MADISON, Ill. (Sept. 27, 2015) – Two things no one expects Antron Brown to do: lose in St. Louis and be speechless.
And the popular driver of Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco Tools/U.S. Army team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald didn’t disappoint those expectations of fans Sunday at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Antron won his fourth straight Midwest NHRA Nationals title near St. Louis and the second NHRA Wally trophy in consecutive weekends in the second of six events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing.
He succinctly summed up his success at Gateway and early in this year’s Countdown to the Championship.
“Just two words: truly blessed,” he said.
“When they brought this track back (in 2012), they brought it back better than ever.
“To get a win here, to go four rounds, it’s just an incredible day and makes you kind of speechless thinking about the type of team I have. From Mark, Brian, all of our Matco boys. They just do an incredible, incredible job and they’re marching right now.”
The win the team’s sixth in 20 events this season. It ties the most Antron has won in one Mello Yello season, and he has done that five times.
The victory is the 10th of the year and 264th since 1970 for DSR. The combined total of wins this season (14 in Funny Car and 10 in Top Fuel) is the most won in one season by DSR.
Brown, who has won 53 Mello Yello races including 37 in Top Fuel, extended his championship points lead 77 over DSR teammate Tony Schumacher, who lost in the quarterfinals.
“We’re just off to an incredible start,” Antron said. “It’s just crazy how tough it is out here right now, and it just feels good to sneak out of here with another win.
“You have to push it to the next level every round. I got my butt kicked by (Gateway runner-up Dave) Connolly in the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and that woke me up. After that, I’ve just been going to work, putting my head down and my boys have been pushing me. We’ve been doing it round by round and we’re just going to see how long we can ride this roller coaster.”
The Mello Yello series moves to Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa., next weekend for the third event in three straight weekends.
Winner: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (Torrence Racing) 3.718 sec.-track record, 328.22 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 2
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: BROWN (3.767 sec., 322.19 mph) def. Terry McMillen (3.846, 322.19)
Second round: BROWN (3.727, 324.28) def. Shawn Langdon (3.759, 326.87)
Semifinals: BROWN (3.733, 322.88) def. Billy Torrence (3.761, 327.11)
Final: BROWN (3.721, 325.92) def. Dave Connolly (3.753, 328.94)
Saturday: 3.765 sec., 322.96 mph, (Session 3); 3.736, 321.96, (Session 4)
Friday: 3.792, 321.50, (Session 1); 4.606, 165.72, (Session 2)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Unofficial after St. Louis; 20 of 24 races; 2 of 6 playoff races DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS) POINTS BEHIND
1. ANTRON BROWN (6) 2,320 —–
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (3) 2,243 -77
3. Larry Dixon 2,161 -159
4. Brittany Force 2,157 -163
5. JR Todd (1) 2,149 -171
6. Doug Kalitta (2) 2,139 -181
7. Richie Crampton (4) 2,133 -187
8. Dave Connolly 2,127 -193
9. Steve Torrence (1) 2,127 -193
10. SHAWN LANGDON (1) 2,126 -194