BAYTOWN, Texas (April 26, 2014) – Having spent time living in the deep south, Antron Brown is familiar to the Bayou’s boiling conditions. The 2012 NHRA Top Fuel champion, who called Louisiana home for two years before relocating to the Indianapolis area, knows how challenging wet, humid settings near the Gulf can make racing the fastest accelerating vehicles on the planet.

The most recent winner on tour, two weeks ago near Charlotte in a spectacular photo finish over Shawn Langdon and J.R. Todd, played a bit of catch-up during qualifying at the 27th annual NHRA Spring Nationals.

The 27-time NHRA Top Fuel winner then drove his Matco Tools rail to the No. 2 qualifying position on Saturday’s final qualifying lap at 3.787-seconds. Brown entered the fourth session in the No. 10 slot before blistering the Royal Purple Raceway track to the quickest pass of the final session just missing pole-sitter Steve Torrence’s elapsed time by one-thousandth of-a-second.

The former college track star from New Jersey knows racing near Houston can bring a variety of weather conditions. This weekend at Royal Purple Raceway east of Houston, teams experienced wet conditions that threw them a looping curveball. It wasn’t rain that produced havoc this year, but elevated amounts of water grains in the air.

“The first fews laps didn’t go the way we wanted for our Matco Tools team here at DSR,” Brown said. “We actually hurt a piston on the night run on Friday night and that slowed us down. And we were just getting back on track on Saturday; playing catch-up a little bit.”

Brown, who scored his first of 27 career Top Fuel wins at the ultra-quick Houston track in 2008, has advanced to the Top Fuel final round every other year at Royal Purple Raceway. After bowing out in round one last year, if the Matco Tools team’s trend continues its Houston trend Brown will be racing for his 44th career Wally trophy on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re gonna give it all we got here at Houston tomorrow,” Brown said. “This is a special place for me and our team. We got our first Top Fuel win here way back in 2008 and I have a lot of friends and family from Louisiana here rooting us on.

“The humidity got us a little bit this weekend and we just under estimated the tune-up. It’s hard to make good power when it’s this wet out, but Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) stepped our game up with that last lap. Now we want to keep our momentum going and get the No. 1 spot in the points.”

No. 1 Qualifier: Steve Torrence (Torrence Racing) 3.786 sec., 321.81 mph

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying Position: No. 2
First round opponent: Clay Millican
FRIDAY: 3.869 sec., 316.75 mph (Session 1), 3.880, 315.05 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.830, 320.28 (Session 3), 3.787, 322.04 (Session 4)