SONOMA, Calif. (July 27, 2014) – An opening-round loss Sunday in the Sonoma NHRA Nationals could have been disastrous for Antron Brown’s climb to the top of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings, but fortunately for his Matco Tools team the man he is chasing lost in the second round.
Antron, who started the race near San Francisco ranked second and 26 points behind Doug Kalitta, was upset in the first round by Don Schumacher Racing teammate Spencer Massey but Kalitta only lasted one more round to put Antron 46 points out of the lead. Each round win is worth 20 points.
“We got a little greedy out there and sometimes when you get greedy, that’s what happens to you,” he said of his tire-smoking run that produced a time of 4.522 seconds at 182.58 mph.
“With that being said, we saw that 3.77 that Khalid (al Balooshi) ran in the first pair, so we thought the track was better than Friday night and we didn’t want to get caught with our pants down. We couldn’t take a chance. We had to go for it. Spencer and his team were definitely ready so we went out there and just pressed. It didn’t go our way.”
Antron, who qualified fourth, heads to Seattle for the last race of the “Western Swing.” The Sonoma Nationals was the second Swing stop that includes three races in three weeks.
“We’ve got to lick our wounds and head to Seattle,” said Antron, who will drive a special yellow dragster for Sandvik Coromant at Seattle. “We’re excited about running the Sandvik colors next weekend.”
Only three events remain in the Mello Yello regular season when the top-10 drivers will be determined and points reset for those contending for world championships in the six-race Countdown to the Championship.
“We didn’t have suffer too much damage this weekend with Doug going out in the second round,” said Antron, who has won a series-best five event titles this year with crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald. “Our main mission is still to go after that No. 1 spot for the Countdown, that’s what we are pressing hard for.”
Winner: Khalid alBalooshi (Al-Anabi Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Brittany Force (John Force Racing), 3.762 sec., 325.53 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying Position: No. 4
FIRST ROUND: Spencer Massey (3.796 sec., 322.73 mph) def. BROWN (4.522, 182.58)
FRIDAY: 3.864 sec., 313.22 mph, (Session 1); 3.796, 319.60, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.367, 190.03, (Session 3); 3.858, 315.56, (Session 4)
NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
(Unofficial after 15 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins) pts behind
1. Doug Kalitta (1) 1,223 —-
2. ANTRON BROWN (5) 1,177 -46
3. Shawn Langdon (1) 1,065 -158
4. TONY SCHUMACHER (2) 911 -312
5. Steve Torrence 867 -356
6. SPENCER MASSEY (2) 862 -361
7. Brittany Force 824 -409
8. Khalid alBalooshi (2) 801 -422
9. Richie Crampton (1) 752 -471
10. J.R. Todd (1) 741 -482