TOPEKA, Kan. (May 21, 2014) – Antron Brown has tasted success at Heartland Park Topeka. Just not on race day.
The 44-time NHRA winner, who has an average qualifying position of 2.86 in seven races this season, is a three-time pole winner at Heartland Park. Yet he has never advanced further than the semifinals and that was in his rookie season as a Top Fuel driver in 2008. In his last five trips to the Sunflower State, the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel champion hasn’t advanced past the second round of eliminations.
“It’s going to take some solid laps and that starts off in qualifying and getting a good qualifying spot,” he said. “We’re going to take it one run at a time. That track can be tricky. It can be really good then it can get slimy and slippery. It’s always been tricky, but we’re going to work hard to tame it and race smart.”
NHRA series sponsor Mello Yello started a new tradition in 2014, rewarding the pole-sitter with a race-specific green No. 1 Qualifier Mello Yello Drag Racing Series hat. While starting from the No. 1 spot is great, the hat Brown and his Matco Tools/U.S. Army team want to be donning at the end of the weekend is the bright yellow Mello Yello national event winner hat. And that would be the eighth Mello Yello winner’s hat in Brown’s collection and fourth of 2014.
“We’ve always wanted to win at Heartland Park,” Brown said. “I think the problem is we’ve always wanted to win there so bad. But we are going to go in there this year and try a little different method. We’re going to take it one round at a time like we have at every race this year and hopefully some of the chips will fall our way. Hopefully we can sneak out of there with a little gold man from Topeka and a day later tell him ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore Wally’.”
The following are Antron’s Topeka, career and 2014 statistics:
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster
Last event (May 19), Atlanta: Qualified No. 3; lost in in semifinals to Spencer Massey.
A year ago at Topeka: Qualified No. 6; lost in first round to Leah Pritchett
Career at Topeka: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 3 (2012, 2010, 2009)
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 2nd 7 3 1 2 0 1 1 0 18-4
CAREER 298 44 39 61 82 65 35 3 494-246
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
driver (wins), points
1. Doug Kalitta (1), 649
2. ANTRON BROWN (3), 642
3. Steve Torrence, 503
4. Shawn Langdon, 461
5. SPENCER MASSEY (1), 454
6. Khalid alBalooshi (1), 413
7. TONY SCHUMACHER (1), 407
8. Brittany Force, 336
9. Richie Crampton, 257
J.R. Todd, 257