POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2015) – A former Olympic class sprinter, Antron Brown knows the importance of getting off to a fast start.

But a year ago at the NHRA Circle K Nationals at Pomona, Calif., Antron and the Matco Tools Top Fuel team qualified third before getting upset in the first round. Despite that disappointing start, the team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald rebounded to win five of the next 12 event titles to finished the year with a series-best six NHRA Wally trophies.

Antron, however, doesn’t plan another false start when racing begins 11 a.m. (PST) Sunday at Auto Club Raceway.

“It’s very important to have a good start,” said Antron, who won the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world championship and owns 47 event titles including 31 in Top Fuel.

“The race season is long but you want to have success at the start of the season because it helps you build momentum and get going early. The thing about Pomona is, it hasn’t been that nice to us at the first race of the season. With that being said, we always qualify well here and we’ve gone to the semifinals and finals but just haven’t been able to get the job done.

“Tomorrow is a whole new day, we’ll see what it holds for us.”

Antron is seeded 11th for the opening round of Sunday’s eliminations with a best time of 3.803 seconds 313.73 mph. He’s won the NHRA Finals but has been shut out at the NHRA Winternationals. The Matco Tools team will have a tough first round opponent in Don Schumacher Racing teammate and reigning Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher.

“We’ve been trying different things and we haven’t had things happen the way we want them to happen, but that ‘s just how Top Fuel is. The way we beat that resistance is with some persistence. We’re going to keep on pushing.”

No. 1 qualifier: Shawn Langdon (Alan Johnson Racing), 3.700 sec. (quickest ever, track record), 328.30 mph

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 11
FIRST ROUND: BROWN vs. Schumacher
SATURDAY: 3.874 sec., 295.72 mph, (Session 3); Session 4, rained out
FRIDAY: 4.351, 188.52, (Session 1); 3.803, 313.73, (Session 2)