Kent, Wash. (Aug. 8, 2015) – A couple keys to a successful, championship sports team are honest communications and admitting if a mistake was made.
No team on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing circuit exhibits those better than Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel team.
And it starts from the top with crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, and 2012 world champion driver Antron Brown.
A peculiar situation hit the Matco team early Saturday evening when it was paired with DSR teammate Tony Schumacher in the last of four qualifying sessions in the Northwest NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways near Seattle.
After both teams completed their burnouts and were ready to stage their cars at the starting line NHRA decided to shut them off after a very brief drizzle. Less than 5 minutes later, they were restarted and both made the run.
They were side by side approaching the finish line when Antron slowed and Schumacher proceeded to go 3.737 seconds to qualify No. 2 while Antron finished in 3.801 at 261.02 mph.
“It was my fault. I shut off early,” Antron said. “I thought something was wrong, and there turned out to be nothing wrong. The car was marching on a really good run. That’s a bummer, right there.
“That was some qualifying points we lost, and we could’ve moved up the ladder. But it is what it is. We’ll go out and race tomorrow and race strong with this Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster.”
The Matco team will start Sunday from the No. 8 position and face Shawn Langdon, the 2013 world champ, in the first round in its quest to win a second straight race and move closer to Schumacher, the points leader. Brown trails the reigning series champion by 47 points entering Sunday’s eliminations at Pacific Raceways.
No. 1 qualifier: Richie Crampton (Morgan Lucas Racing) 3.727 sec.-track record, 323.50 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 8
First round: BROWN vs. Shawn Langdon
SATURDAY: 3.803 sec., 316.15 mph, (Session 3); 3.801, 261.02, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 4.190, 207.91, (Session 1); 3.772, 314.39, (Session 2)