CONCORD, N.C. (April 13, 2014) – Antron Brown used his world-class reactions to earn his second NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series title of the season by reacting quicker at the starting line to win the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals title Sunday at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Brown’s 43rd NHRA event title and the 222nd for Don Schumacher Racing was earned by the driver when his 0.042-second reaction at the start of the unique final round was significantly better than his three opponents in the most unique event on the Mello Yello circuit at the world’s only four-lane dragstrip.
Brown’s consistent Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster tuned by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald produced a time of 3.800 seconds at 317.42 mph that was matched by Shawn Langdon’s elapsed time and was a blink slower than that of J.R. Todd’s 3.799 (318.32).
“As drivers, the only thing we can do is screw it up on the starting line,” Antron said. “You just have to be on point and give it all you have. When you’re racing people like J.R. Todd, he’s a great driver, and when you race Langdon, he’s a tremendous leaver. You’ve got your work cut out for you. I just went up there and was poised. Race day, you have to be on time.
“It feels really good to get the job done, especially when your boys work so hard.”
Brown must have flashed back to his days as a top sprinter in junior college but instead of reacting to the starter’s gun, the popular New Jersey native living near Indianapolis moved with the flash of a starting line light.
“Just an incredible day,” he said. “All our Matco boys have been working so hard. It feels good to get another win; it’s tough enough just to win a round.
“To go out in the final round and do what we did is purely awesome. All these cars ran so good. Just to sneak one out felt good. Our car’s been running good. We didn’t want to push her too hard on the last lap so the boys eased her back a little.
“It feels good.”
Brown, who is second in points, moved to within 25 of leader Doug Kalitta heading to the next event near Houston in two weeks.
Event winner: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Shawn Langdon (Al-Anabi Racing) 3.753 sec., 321.81 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 4
BROWN (3.801 sec., 323.04 mph), Brittany Force (3.814, 232.19), Clay Millican (3.983, 285.05), Leah Pritchett (4.537, 194.83). BROWN, B. Force advance.
Shawn Langdon (3.821, 315.86), BROWN 3.988, 280.84), Spencer Massey (4.066, 238.34), B. Force (5.802, 145.50). Langdon, BROWN advance.
BROWN (3.800, 317.42), Langdon (3.800, 322.11), J.R. Todd (3.799, 318.32), Doug Kalitta (4.587, 172.07)
FRIDAY: 3.823 sec., 319.45 mph, (Session 1); 6.627, 97.88, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.824, 316.45, (Session 3); 3.794, 320.89, (Session 4)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Unofficial after five of 24 events; through Four-Wide Nationals; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins), points
1. Doug Kalitta (1), 485
2. ANTRON BROWN (2), 460
3. Steve Torrence (0), 347
4. Shawn Langdon (0), 330
5. TONY SCHUMACHER (1), 316
6. Khalid alBalooshi (1), 290
7. SPENCER MASSEY (0), 288
8. Brittany Force (0), 246
9. Richie Crampton (0), 189
10. J.R. Todd (0), 183
April 25-27, Houston
May 16-18, Atlanta
May 23-25, Topeka, Kan.
May 29-June, Englishtown, N.J.