BAYTOWN, Texas (April 25, 2015) – Chaotic is the best word Antron Brown could come up with to describe his past few weeks but he doesn’t hesitate to say he would do everything all over again.
Since taking over the Top Fuel points lead last month near Charlotte in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the driver for Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco Tools/U.S. Army has crisscrossed the country from his home near Indianapolis to the West Coast to participate in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity street-course race in Southern California on the eve of the Long Beach Grand Prix.
“I’m glad I was able to be part of all the events around the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race,” he said despite an 11th-place finish after caught up in a crash with NFL and Olympic star Willie Gault.
“I made so many friends doing that. I hope I can go back next year.”
And he’s made a new one this week.
After a couple days at home with his family, he flew to Dallas to be part of a documentary featuring noted English actor Idris Elba, who starred in highly popular movies “Nelson Mandela”
and “Thor,” along with a major role in the HBO series “The Wire.”
Antron has served as driving coach for Elba, whose documentary features him tackling challenges such as becoming licensed to drive a 160-mph Super Comp dragster for the untitled program that will be seen worldwide including the United States this summer on the Discovery Channel.
“Antron is an ultimate gentleman and sports personality who has let me sort of infiltrate his team to get ready for my big match and have the time to be my mentor, an absolute novice to drag racing,” Elba said of competing in a special Super Comp race during this weekend’s NHRA SpringNationals near Houston.
“He’s been so focused and dedicated to helping me achieve my goal for this documentary. He’s kind, sweet man, very, very funny and a great professional driver. I hope this is a long relationship with him.”
On Sunday, Antron and his Matco Tools/U.S. Army team will shift focus 100 percent to defending its SpringNationals title and padding its Top Fuel points lead in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
The Matco team is still learning their hot weather tune-up that will be crucial for Sunday’s eliminations with the weather forecast calling for temperatures in the high-80’s.
“We’re still making progress and that’s the most important thing,” said Brown. “That’s why I have a smile on my face. We learned from all four runs, and I have the best fixers in the game. This team is still adjusting to a new package. I know Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) saw what the car did. We’re hoping that we can keep on making gains on this and be in position to win some races. We’ll just come back out tomorrow pretty to close to where we in that last session with a few adjustments go after it.”
The team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald qualified 10th for Sunday’s championship eliminations, which are scheduled to air live from 2 to 5 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2. If Antron and DSR teammate Tony Schumacher of the U.S. Army team win their opening races they would meet in the quarterfinals.
Antron holds a three-point lead heading to Sunday.
“If we both get to the second round it will be a battle for the points lead and that’s important to us both,” Antron said. “We hate racing our teammates but that happens because DSR wins a lot.
“We’ll just go out there and race the track and hope to keep the points lead and defend out title.”
No. 1 qualifier: Spencer Massey (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.734 sec., 330.07 mph; track records (Friday, second session)
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 10
First round opponent: Dave Connolly
SATURDAY: 6.952 sec., 93.69 mph, (Session 3); 4.569, 170.58, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 4.536, 175.57, (Session 1); 3.782, 314.02, (Session 2)