ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 20, 2014) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster team were able to escape a dramatic scenario when they worked there way up to the No. 13 qualifying position on the strength of a 3.874-second run at 316.45 mph in the next-to-last session qualifying session in the NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex outside of Dallas on Saturday.
The Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald won five of this year’s first 13 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events but has been mired in the slump in the two events leading into this weekend’s Texas event.
Sunday will be the fourth time in the past five events when the Matco team started in the bottom half of the 16-car field that cost them choice of the preferred lane for the first round. Each of those times when Antron was outside the top-eight with a lack of lane choice contributed first-round losses in the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend and last weekend near Charlotte.
But Antron is confident that his Matco crew has his dragster ready to win and the team’s performance on perhaps the hottest day of the season showed that.
“They were happy today. An 87 in the first session today when the conditions were hot and we could have done that on our last run but we were trying to run an 84 or 85. We were on our way to that and the car was marching before it pulled (the tires) loose past half track. That’s a simple fix.
“The car is back to doing what we want it to do. We’re feeling confident for tomorrow. We think we have our car back now. We’ll be good for tomorrow.”
“The left lane has been a little better this weekend but it will be anybody’s round tomorrow because both lanes will be good, especially in the first round after (NHRA) Safety Safari prepares them.”
No. 1 qualifier: J.R. Todd (Kalitta Motorsports), 3.761 sec. (track record), 317.87 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 13
FRIDAY: 4.914 sec., 147.55 mph, (Session 1); 3.830, 314.17, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.874, 316.45, (Session 3); 3.951, 291.57, (Session 4)
NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(includes Carolina Nationals)
TOP FUEL Points
1. TONY SCHUMACHER 2176
2. Doug Kalitta 2149
3. Steve Torrence 2133
4. Khalid alBalooshi 2122
5. SPENCER MASSEY 2114
6. ANTRON BROWN 2112
7. Shawn Langdon 2106
8. JR Todd 2064
9. Richie Crampton 2051
10. Brittany Force 2043