Brown and the Matco Tools team retain points lead despite early loss at NHRA New England Nationals at Epping
EPPING, N.H. (June 14, 2015) – A famous author once penned about the best of times and the worst of times and that may be a bit dramatic to describe 2012 NHRA champion Antron Brown’s run of late, but what a difference a week does make for the points-leading Matco Tools Top Fuel team on Sunday at the New England Nationals.
One week after what might have been the most emotional victory of his lengthy NHRA career when Brown won his first Top Fuel race at Englishtown, N.J., in front of many family members and friends, Brown’s Sunday at New England Dragway ended before the clock struck noon.
Brown qualified the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster sixth with a solid 3.784-second lap on Friday evening and earned five bonus points in qualifying on Saturday afternoon after posting the quickest lap of the day in the third qualifying session at 3.826, so it was a surprise to the Matco Tools flagship driver when his consistent rail pulled the tires loose in the right lane at New England Dragway.
“We got back on it, but there wasn’t anything we could do, (Larry) Dixon and those guys just made a great lap,” Brown said after his car smoked the tires for the first time in 13 passes. “We anticipated the track being a lot better than what it was here at Epping. You can see that first round caught a lot of teams off guard. Hey, that’s racing. We’ll move on from this and keep our heads down with Matco Tools and for the U.S. Army and get ready for Bristol.”
It was the first time since the opening round eliminations at Heartland Park Topeka last month that Brown’s Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald-tuned Matco rail failed to make a full pass down the 1,000-foot course.
“Our car ran really good in the heat here in qualifying and it will probably be hot at Bristol next weekend, so we’re confident,” Brown added. “It wasn’t our day for the Matco Tools team. Yeah, we’re upset. We want to win. We wanted to win for our Matco distributors here at Epping and for our Army soldiers on the Army’s 240th birthday. We’ll turn the page and move on to the next chapter at Bristol and dig deep to get back on the winning track and go into attack mode.”
Even with the Epping setback, Brown maintains a 33-point lead over DSR teammate Tony Schumacher following 10 of 24 races on the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Series schedule. The tour resumes next weekend at scenic Bristol Dragway.
Event winner: Tony Schumacher (DSR)
No. 1 qualifier: Tony Schumacher (DSR) 3.742 sec. (track record), 324.12 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualifying position: No. 6
First round: Dixon (3.785, ) def. BROWN (4.149, 236.38)
FRIDAY: 3.858 sec., 314.17 mph, (Session 1), 3.784, 316.30, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.826, 320.74, (Session 3), 3.879, 311.92, (Session 4)
2015 NHRA Mello Yello Points Standings
(Unofficial, following Epping, 10th of 24 events)
Driver (wins) Points Behind
1. ANTRON BROWN (3) 790 —
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (2) 757 -33
3. SPENCER MASSEY (1) 657 -133
4. Richie Crampton (2) 640 -150
5. Larry Dixon 600 -170
6. Doug Kalitta (1) 587 -203
7. Shawn Langdon (1) 568 -222
8. Brittany Force 551 -239
9. JR Todd 491 -299
10. Clay Millican 479 -311