BROWNSBURG, Ind. (April 22, 2014) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel team have pulled to within 25 points of leader Doug Kalitta in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings heading to this weekend’s event near Houston.
The 2012 Top Fuel world champion used his incredible reaction time to win the unique NHRA Four-Wide Nationals near Charlotte on April 13 to become the first double winner of the season through five of 24 Mello Yello events.
That pushed his career total to 43 titles including 16 in Pro Stock Motorcycle from 1999 to 2006. The accomplishment of his team moved Don Schumacher Racing’s total to 222 including 217 since 1999.
Antron is tied with Funny Car driver Tony Pedregon with 43 NHRA Wally trophies, which ranks 12th on the all-time list. Reaching 50 titles would make Antron the 10th driver to reach that milestone in drag racing history.
“I don’t want to think about history or breaking records until my career is over,” said Antron, who is 38. “Hopefully when I look back – one day when I kick the boots off and take the helmet off – I can look back and go, ‘What a career!’ And hopefully I can leave that legacy behind for my kids to look at and say, ‘My dad was somebody.’ ”
Instead of looking that far down the road, the native of New Jersey living near Indianapolis and first African-American driver to win a major American auto racing world championship, isn’t looking past his next race at Royal Purple Raceway at Baytown, Texas. The Baytown track is where he won his first of 27 Top Fuel titles in 2008.
“Hopefully I can make a little bit more history and break some records. We just want to compete at a high level every time we step onto the racetrack. If we do that, we give ourselves a great shot at winning races. That’s what my whole mindset is.
“I don’t worry about the stats we just achieved,” he said. “I worry about achieving more and more.”
After a surprising first-round loss to open the season, Antron and the team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald won the next title and then advanced to three championship rounds in which they won twice.
The streak has made the Matco team the hottest over the past nine Mello Yello events including two titles in the last four races of the past season. In that span, the team has won four titles in six championship rounds.
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster
HOUSTON BY THE NUMBERS
Last event (April 13, Concord, N.C.): Qualified No. 4; won event title by beating Shawn Langdon, J.R. Todd and Doug Kalitta in Four-Wide Nationals.
A year ago at Houston: Qualified No. 4; lost in first round to Bob Vandergriff
Career at Houston: Wins 1 (2008); Runner-ups 3 (2012, 2010, 2004*); Poles 2 (2009, 2001*) *Pro Stock Motorcycle
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 2nd 5 2 1 1 0 1 1 0 12-3
CAREER 291 43 39 60 82 65 35 3 488-245
Best Time, Speed: 3.701*/** sec. (10- 8-12, Reading, Pa.); 328.78 mph (10-8-12, Reading)
* Quickest ever/** NHRA record
NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
(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, Baytown, Texas
May 16-18, Atlanta
May 23-25, Topeka
May 29-June 1, Englishtown, N.J.