COMMERCE, Ga. (May 17, 2015) – The Matco Tools team with driver Antron Brown accomplished a most impressive task throughout three days of the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
Led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, the Matco Tools team was the dominant car all weekend in the seventh event of the Mello Yello season. Antron drove the quickest car in each of four qualifying sessions and was never challenged in eliminations on Sunday.
“Friday, the first run out of the box it set the tone for the weekend,” Brown said. “We were able to build and get data on runs in those different temperatures. Brian and Mark and all of our Matco boys have been putting the work in, all of us together and this weekend it paid off.
“The track got really, really hot and it was tricky. Today we had every kind of condition like we had in qualifying. In every round we had to make a strategic move and the car did exactly what it was supposed to do. They were able to adapt to the different conditions today.
Brown defeated Shawn Langdon, Doug Kalitta, Terry McMillen and Leah Pritchett in the Atlanta heat to claim his second title of the year and 49th of his career and 33rd in Top Fuel. It is the sixth time he’s left Atlanta Dragway with an NHRA Wally Trophy including three times in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
The team, however, was nearly sidelined by an errant screw its left-rear tire picked up going from the pits to the staging lanes for the second round. But alert Matco tire specialist, Matt Sackman, just was doing his job when he discovered the rubber piercing item and the team was able to retrieve a new one and replace it with a few moments before the call went out to start engines.
“Out of all the teams I’ve been in racing with, I’ve had some really good teams, but when you take all the guys we have with Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, we have the brotherhood. It’s a family. There’s something to be said for that and the results showed that today.
“I couldn’t be prouder and more blessed to have a group of guys like I have right now. We are one unit and we don’t have names on our team, we’re the Matco gang. We put our heads down, we all work hard and put that effort in.
“We just took one step at a time and these guys are very thorough. The things that they caught could’ve cost us the race and that’s the making of the championship team. We know what it takes to win championships, we have to take it one race at a time, one round at a time. That’s what we do. We’re ready to get after it.
“I am just so blessed to be able to drive this car.”
Event winner: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.758 sec., 319.82 mph, (Session 2)
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 1
First round: BROWN (3.787 sec., 318.32) def. Shawn Langdon (3.936, 303.71)
Quarterfinals: BROWN (3.856, 315.56) def. Doug Kalitta (4.024, 272.89)
Semifinals: BROWN (3.915, 309.56) def. Terry McMillen (10.174, 67.45)
Final: BROWN (3.887, 310.48) def. Leah Pritchett (4.202, 260.41)
SATURDAY: 3.908 sec., 313.29 mph, (Session 3); 3.831, 316.30, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 3.786 sec., 320.28, (Session 1); 3.758, 319.82, (Session 2)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Unofficial through Atlanta; 7 of 24 races; DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS) POINTS BEHIND
1. ANTRON BROWN (2) 567 —
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 514 -53
3. SPENCER MASSEY (1) 475 -92
4. Doug Kalitta (1) 445 -122
5. Shawn Langdon (1) 437 -130
6. Richie Crampton (1) 427 -140
7. Larry Dixon 389 -178
8. Clay Millican 363 -204
9. Steve Torrence 360 -207
10. JR Todd 355 -212