MOHNTON, Pa. (Oct. 4, 2015) – It’s been a year of performance milestones for Antron Brown and that trend continued on Sunday at the 31st annual Keystone NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.

Brown and his Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause”/U.S. Army team became the first nitro team in NHRA Countdown to the Championship history to win the first three races of the six-race playoff when Brown claimed the 54th win of his career. The win was his first in 18 tries at the track located about an hour west of where he grew up in New Jersey.

It also was his personal-best seventh NHRA Mello Yello Series win of the 2015 season. Brown has won six races in a season five times.

“This day was just a true blessing,” Brown said after his 12 straight NHRA round wisn to begin the Countdown. “That first round was a crap shoot and the thing I’m blessed to have on my side is (crew chiefs) Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with this entire Matco Tools team. They just did a great job and to win the first race out with the ‘Tools for the Cause’ colors is amazing.

“To go out there and do what we did today and go down that track with no runs on it, was a monumental statement. We didn’t get real greedy. We just kept running what we thought the track would hold. We just raced the track, not the other competitors and we were fortunate enough to come out with a win.”

After starting from the No. 12 position, Brown used a consistent tune-up from Corradi and Oswald to drive his bright pink rail to passes between 3.71 and 3.74 seconds. His slowest elapsed time was 3.742 in the opening round against Clay Millican. He also defeated Dom Lagana, Larry Dixon and DSR and U.S. Army Racing teammate Tony Schumacher in the final round.

When Brown and the Matco team won the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel championship they won 11 rounds in the Countdown. They already have 12 round wins with three races remaining on the 2015 NHRA schedule.

“The goal is to keep winning rounds,” Brown added. “That U.S. Army team with Mike Green, Neal (Strausbaugh) and Tony (Schumacher) are no joke. They go rounds. They made it to the final round again and we were able to get by them for the win and that was huge for us.”

Brown now leads Schumacher by 94 points. Third-place Brittany Force trails by 194.

Brown will visit Ohio Technical College as part of Matco’s Technical Education program on Tuesday before the NHRA Mello Yello Series is on hiatus until the series resumes Oct. 16-18 near Dallas.

Winner: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing
No. 1 qualifier: Brittany Force (John Force Racing) 3.725 sec., 331.53 mph

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools’ “Tools for the Cause”/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 12
First round: BROWN (3.742 sec., 321.50 mph) def. Clay Millican (8.482, 79.51)
Second round: BROWN (3.734, 323.77) def. Dom Lagana (3.785, 321.04)
Semifinals: BROWN (3.714, 325.45) def. Larry Dixon (3.719, 329.75)
Final: BROWN (3.717, 328.46) def. Tony Schumacher (no time)
Saturday: 11.54 sec., 103.52 mph, (Session 3); rained out, (Session 4)
Friday: both sessions rained out

2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS – Countdown to the Championship
(Unofficial after Reading; 3 of 6 in Countdown, 21 of 24 overall; DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS)                     POINTS BEHIND
1. ANTRON BROWN (7)          2432        —–
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (3)   2338        -94
3. Brittany Force                       2238      -194
4. Larry Dixon                           2234      -198
5. Richie Crampton (4)             2187      -245
6. JR Todd (1)                          2181      -251
7. Shawn Langdon (1)              2177      -255
8. Doug Kalitta (2)                    2173     -259
9. Steve Torrence (1)               2160     -272
10. Dave Connolly                    2158     -274