Brown reaches semifinals of NHRA Mello Yello eliminations near Phoenix with strong performance from Matco Tools dragster
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 22, 2015) – Every race team wants to win whenever they put a car on the track and ignite the engine, but Antron Brown’s crew chiefs for his Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster take a broader approach.
Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald understand it’s a 24-race Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and their focus always is on the ultimate prize of winning world championships like the Matco team did in 2012.
But they also like to win NHRA Wally trophies like the six they collected last year to lead all Top Fuel teams.
This season started strong by advancing to the championship round. But on Sunday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix in the second race of the season, Antron advanced to the semifinals but lost to eventual event winner and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher.
“We ran really good,” Antron said. “We did a better job of qualifying like we wanted to. This is a work in progress. We want to be consistent, efficient and that last run we just ran into our teammate. We dropped a (cylinder) out there past half-track. We were ahead all the way until that, the U.S. Army boys are tough. We beat them in first round at Pomona two weeks ago and they got us here today. It’s going to be a battle like this all year long. We’ll lick our wounds. We’re just getting better.
“Once we keep this Matco Tools dragster on all eight (cylinders), we’ll be just fine. It didn’t wear (the clutch) like he wanted it to wear. We only went 288 mph to half-track because the clutch didn’t wear like Brian and Mark wanted it to. It’s one of those tough races where you lose by seven-thousandths of a second. With that being said, we still did a great job out here this weekend, we got some quality points and we’re going into Gainesville and try to do better and see if we can bring that Wally home.”
Event winner: Tony Schumacher (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Schumacher (DSR) 3.722 sec. (career best, track record), 325.61 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S Army Top Fuel Dragster
QUALIFIED: No. 5
First Round: BROWN (3.760, 318.92) def. Dave Connolly (3.782, 318.69); Quarterfinals: BROWN (3.742, 319.29) def. J.R. Todd (3.776, 311.05); Semifinals: Tony Schumacher (3.738, 325.53) def. BROWN (3.753, 319.45)
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)
NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
(after 2 of 24 events; DSR drivers in caps, bold)
1. Shawn Langdon, 200
2. ANTRON BROWN, 167
3. TONY SCHUMACHER, 165
4. Doug Kalitta, 155
5. SPENCER MASSEY, 130
6. Richie Crampton, 115
7. Larry Dixon, 106
8. J.R. Todd, 88
8. Steve Torrence, 88
10. Brittany Force, 85