COMMERCE, Ga. (May 16, 2014) – Antron Brown qualified No. 2 Friday night near Atlanta for the NHRA Southern Nationals, but it wasn’t the way he preferred doing it.
Moments after completing his second qualifying run in the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster, the current NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series points leader was shutting down his Don Schumacher Racing dragster after a run of 3.788 seconds at 318.69 mph when his car went out of control.
The 2012 Top Fuel world champion, under the protection of the DSR-designed enclosed cockpit canopy, got out of the car under his own power and within a few minutes addressed the crowd at Atlanta Dragway.
“We don’t know what happened. The most important thing is the good Lord kept us safe and everything worked on that car like it was supposed to,” said Antron, whose Matco Tools team has won three of six event titles this season including the past two.
“We’ll be alright. It was running fine until I shut it off. We just have to see what happened and get to the bottom of it. I want to thank all of the fans for supporting us. We’re alright, it’s OK.
“Kudos to all the boys at the shop for the way they built this car,” he said, “and the canopy worked good. ”
At the time of Antron’s incident at around 9:40 p.m. (EDT), the program already was about 90 minutes behind schedule and temperatures were in the low 50s. With an anticipated 30- to 45-minute clean-up and temperatures steadily dropping NHRA decided to end the second Top Fuel session but times counted for the 12 cars that had run.
“We just don’t know what happened,” he said after returning to his pit. “(Crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald) already are assessing what happened. Brian, Mark and all of these Matco boys will go back and look. We’ll get ready and come out tomorrow and be ready with our back-up car.”
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Provisional Qualifying Position: No. 2
FRIDAY: 3.854 sec., 312.42 mph, (Session 1); 3.788, 318.69 (Session 2)