BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 23, 2015) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald didn’t leave Brainerd International Raceway with the winner’s trophy but enjoyed a very successful weekend nonetheless.
En route to advancing to the semifinals Sunday, Brown cut into Don Schumacher Racing teammate and Top Fuel points leader Tony Schumacher in large part due to 20 bonus points earned by setting an NHRA record with an elapsed time of 3.680 seconds in the rain-delayed first round to become the first to break the 3.7-second barrier. His run of 3.696 in the next round was within 1 percent of his opening run that earned his team the record worth 20 bonus points.
Antron broke his national record of 3.701 seconds set in 2012 near Reading, Penn.
The Matco team will go into the NHRA U.S. Nationals in two weeks trailing Schumacher by 53 points in the Mello Drag Racing Series.
“You know what, it’s just a great day to be out here,” said Antron, who has won four times this year and cut 34 points off Schumacher’s lead from the start of the weekend.
“Very seldom do you get conditions like this. We were just pushing it every round, we wanted to see what the track could hold so when we get in these kind of conditions later in the year we’ll know what to do. We’re looking for the edge.
“I’m just really stoked and really happy for our whole Matco Tools team because the car was doing exactly what they wanted it to do. We were the first ones in the 3s and the first in the 3.6s here with the national ET record. The main thing is we picked up points on our teammate Tony with the US Army car right in front of us. We just want to get close to them and have a shot at getting that No. 1 spot and those extra 30 point as the points leader when the Countdown (to the Championship) starts.
“We want to grow from every run and if we can do that it’ll put us in the position that we need to be to be competitive and go after that championship over the last six races in the playoff. We’re on par for that now. We know we can run in the 3.60s.
“You have to push the envelope and see what you’re capable of because it’s only going to pay off. If you’ve never done it and you don’t try it’s going to bite you at the end. That’s what we’re doing and we did it twice. I’m just proud of my boys for sticking to their guns and doing everything they wanted to do. We learned from it and we can improve on it.”
The Matco team and others in the Mello Yello Series will test Wednesday and Thursday at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis.
The following are results for Antron from Brainerd International Raceway:
Winner: Richie Crampton (Morgan Lucas Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Richie Crampton (Morgan Lucas Racing), 3.718 sec.-track record; 323.50 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 7
First round: BROWN (3.680 sec.-national record/first ever sub 3.7, 331.12 mph-personal best) def. J.R. Todd (3.703, 330.88)
Quarterfinals: BROWN (3.696, 321.12) def. SCHUMACHER (11.914, 74.29)
Semifinals: Brittany Force (3.738, 299.73) def. BROWN (8.025, 90.64)
SATURDAY: 3.757, 321.73, (Session 3); rained out, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 6.36, 102.42, (Session 1); 3.813, 317.42, (Session 2)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Unofficial after Brainerd; 17 of 24 races; DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS) POINTS BEHIND
1. TONY SCHUMACHER (3) 1,348 —–
2. ANTRON BROWN (4) 1,295 -53
3. Richie Crampton (4) 1,093 -255
4. Larry Dixon 1,086 -262
5. Doug Kalitta (2) 956 -392
6. Shawn Langdon (1) 951 -397
7. Brittany Force 943 -405
8. JR Todd (1) 929 -419
9. Steve Torrence (1) 891 -457
10. SPENCER MASSEY (1) 888 -460