BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 17, 2014) – Antron Brown continued to rack up round wins at Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday. The Matco Tools flagship driver advanced to the semifinals for the ninth time in 17 races this season as Brown continues to hold second-place in the NHRA Mello Yello Series standings.
A day after earning his 37th career No. 1 qualifying position at the track where also has collected five NHRA Wally trophies, Brown’s Matco/U.S. Army team, led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, continued to show why they are again contenders to win a second NHRA Top Fuel championship in three years.
Brown knocked off J.R. Todd, ranked 10th in the standings, and three-time series champion Larry Dixon, before being stunned by a jaw-dropping effort by eventual race winner Morgan Lucas in the semifinals. The Matco team bettered it’s 3.772-second winning effort from round two with a pass of 3.770, 319.82 in the semifinals, but Brown’s advantage at the starting line wasn’t enough to overcome Lucas’ 3.729, 323.66 lap. It was the second quickest pass of the event.
“It was a good race weekend here at Brainerd,” Brown said. “It just didn’t work out in our favor in that semifinal round. We turn the page and move on to Indy and get ready for Indy and the U.S. Nationals. I’m pretty pumped up about the Traxxas Shootout and the U.S. Nationals. We’ve got a lot of really cool things coming up in the next few weeks leading up to the Nationals and I’m excited to live and be in Indy.”
Brown has three career triumphs on NHRA’s marquee stage at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, including behind the wheel of the Matco Tools car in 2011.
“We’re going to use what happened today at Brainerd to fuel us at Indy, that’s for sure,” Brown said. “We’re right there. The car is running good. So, we’ll just go back and get ready for Indy and see what we can do for the U.S. Nationals. It’s our All-Star Game or our Super Bowl and I’m amped up. I get so excited about it. If you do well at Indy, it can heal a lot of wounds.”
Event Winner: Morgan Lucas (Morgan Lucas Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.810 sec., 318.77 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying Position: No. 1
FIRST ROUND: BROWN .060 3.804 sec., 318.69 mph def. Todd .053 6.750, 98.79
SECOND ROUND: BROWN .040 3.772, 293.86 def. Dixon 3.910, 272.06
SEMIFINALS: Lucas .066 3.729, 323.66 def. BROWN .051 3.770, 319.82
FRIDAY: 3.890 sec., 307.93 mph (Session 1), 3.827, 316.38 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.845, 315.34 (Session 3), 3.810, 318.77 (Session 4)
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Standings
(following the 17th of 24 races)
Driver (wins) points behind
1. Doug Kalitta (2) 1,446 —
2. ANTRON BROWN (5) 1,353 -92
3. Shawn Langdon (1) 1,204 -242
4. TONY SCHUMACHER (2) 1,075 -317
5. Steve Torrence 971 -475
6. SPENCER MASSEY (2) 953 -493
7. Khalid alBalooshi (2) 888 -558
7t. Brittany Force 888 -558
9. Richie Crampton (1) 841 -605
10. J.R. Todd (1) 805 -641