BROWNSBURG, Ind. (May 12, 2015) – Antron Brown and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher have treated the top spot in the NHRA Top Fuel standings like a hot potato the past three events in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
And heading to this weekend’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., Antron with his Matco Tools/U.S. Army team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald Mason is ready to take it back with a firm grip.
Antron grabbed to No. 1 spot in the standings after winning the Four-Wide Nationals near Charlotte on March 29 and held it through the next race at Las Vegas despite losing the opening round, which is the earliest he’s exited this season.
But near Houston on April 26, he was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Schumacher, who advanced to the championship round and took the points lead after six of 24 events in the Mello Yello Series.
Antron, who owns 48 NHRA Wally trophies including 32 in Top Fuel and 16 in Pro Stock Motorcycle, fell to third after Houston but is only 37 points out of first while DSR teammate Spencer Massey jumped to second and is four points ahead of Antron.
DSR dragsters are not just ranked 1-2-3, but have won three of six titles including one by each driver, which also qualifies them for the $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Shootout on Sept. 5 during the U.S. Nationals.
Atlanta, however, has a different mojo for Antron than Schumacher.
While Antron has won there five times (three in Top Fuel and twice on a Suzuki) the venue is the only one of 18 tracks on the Mello Yello schedule where Schumacher has never won a title; considering he’s won a record 78 that says something.
“I’m not sure what that means,” Antron said.
“For me, I love Atlanta because it’s one of the closest races to where I grew up (in Chesterfield, N.J.) and it reminds me of one of the old school racetracks that I grew up around. When you go there it’s the history and environment that brings me back to when I was a little kid. The stands are really close to the track and a lot of old-school drag racers show up. It makes me feel like where it all started for me.
“It’s always been a good race track for me,” said Antron, who began competing in Top Fuel in 2007. “I distinctly remember winning there on the U.S. Army bike when I beat Andrew Hines in the final (2006). I remember getting my second Top Fuel Wally (with David Powers Motorsports) when I beat Tony on a holeshot (in 2008, a season when his future teammate and mentor at DSR won 15 of the 24 event titles). That was a huge deal because that was the era when no one was beating Tony.”
Even without his Atlanta successes – five event titles in six championship rounds – Atlanta would be a special place for Antron on the 24-event Mello Yello pro tour.
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event (April 26, Houston): Qualified No. 10; lost in quarterfinals to Tony Schumacher
A year ago at Atlanta: Qualified No. 3; lost in semifinals to Spencer Massey
Career at Atlanta: Wins 5 (2013, 2011, 2008, 2006*, 2001*); Runner-ups 1 (2003*); Poles 1 (2006*); * Pro Stock Motorcycle
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2015 3rd 6 1 1 2 1 1 0 0 11-5
CAREER 316 48 41 65 85 74 37 3 528-265
Best Time, Speed: 3.701 sec.-NHRA record (2012, Reading, Pa.); 328.78 mph (2012, Reading)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Through Houston; 6 of 24 races; DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS) POINTS BEHIND
1. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 474 —
2. SPENCER MASSEY (1) 441 -33
3. ANTRON BROWN (1) 437 -37
4. Shawn Langdon (1) 406 -68
5. Doug Kalitta (1) 390 -84
6. Richie Crampton (1) 374 -100
7. Steve Torrence 325 -149
8. Larry Dixon 318 -156
9. Clay Millican 312 -162
10. JR Todd 299 -175