BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 1, 2014) – Antron Brown celebrated the only way he knows after reaching his milestone 500th eliminations round victory in the semifinals Sunday near Chicago.
The popular driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster went on to add his 501st in his fifth championship round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season by winning his series-best fourth event title of the year.
That provides momentum for when he arrives Friday at Norwalk, Ohio, to start the second half of the 24-race Mello Yello series ranked second in points. More incentive will be in his tank because the track in northern Ohio is one of the few where he has not visited a winner’s circle.
Entering the second half of the season, Antron and the Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason have won four of the year’s first 12 titles. Making it more impressive is that they’ve raced with three different dragsters and the current addition might be the best. The new model replaced the car he won with three times but lost in a crash at Atlanta in May.
“We had a great car and it was gone. Gone. The only thing we got out of it was the cockpit stuff,” said Antron, who has won 45 event titles including 29 in Top Fuel. “It was working well, and that was the car we wanted to run for the championship. But the Good Lord had a different story. He goes, ‘We’re going to give you a better one.’
“The boys back at our Don Schumacher Racing shop went to work, and they gave us this new car. We came out with it at Bristol, and it ran phenomenal. We could have won that race, but it slipped away from us. And it ran great in Epping (N.H.). Our teammate (eventual event winner Tony Schumacher) just took us out in the second round.
In addition to the importance of getting his fifth Wally trophy of the year, the visit to Norwalk is a homecoming for three members of his Matco Tools team and the closest race to Matco headquarters in Stow, Ohio.
Corradi is a native of Middleburg Heights near Cleveland and lives in Medina he lives with his family and operates the Master Pizza restaurant; Oswald is a native of Cincinnati. Wayne “Red” Waite, the team’s car chief , is from nearby Elyria.
“We have to go to Norwalk and win for our Ohio boys,” Antron added with enthusiasm.
MATCO, DSR EXTEND
Matco Tools, a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality automotive technician tools and equipment products, and Don Schumacher Racing announced this week that their marketing partnership is being extended with a multiyear agreement.
This year marks the 14th season in which Matco Tools has been DSR’s Official Tool Supplier in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for DSR’s Matco Tools (driver Antron Brown), U.S. Army (Tony Schumacher), Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher (Spencer Massey), Valvoline (Jack Beckman), Mopar/Rocky Boots (Matt Hagan) and Make-A-Wish Foundation (Tommy Johnson Jr.) teams.
Matco Tools joined DSR in 2001 as the Official Tool Supplier and primary sponsor on the Whit Bazemore-driven Funny Car. In 2008, Matco Tools began sponsoring Antron Brown’s Top Fuel dragster and was on the sides of Brown’s dragster when he won the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world championship.
MASTER PIZZA PARTY
On Wednesday (July 2) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Antron will be at the Original Master Pizza shop in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, located at 15180 Bagley Road just south of the Cleveland metropolitan area. Master Pizza is owned by crew chief Brian Corradi and his wife, Jackie.
“We’ve been doing this when we get back to Ohio the past few years, and it’s a great night,” Antron said. “We get to see a lot of our Ohio friends. And of course, we enjoy the best pizza in town … and I know good pizza because I’m from New Jersey.”
ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Last event Joliet, Ill. (June 29): Qualified No. 3, defeated Brittany Force in championship round
A year ago at Norwalk: Qualified No. 7; lost in first round to Khalid alBalooshi
Career at Norwalk: Wins 0; Runner-ups 1 (2010); Poles 0
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 2nd 12 4 1 3 1 3 1 0 25-8
CAREER 298 45 39 62 83 67 35 3 501-250
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
(Official after 12 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins) points behind
1. Doug Kalitta (1) 1,065 ——
2. ANTRON BROWN (4) 963 -102
3. Shawn Langdon (1) 835 -230
4. SPENCER MASSEY (2) 747 -318
5. TONY SCHUMACHER (2) 711 -354
6. Steve Torrence 688 -387
7. Brittany Force 638 -427
8. Khalid alBalooshi (1) 620 -445
9. Richie Crampton (1) 600 -465
10. J.R. Todd 557 -508