BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 15, 2014) – Antron Brown, a three-time winner this season in his Matco Tools dragster, raced to a semifinal finish on Sunday during the Thunder Valley Nationals at scenic Bristol Dragway.
Despite coming up one round shy of a fifth final round appearance this season, the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel champion spent Father’s Day weekend with his 12-year-old daughter, Arianna, at the 10th NHRA Mello Yello Series event of the season.
“It was so much fun just getting that one-on-one time with her this weekend,” Antron said of his daughter who competed in her first NHRA Jr. Drag Racing Series event last weekend in Terre Haute, Ind. “It’s so crazy to see how much she’s grown and to just have fun with her this weekend with her at Bristol.
“Normally when I’m racing, she’s got school activities and or a dance competition, so it’s hard for her to get to the races. We had a blast this weekend and I’m looking forward to having my two sons (Anson and Adler) at Norwalk (Ohio) in a few weeks.”
Brown, who qualified in the No. 4 position on Saturday afternoon, clocked low elapsed time of eliminations in the opening round at 3.829 seconds and appeared to have the car to beat on Sunday. The fan-favorite also was quickest in the second round, before his Matco Tools rail dropped a cylinder against rival and points leader Doug Kalitta in the semifinals.
“We wanted this one bad because we felt we had the car to beat today,” Antron said. “We’ve never won here at Bristol and we want to. It was just one of those deals in the semis. It dropped a hole (cylinder) at 300-feet and we almost held on to win that one. It was tough out there with a really hot racetrack.
“It’s all good though. We brought out a brand new chassis this weekend here at Bristol and it ran great. From the first round out of the box, to the semis, the new chassis was flawless. I have to give kudos to Joe (Fitzpatrick) and all the boys at the DSR fab shop and this Matco Tools team for getting this car ready. I know I’m ready for Epping (N.H.) right now. Let’s go!”
Antron, who ended a run of two straight first-round losses, remains second in the NHRA Mello Yello Series standings following 10 of 24 races on the 2014 schedule. The tour heads to the second annual event at New England Dragway next weekend, June 20-22.
The following are Brown’s results and other notes for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals:
Event winner: Shawn Langdon (Al-Anabi Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Brittany Force (John Force Racing) 3.828 seconds, 317.94 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 4
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: BROWN (3.829 sec., 318.39 mph) def. Richie Crampton (4.398, 196.79); Quarterfinals: BROWN (3.883, 315.19) def. Spencer Massey (10.460, 76.70); Semifinals: Doug Kalitta (3.905, 312.64) def. BROWN (3.952, 304.74).
FRIDAY: 3.873 sec., 313.07 mph, (Session 1); cancelled due to rain (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.919, 309.49, (Session 3); 4.483, 179.83, (Session 4)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Unofficial through 10 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins) points behind
1. Doug Kalitta (1) 902 —-
2. ANTRON BROWN (3) 782 -120
3. Shawn Langdon 751 -151
4. SPENCER MASSEY (2) 652 -250
5. Steve Torrence 617 -285
6. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 557 -345
7. Khalid alBalooshi (1) 535 -367
8. Brittany Force 502 -400
9. Richie Crampton (1) 464 -438
10. J.R. Todd 429 -473