Brown, Matco Tools team miss fourth straight pole, but eye third NHRA win in four races on Sunday at Epping
EPPING, N.H. (June 13, 2015) – Antron Brown made drag racing history last Sunday near where he grew up in central New Jersey by collecting his 50th career NHRA win becoming just the 10th driver in the sport’s history to amass 50 Wally trophies.
Brown and his Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel team dominated the weekend in the Garden State winning from the No. 1 qualifying position for the second time in three races. While the Matco boys missed a fourth straight No. 1 qualifying award on Saturday at New England Dragway, they are confident they can win from the No. 6 qualifying position.
The Matco Tools team made two solid laps on Friday’s opening day of qualifying and briefly held the top spot at 3.784 secs., before five drivers, including DSR teammates Spencer Massey and pole-sitter Tony Schumacher, edged the Matco Tools driver’s quickest time of the weekend.
Brown’s most impressive pass of the weekend came on Saturday’s first pass when he used a tune-up from crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to power to a pass of 3.826, 320.74 in a sun-drenched race track that reached nearly 130 degrees. It was the quickest pass of the session earning the Matco team three bonus points and they followed that up in the final session by being the second best and earning two more bonus points.
“That’s the run we were looking for,” Brown said after his third qualifying pass. “I’ll tell you what, Brian, Mark and all the Matco boys just went to work. Yesterday was a good day for us, but we hurt a couple things on both runs. So that run right there went A to B. Everything looked good, the car felt strong, it was nice and smooth. And that was a pretty stout run in these conditions out here. So we just got to keep pushing. I know Brian and Mark are up there pushing their brains, just looking at different stuff. I’m just blessed to be on this team. It feels great.”
Brown and company are hungry for redemption at Epping following a tough loss last June. After earning his 36th career No. 1 qualifying position at a then track record elapsed time of 3.770, Brown was edged by Schumacher’s stellar .006 of-a-second reaction time in the second round of eliminations. A loss that still stings a year later.
“We felt like we missed one here last year at Epping,” Brown said. “We ran good, but we just got beat. It happens. This is a race that’s on our radar. We’re going to push hard. We want to win for all our Matco distributors here at Epping and for the Army’s birthday. We got the car back right on Saturday and we’re going to put our best foot forward and see if we can get it done here tomorrow.”
Brown has won a race at all but three tracks on the NHRA Mello Yello Series tour. New England Dragway is one of those tracks.
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 opponent: Larry Dixon
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)