BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 17, 2014) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster team used a unique way to shakedown the first runs with its newest Don Schumacher Racing dragster.
Crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald “multi-tasked” during last weekend’s NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Bristol, Tenn., to check out their new dragster while also trying to win their fourth NHRA Wally trophy of the season.
The Matco Tools team received an A+ for testing and earned a pretty good mark in competition as well.
The latest rail for Antron was solid in two of three qualifying sessions, including its best on Friday with a time of 3.873 seconds at 313.07 mph that earned the No. 4 qualifying position for Sunday’s eliminations. After beating Richie Crampton, who won the previous Mello Yello event, Antron topped DSR teammate Spencer Massey in the quarterfinals. The Matco Tools team posted low elapsed time of the first two rounds of eliminations.
In Antron’s third semifinals of the year, he lost to Doug Kalitta’s 3.905 (312.64) that edged Antron’s 3.952 (304.74) on the hottest track the series encountered this season.
The solid performance by the new Matco dragster didn’t surprise Antron, who is four round wins away from the 500 milestone.
“The car was moving in the right direction and doing exactly what we wanted it to. It’s just the luck of the draw, sometimes.
“The guys back at the DSR fab shop always build us the best dragsters,” he said of master craftsmen Joe Fitzpatrick, Tom Patsis, Dan Murphy and Travis Orr. “Our machine shop takes good care of us too. And our Matco crew puts all the pieces together.”
Antron is second in points to Kalitta and lost 20 more Sunday to fall 120 out of first. A win over Kalitta would have cut the margin to 80.
“It was a good race and a tough one to lose, but we’ll just keep pushing forward,” said Antron, who was joined by 12-year-old daughter Arianna over the weekend. “We gained a lot this weekend and we wanted to win for our Matco distributors and the U.S. Army celebrated its 239th birthday last weekend.”
Next stop on the 24-event tour is Epping, N.H., where Antron qualified 10th before losing in the first round a year ago.
“We’ll go to Epping and we’re going to have our guns blazing. Our heads are held high. We’re just excited to get to there and, fortunately, we don’t have a long wait.”
The following are Antron’s Epping, career and season stats:
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster
Last event Bristol, Tenn. (June 15): Qualified No. 4; lost in semifinals to Doug Kalitta
A year ago at Epping (Inaugural): Qualified No. 10; lost in first round to Bob Vandergriff
Career at Epping: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 2nd 10 3 1 3 0 3 1 0 20-7
CAREER 300 44 39 62 82 67 35 3 496-249
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 (after 10 of 24 events)
driver (wins) points points behind
1. Doug Kalitta (1) 902 —-
2. ANTRON BROWN (3) 782 -120
3. Shawn Langdon (1) 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