CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 14, 2014) – Antron Brown couldn’t be more ready to get to Dallas this week for the second round of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship.

The driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald made five passes during the NHRA Carolina Nationals near Charlotte but Sunday lost in the first round of eliminations to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Spencer Massey.

Although the Matco Tools team improved on each of its four qualifying runs it qualified ninth, which gave Massey, who qualified No. 8, lane choice. Antron’s time of 3.808 at 318.62 mph was his best of the weekend at zMAX Dragway but was edged by Massey’s 3.786 (322.88).

“We’ll look back at the whole weekend and see how we progressed,” said Antron, who has won five event titles this year. “We got quicker with every run. We didn’t qualify where we wanted and we didn’t want to lose first round. Our Matco team always strives to be better and we got better.”

A year ago, the Matco team didn’t qualify for the Countdown opener at Charlotte and rallied to finish second in the points standings. Two years ago, Brown lost in round one of the fall Charlotte race and still won the 2012 NHRA championship.

“We’re going to move to Dallas with five races left in the Countdown and we’ll be ready,” he said. “We definitely can say we’re off to a better start in the Countdown than we were last year.

“We’re motivated and hungry right now – we’re starving right now. Trust me, it will be game-on when we get to Dallas.”

The Carolina Nationals was postponed by a steady drizzle in the afternoon. It has not been determined when the event will be completed.

Event winner: Event postponed by rain after first round of eliminations
No. 1 Qualifier: J.R. Todd (Kalitta Motorsports) 3.804 sec., 317.64 mph

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying Position: No. 9
FIRST ROUND: Spencer Massey (3.786 sec., 322.38 mph) def. BROWN (3.808, 318.62)
FRIDAY: 3.880 sec., 311.27 mph, (Session 1); 3.869, 307.93, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.856, 311.85, (Session 3); 3.853, 311.99, (Session 4)