Disappointing Countdown opener won’t slow Brown’s charge in Texas with Matco Tools team when Mello Yello playoff resumes this weekend
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 16, 2014) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster team at Don Schumacher Racing, unfortunately, will only have one NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event title to worry about when the series arrives at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas this week.
Antron entered the six-race Countdown to the Championship ranked second a week ago when the playoff opened near Charlotte but lost in the opening round of the NHRA Carolina Nationals to DSR teammate Spencer Massey.
The only round completed was the opener before NHRA officials postponed the event due to rain and ordered it be completed during qualifying on Saturday at the Motorplex.
“We’d like to get to Dallas and have two chances to win a Wally (trophy), but we’re just going to focus on what we need to do to get our Matco dragster back to running the way we expect it to,” said Antron, who won five of this year’s first 18 event titles to lead Top Fuel but has lost in the first round of the past two events and fallen to at least fourth in the playoff standings.
As disappointing as Antron’s result was at Charlotte, it still is a better start to the Countdown than a year ago when he arrived in Texas on the heels of not qualifying for the playoff opener.
“We definitely can say we’re off to a better start in the Countdown than we were last year when we got to the Motorplex,” Antron said. “We’re going to Dallas with five races left in the Countdown and we’ll be ready.”
The Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald made five passes during the Carolina Nationals and improved on each run. In its first-round loss to Massey, Antron recorded his best time of the weekend with a run of 3.808 seconds at 318.62 mph to Massey’s stellar 3.786 (322.88).
“We’ll look back at the whole weekend and see how we progressed,” Antron said. “We got quicker with every run. We didn’t qualify where we wanted and we sure didn’t expect to lose in first round. Our Matco team always strives to be better and we got better.
“We’re motivated and hungry right now – we’re starving right now. Trust me, it will be game-on when we get to Dallas.”
TOP FUEL FROM CHARLOTTE
Event winner: The event was postponed by afternoon rain before second 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
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
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)
Antron by the numbers
Last weekend at Charlotte (completion postponed to this Saturday near Dallas): Qualified No. 9; lost in first round to Spencer Massey
A year ago at Dallas: Qualified No. 14; lost in second round to Spencer Massey
Career fall at Dallas: Wins 2 (2012, 2009; Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 4th 19 5 2 4 2 6 3 0 35-14
CAREER 305 46 40 62 84 70 37 3 511-256
Best Time, Speed: 3.701*/** sec. (10- 8-12, Reading, Pa.); 328.78 mph (10-8-12, Reading)
* Quickest ever/** NHRA record
NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Points updated through first round from Sept. 14 at Charlotte that will be completed at Dallas; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins) points behind
1. Doug Kalitta (2) 2,149 ——
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (2) 2,116 -33
3. Steve Torrence 2,113 -36
4. ANTRON BROWN (5) 2,112 -37
5. Shawn Langdon (1) 2,106 -43
6. SPENCER Massey (2) 2,094 -55
7. Khalid alBalooshi (2) 2,082 -67
8. JR Todd (1) 2,064 -85
9. Richie Crampton (2) 2,051 -98
10. Brittany Force 2,043 -106