MADISON, Ill. (Sept. 27, 2014) – Antron Brown snapped one streak and is eager to snap another.
When Antron and the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster team qualified sixth for Sunday’s championship eliminations of the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis, it marked the first time in four events that the team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald qualified in the top-eight of the field to earn lane choice in Sunday’s opening round.
Next on the list is to get past the first round to help propel the 2012 Top Fuel world championship team back into the hunt for its second world title in three seasons.
Antron, who has won 46 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series titles, was dominant during the 18-race regular season by posting five wins in the first 13 races and started the six-race Countdown to the Championship ranked second in points. But his recent dry spell over the Countdown’s first two events dropped him to eighth and 153 points out of the lead when he arrived at St. Louis.
But winning elimination rounds on Sunday could help him climb back into the chase.
“We’re just creeping along, going from one thing to the next, just pecking at it. That’s the way it’s got to be, I guess,” he said. “The thing about it is, (our car’s) coming back and it feels good when the plan comes together.
“When you start struggling, you have to start getting after it and the car is definitely responding by doing what it needs to do. Our heat-of-the-day run, we were trying to run really hard, probably harder than what the track would give us.”
The team responded with a run of 3.782 seconds at 319.14 mph that was its best of the weekend in the fourth and final qualifying session.
“We were pressing, that’s the reason we did what we did. We were trying to hit a home run out of the park on a hot day. When your car is running well, you can do that. So, we’re getting back in that realm.
“That’s what makes this racing so rewarding and yet so humbling, and that’s the way we look at it as a team.
“We could be on top of the mountain sometimes, and sometimes you could be at the bottom and have to dig your way back to the top of that mountain. We’re on our way and we’re getting back to our true form. Tomorrow’s the day and we’re looking forward to it.”
No. 1 qualifier: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports) 3.758 sec., 325.45 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 6
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
FIRST ROUND: BROWN vs. Brittany Force
FRIDAY: 3.870 sec., 316.60 mph, (Session 1); 3.796, 318.62, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 5.912, 108.19, (Session 3); 3.782, 319.14, (Session 4)