ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 21, 2014) – This isn’t how Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster team wanted to go about winning their second NHRA world championship in three years.
But if any team can rebound over the last of four events in the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship it is the persistent, hard working team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald.
The team had another disappointing outing Sunday during the NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas when it lost for the third straight opening round in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series after qualifying 13th for the event.
Antron’s time of 3.876 seconds at 308.50 mph lost to reigning world champion Shawn Langdon’s 3.805 (321.10).
“Well it wasn’t what we wanted in the first round,” said Antron, who has won five event titles this season. “We had a good handle on it and we ended up smoking a (clutch) disc out of the car and it dropped a (cylinder).
“We worked real hard, the car had a great 60-foot time and it’s still within a hundredth at 330 feet. We thought we had Shawn’s number. The thing about it is, it just wasn’t our time.
“We knew we had a set up to go out there and run good and be real competitive with them. It just takes a little bit of wind out of you. We’ve been fighting other problems (with the car) and we got those problems fixed and then something else comes up and bites you.”
Antron started the day ranked sixth in Countdown points but fell to eighth and trails points leader and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher by 133 or 153 points.
The Matco team won’t have to wait long to get back on track. The Mello Yello Series moves on to Gateway Motorsports Park at St. Louis to race next weekend.
“We’re going to go back, we’re going to work hard and we won’t quit the fight,” Antron said. “We’re going to go into St. Louis and get Army Strong and next week we are going to give it all we’ve got and try to turn it around. We have four races left. We are just going to go out to these last four races with our guns blazing, that’s the game plan.
“With that said you just have to stay focused and put our attention on St. Louis. We got nothing to lose, we’re going to go out there and give it everything we’ve got.”
Brown couldn’t pick a better track to get on track. He’s won the last three NHRA events at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Event winner: Tony Schumacher (DSR)
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
FIRST ROUND: Shawn Langdon (3.805 sec., 321.10 mph) def. BROWN (3.876, 308.50)
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
(Unofficial points through Dallas; DSR drivers in CAPS)
Driver (wins) points behind
1. TONY SCHUMACHER (4) 2,296 —-
2. Steve Torrence 2,190 -106
3. Doug Kalitta (2) 2,189 -107
4. J.R. Todd (1) 2,168 -128
5. SPENCER MASSEY(2) 2,167 -129
6. Shawn Langdon (1) 2,161 -135
7. Khalid alBalooshi (2) 2,156 -140
8. ANTRON BROWN (5) 2,143 -153
9. Richie Crampton (2) 2,085 -211
10. Brittany Force 2,053 -243