POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 16, 2014) – Antron Brown and his Matco Tools Top Fuel team won a category-best six NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series races in 2014. While the Countdown to the Champion didn’t go the way the 2012 NHRA champions expected, the team finished the 2014 season with a solid weekend at the AAA Auto Club Finals at Pomona, Calif.
After a successful test session the Monday after the fall Las Vegas race two weeks ago, the Matco Tools team’s brain trust of Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald were comfortable working with a new clutch package and it paid off. Brown powered the Matco-backed rail to seven laps in the 3.7-second range at the historic Southern California drag strip.
“Not a bad weekend at all,” said Brown. “We ran really good in qualifying. We’re really happy. This is our new package that we’ll be running next year and we definitely gained a lot of data and knowledge on it. The Matco Tools/U.S. Army boys did a heck of a job. We just lost a good drag race. We went out there and put up a solid lap like we thought we needed to win. Morgan Lucas and (crew chief) Aaron Brooks just didn’t care. They don’t care. It seems like when we go up against them, they always throw low ET of the event down on us. We just can’t seem to line up next to them at the right time and take advantage of them. They got us this time and we’ll just go to work on it.”
Brown qualified in the No. 2 position at 3.720 seconds, the second quickest lap of his career, and dispatched Clay Millican and Dom Lagana before falling to event winner Morgan Lucas in the semifinals 3.707 to 3.742. Lucas posted an elapsed time of 3.704 seconds in the final round win over Brown’s DSR teammate and 2014 Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher en route to winning his second race of the season. Lucas’ final round ET was the second quickest in the sport behind Brown’s 3.701-second pass at Reading, Pa. in 2012.
“We’re so proud and hats off to our U.S. Army teammates for bringing that world championship home to DSR for an eighth time, wow,” Brown added. “That gives DSR 13 world championships.
“The way they finished the year is a strong statement and we feel like we should have been right there with them in today’s final. That would have been icing on the cake to race Tony and make it an all-DSR final.
“It feels good that all of our teams have been working together so well and the results are showing on the track. It just makes the future look brighter and brighter for all of us. DSR won five out of the six Countdown races and Tony had a chance to winning the sixth one, too. That would have been a sweet sweep for DSR to win all six Countdown races. We’ll go enjoy tomorrow’s award ceremony and then it will be right back to work at the shop this offseason. We all want to get back to our tip-top shape and come out hard to start next year.”
The Matco Tools team has now won six races in a season four times (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014).
Brown finished seventh in the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings.
The following are Antron’s results from the AAA Auto Club Nationals at Pomona:
Event winner: Morgan Lucas (Morgan Lucas Racing)
World champion: Tony Schumacher (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Richie Crampton (Morgan Lucas Racing), 3.711 seconds, 325.45 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying position: No. 2
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: BROWN (3.746 sec., 321.81) def. Clay Millican (5.927, 97.74); Quarterfinals: BROWN (3.742, 320.74) def. Dom Lagana (no time); Semifinals: Morgan Lucas (3.707, 325.45) def. BROWN (3.742, 320.74)
FRIDAY: 3.786 sec., 315.34 mph, (Session 1); 3.773, 318.62, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.757, 322.58, (Session 3); 3.720, 319.07, (Session 4)