MOHNTON, Pa. (Oct. 4, 2014) – Antron Brown always is busy with fans and friends when competing at NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events, but when he races at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa., his routine is off the chart.
It’s one of two events on the circuit close to his home near Trenton, N.J., and there’s no better time than when he’s able to be with his East Coast friends and family.
But when Sunday rolls around for championship eliminations of the 30th annual NHRA Nationals near Reading, Pa., Antron’s focus will narrow onto the Countdown to the Championship and his quest for a second NHRA Top Fuel world championship in three years.
After an uncustomary sluggish start in the first two of six events in the playoffs when he fell to eighth in points behind Don Schumacher Racing teammate and points leader Tony Schumacher, Antron and the Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald won the event title a week ago near St. Louis to move up to fourth in points.
Antron and the Matco team had a solid effort in qualifying at Maple Grove and will be seeded fifth for Sunday’s opening round of eliminations.
“It’s always important to go rounds,” said Antron, who is looking for his first win at Maple Grove. “That’s what we live for. We go out there and put our heads down and go into attack mode. There’s only three races left in the Countdown and we are just excited to be in that battle and that’s the main thing.”
Antron and the Matco team hold the NHRA elapsed time national record of 3.701 seconds set two years ago at Reading and Sunday’s forecast of a high temperature of 59 degrees under partly sunny skies could see that be broken.
“The track is definitely getting better. The track is really, really tight,” Antron said.
“The weather conditions at Reading right now are very similar to what we had in 2012 so we’re just excited about tomorrow because tomorrow is going to be even cooler, the track is going to be better. It’s going to get tighter and we’re going to be able to go out there and haul the mail. Our Tools for the Cause team is geared up and we’re ready to go into battle.”
No. 1 qualifier: Tony Schumacher (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.733 sec., 327.51 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 5
FIRST ROUND: BROWN vs. Khalid alBalooshi
FRIDAY: 3.853 sec., 316.01 mph, (Session 1); 3.792, 313.73, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.762, 323.20, (Session 3); 5.462, 123.16, (Session 4)