MORRISON, Colo. (July 20, 2014) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team started perfectly Sunday at Bandimere Speedway in the Mile-High NHRA Nationals near Denver.

Antron, who leads the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series with five event titles this season, started the day ranked second in season points to Doug Kalitta, who led by 45 points.

The 2012 Top Fuel world champion and winner of the past two Mello Yello events, used a quicker reaction time at the starting line to eliminate Kalitta’s quicker car and advance to the quarterfinals.

Antron left the starting two-hundredths of a second ahead of Kalitta that allowed his time of 3.903 seconds at 311.56 mph to beat Kalitta’s better 3.899 (313.51).

Were the Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to advance to the championship round Antron would have taken over the points lead. But in the next round he was upset by former world champion and current part-time racer Larry Dixon, whose subpar run of 4.107 (272.39) was enough to beat Antron’s tire-smoking 4.331 (220.19).

“We were just a little aggressive in the middle of the run, but it almost held on,” Antron said. “We’ll go from here and just get ready for next weekend (at Sonoma, Calif.). We had a good racing weekend here, and made up some points chasing Doug. We’ll just keep pressing on.”

The Mile-High NHRA Nationals was the first stop of the annual Western Swing that includes three races in three weeks. The Swing shifts to Sonoma, Calif., next weekend and closes with a stop near Seattle.

Event winner: J.R. Todd (Kalitta Motorsports)
No. 1 Qualifier: Tony Schumacher (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.823 sec.*, 314.09 mph (* track record)

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying Position: No. 6
FIRST ROUND: BROWN (3.903 sec., 311.56 mph) def. Doug Kalitta (3.899, 313.51); QUARTERFINALS: Larry Dixon (4.107, 272.39) def. BROWN (4.331, 220.19)
FRIDAY: 3.961 sec., 303.03 mph, (Session 1); 3.881, 310.63, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.962, 306.53, (Session 3); 3.868, 307.51, (Session 4)

(Unofficial after 14 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)

TOP FUEL                                                            

    driver (wins)                                 pts      behind                      

1. Doug Kalitta (1)                            1,162      —-

2. ANTRON BROWN (5)                 1,137     -25

3. Shawn Langdon (1)                       973    -189

4. TONY SCHUMACHER (2)            830      -332

5. Steve Torrence                           814      -348

6. SPENCER MASSEY (2)               811     -351

7. Brittany Force                             783       -379

8. J.R. Todd (1)                               705       -457

9. Khalid alBalooshi (1)                  685        -477

10. Richie Crampton (1)                 678       -484