BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 28, 2014) – Antron Brown and his Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” Top Fuel team know it’s an uphill battle for them to win their second world championship in three years.
But the Don Schumacher Racing team has a lot on the line when racing begins Friday in the NHRA Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the 23rd of 24 events in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Antron trails DSR teammate and points leader Tony Schumacher by 170 points in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff. A perfect weekend for Mello Yello driver can produce 150 points and that means 300 can be earned over the last two events.
“It’s the U.S. Army team and Tony Schumacher’s championship to lose,” Antron said. “They are in a really good spot and all the other teams wish they could be in their spot. They have a good shot at winning it.
“We can’t worry about where the U.S. Army or any other team is; we have to go out do what we do and that’s race to the best of our ability.”
Antron knows it’s a longshot but his focus remains the same as always: the next event.
“We’re going out there and plan to tackle it like every other race we go to. We’ll get after it. We’ll go out and run as hard as we can and then let everything else fall where it falls.”
If he and the Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald are able to defend the title it won a year ago at Las Vegas, which was one of two the team won in the Countdown and the second Las Vegas title of his career, it would be Antron’s seventh of the season and surpass his career best of winning six Mello Yello titles three times in a season (2009, 2011, 2012).
“That would be huge and that’s what we’re shooting for,” Antron said. “We want to win Las Vegas and Pomona. That would be a good way to end the year.”
The 2012 world champion also wants to race his “Tools for the Cause” dragster as often as possible at Las Vegas to further expose the unique dragster to help Matco Tools assist the Susan G. Komen Foundation and breast cancer awareness.
Antron’s dragster featured a “Tools for the Cause” special pink paint scheme three weeks ago at the event near Reading, Pa., and will race with it this weekend at Las Vegas. The body features the names of 1,350 who have fought or are fighting breast cancer as part of Matco’s “I Drive For …” campaign. Names were submitted last month to Matco Tools’ Facebook (facebook.com/MatcoTools) and Twitter (twitter.com/MatcoTools) pages.
Antron is driving for his mother-in-law, Linda Matranga, a breast cancer survivor, as “I Drive For Linda” will adorn his firesuit and race car.
“October is a very important month to our series because it’s right in the middle of our Countdown (to the Championship) playoff, but October means even more to our Matco Tools team here at DSR,” Brown said. “My wife’s mother is a breast cancer survivor and this disease has affected our family as it has many others.
The Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” program has raised more than $425,000 for Komen, funding breast cancer research and lifesaving community programs.
DSR autograph session on ‘The Bridge’ at New York-New York
Don Schumacher Racing’s drivers will hold a special autograph session on Thursday on the bridge in front of the New York-New York Hotel and Casino from 6-8 p.m. to kick off the NHRA Toyota Nationals.
The free gathering provides fans with autograph cards for each driver including Antron Brown, Spencer Massey and Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel, and Ron, Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr. in Funny Car.
Antron Brown, Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” Top Fuel dragster
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 5th 22 6 2 4 2 8 3 0 39-16
CAREER 308 47 40 62 84 72 37 3 515-258
Best Time, Speed: 3.701*/** sec. (10- 8-12, Reading, Pa.); 328.78 mph (10-8-12, Reading)
* Quickest ever/** NHRA record
Last event (Oct. 3-5, Reading, Pa.): Qualified No. 5; lost in first round to Khalid alBalooshi
This April at Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 1; lost in semifinals to Tony Schumacher
2013 Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 6; defeated Clay Millican in championship round
Career at Las Vegas 2: Wins 1 (2013); Runner-ups 1 (2001); Poles 0
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 2 (2013, 2011); Runner-ups 4 (2013, 2012, 2008, 2001*); Poles 2 (2013, 2010); *PSM
NHRA Mello Yello championship standings
(Points through Reading; DSR drivers in CAPS)
Driver (wins) points behind
1. TONY SCHUMACHER (5) 2,462 —-
2. Doug Kalitta (2) 2,328 -134
3. Steve Torrence 2,319 -143
4. Shawn Langdon (1) 2,314 -148
5. ANTRON BROWN (6) 2,292 -170
6. J.R. Todd (1) 2,288 -174
7. SPENCER MASSEY(2) 2,273 -189
8. Khalid alBalooshi (2) 2,240 -222
9. Brittany Force 2,188 -274
10. Richie Crampton (2) 2,177 -285