CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 21, 2015) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team is intent on defending the title it won a year ago at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix.

And the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world champion, who won a series-best six event titles last season, feels good about his chance to win the 47th NHRA Wally trophy and fourth at the Arizona track when racing begins Sunday in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Antron and the Matco team qualified fifth for Sunday eliminations and will have lane choice over rookie Dave Connolly, who previously competed in NHRA Pro Stock where he won 26 races.

“We are in a good spot, made it into the top of the field and we’re looking forward to tomorrow,” Antron said.

“Phoenix has been good to us. The weather has been terrific. The track has been in great shape, so tomorrow we’re going in knowing it’s going to be a tough matchup in the first round. We’re just going to get after it. With this Matco Tools/U.S. Army car we are feeling really good about our chances.

“The thing about it is no matter the round or the opponent the mindset never changes with our Matco team. Our crew chiefs Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) analyze then go out there and press for what the track can hold. If you don’t press, you end up seeing yourself on the outside looking in.”

Their perseverance paid off at the opener where the Matco team qualified 11th but rallied to advance to the championship round where they team lost a close race to Shawn Langdon.

Antron and his Matco team want to go another four rounds Sunday but with a better ending.

“It always builds motivation when you make a lot of runs on Sundays. We always want to be in contention and here at Phoenix lately we’ve been one of the cars in the hunt.

“It’s about improving and getting better with every run and we’re always learning and trying to grow. That’s why we’re always one of the teams at the end of the year fighting for the championship. That’s what we do week in and week out. Our theory doesn’t change, you’ve got to put the work in to get the results.”

No. 1 qualifier: Tony Schumacher (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.722 sec. (career best, track record), 325.61 mph

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
First Round: BROWN vs. Dave Connolly
SATURDAY: 3.788 sec., 316.01 mph, (Session 3); 5.100, 140.28, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 3.878, 252.19, (Session 1); 3.753, 318.69, (Session 2)