MORRISON, Colo. (July 26, 2015) – Running a 10,000-horsepower, nitromethane-fueled race car at nearly 6,000 feet above sea level is a trying task for NHRA crew chiefs. Probably more difficult than getting batters out at nearby Coors Field.
Antron Brown and his Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel team undoubtedly felt like a starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies this weekend at the Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Brown, who remained second in the Mello Yello Top Fuel standings, only made one full pass in four qualifying session placing the 2012 NHRA champion eighth in the 16-car field. That positioned Brown against J.R. Todd in the first round as the final pair of dragsters to battle the hot Bandimere track on Thunder Mountain. And when Brown’s Matco/Toyota rail dropped an engine cylinder early in the run that was enough for Todd to score the win by about three-hundredths of a second.
“Denver didn’t go the way we wanted to, but we learned a lot to take away for when we come back next year,” Brown said. “The best thing is that we’ll come back with a better game plan next year for the Mile-Highs. Now we’re focused on Sonoma (Calif.). We have two more races on this Western Swing and we’re hungry and determined. We’re eager to get to Sonoma and to sea level and get back to running how we know we can.
Brown and crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald have seen a great deal of success at Sonoma Raceway, the second stop on the grueling Western Swing where they have three wins in five championship rounds.
“We’ll attack that first qualifying session and that’s really important to set the tone for the weekend,” Antron said. “We like winning and we’ve done well at Sonoma. Denver put a bad taste in our mouth and we’re motivated. We’ll turn the page and get to Sonoma and hit it hard.
“We want to go rounds. There’s a lot of racing left before the points are reset after Indy for the (six-race) Countdown to the Championship.
“We need to run strong at Sonoma and Seattle and at Brainerd too before we get to Indy. A whole bunch could change at Indy with the extra points at the U.S. Nationals. Our focus is to keep going rounds and gaining points and we want to peak going into the Indy and the Countdown.”
DON SCHUMACHER RECEIVES ‘MOPAR PRESIDENT’S AWARD’
NHRA hall-of-fame drag racer, Funny Car pioneer Don Schumacher was presented the “Mopar President’s Award,” a special honor to reward the outstanding contributions by a brand ambassador that upholds the qualities and values that add to Mopar’s legacy and reputation.
Ross McGinnis, Vice President Mopar Sales & Product Development, and Tricia Hecker, Head of Mopar Marketing, had the pleasure of presenting Don Schumacher the award on behalf of Mopar President and CEO Pietro Gorlier.
The Mopar President’s Award was created to recognize motorsport pioneers and legends who have been affiliated with Mopar throughout their career.
Previous recipients of the Mopar President’s Award include Allen and Roy Johnson (2013), the man regarded as the “Father of the HEMI,” Tom Hoover (2014), and drag racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits (2015).
The following are DSR results from the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals:
Event winner: Steve Torrence (Torrence Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Larry Dixon (Bob Vandergriff Racing) 3.791 sec.-track record, 326.63 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
QUALIFIED: No. 8
First round: J.R. Todd (3.968 sec., 305.56 mph) def. BROWN (3.991, 302.89)
SATURDAY: 4.389 sec., 197.91 mph, (Session 3); 4.034, 235.10, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 8.251, 82.81, (Session 1), 3.878, 311.05, (Session 2)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Unofficial after Denver; 14 of 24 races; DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS) POINTS BEHIND
1. Tony Schumacher 1,126 —
2. Antron Brown 1,041 – 85
3. Larry Dixon 920 -206
4. Doug Kalitta 880 -246
5. Richie Crampton 848 -278
6. Spencer Massey 788 -338
7. Brittany Force 762 -364
8. Shawn Langdon 748 -378
9. Steve Torrence 728 -398
10. JR Todd 703 -423