I’m sure my snow blower will get used again before winter’s over.”
This weekend his only focus will be operating Don Schumacher Racing’s 10,000-horsepower Top Fueler in his quest for a second NHRA world championship in three years.
He returns to the track outside Chandler, Ariz., where he won Top Fuel event titles in 2009 and 2012, his championship season. He was runner-up in 2011.
“Phoenix has been a good track for us,” he said. “The weather usually is beautiful and the fans are great, but we’re not sure what to expect on the race track.”
The facility will host its 30th annual NHRA national event but under new management for the first time. The track, which had been plagued with some bumps the past few years has mostly been repaved. About 600 feet of the dragstrip was removed and replaced with concrete.
“We’ve heard a lot about good changes to the race track and can’t wait to get out there for the first qualifying session on Friday,” he said of runs scheduled for 2 and 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday leading to Sunday’s championship eliminations.
Antron and the Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald started the season two weeks ago with a solid No. 3 qualifying position before being upset in the opening round of the Winternationals at Pomona, Calif.
“We went out there with our heads down, working hard to get off to a good start.
“We were going good down the track, but it just couldn’t hold what we put down. The car was marching.
“We’ll have our game faces on when we get to Phoenix and give it all we’ve got. We’ll regroup and be ready.”
BY THE NUMBERS
ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 9th 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0-1
CAREER 287 41# 38 58 82 65 34 3 476-243
#25 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
Last event (Feb. 7-9, Pomona, Calif.): Qualified No. 3; lost in first round to Clay Millican
A year ago at Phoenix: Qualified No. 2; lost in semifinals to Tony Schumacher
Career at Phoenix: Wins 2 (2009, 2012); Runner-ups 1 (2011); Poles 0
NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
(Through Winternationals, first of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Khalid alBalooshi, 113
2. Doug Kalitta, 107
3. SPENCER MASSEY, 75
Steve Torrence, 75
5. Shawn Langdon, 65
6. Richie Crampton , 52
7. David Grubnic, 51
Clay Millican, 51
9. ANTRON BROWN, 40
10. Bob Vandergriff, 36
11. Brittany Force, 33
12. TONY SCHUMACHER, 32
Terry McMillen, 32
Leah Pritchett, 32