GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 16, 2014) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team advanced to its second championship round of Top Fuel eliminations in the first three events of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, and despite coming up a little short Sunday at Gainesville, Fla., he moved up to second in the standings.

Antron was a little disappointed that his reliable dragster lost traction in its final round loss to points leader Doug Kalitta in the 45th annual NHRA Gatornationals that prevented his team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald from defending the event title and winning their second straight trophy this season.

“It was a good day. We felt like we were right there,” said Antron, who won two weeks ago near Phoenix. “It just bit us a little bit. We were going for it and stepping it up because we knew we had to. We just hazed (the tires) there and it bit us a little bit.”

The Matco team, which improved to a series-best 7-2 record in eliminations, races in two weeks at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where last year it was runner-up in the spring race and won the fall event.

“We’ll build from it and go to Vegas with our chins up and get after it there. It was a great outing for the Matco car at Gainesville. We’re 1 and 1 this year in final rounds and we’re looking forward to the next race.

“Vegas has always been a great race for us so we are excited to get out there. We’re hungry for another race, wish it was next week. Can’t wait to get there and rebound from this.”

Event winner: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports)
No. 1 Qualifier: Shawn Langdon (Al-Anabi Racing), 3.776 sec., 325.37 mph

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 2
First Round: BROWN (3.830 sec., 319.14 mph) def. Sidnei Frigo (8.088, 88.66); Quarterfinals: BROWN (3.810, 321.42) def. Tony Schumacher (5.798, 124.20); Semifinals: BROWN (3.847, 315.71) def. Morgan Lucas (5.410, 132.18); FINAL: Doug Kalitta (3.830, 323.74) def. BROWN (5.106, 147.50)
FRIDAY: 4.241 sec., 210.41 mph, (Session 1); 3.836, 315.78 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.868, 307.58 (Session 3); 3.804, 320.43, (Session 4)

(Through Phoenix, second of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver, (wins), points
1. Doug Kalitta, (1), 309
2. ANTRON BROWN, (1), 256
3. Steve Torrence, (0), 230
4. Khalid alBalooshi, (1), 197
5. SPENCER MASSEY, (0), 180
6. Shawn Langdon, (0), 168
7. Brittany Force, (0), 158
8. TONY SCHUMACHER, (0), 146
9. David Grubnic, (0), 138
10. Richie Crampton, (0), 123