BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 13, 2015) – As a standout collegiate sprinter, Antron Brown never looked to the runners in lanes next to him. His mental blinders would keep him focused 100 percent on the reaching the finish line as quickly as possible.
That is the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world champion’s approach to this weekend’s NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas, and it will be for the following two races in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoff.
What the Matco Tools’ “Tools for the Cause” Top Fuel dragster team has accomplished through 21 events this year is out of the minds of Antron, crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason and the Matco crew.
Antron’s has a career-best seven event wins this year that has moved his career total to 54 including 38 in Top Fuel since joining the category in 2008. Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco team set the Top Fuel elapsed time record of 3.680 seconds in August at Brainerd, Minn., when it also produced its first 330-mph run. The team takes a 44-14 record in eliminations to Dallas where he won his first NHRA Wally trophy in 1999 while competing in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category.
The Matco team won two weeks ago near Reading, Pa., to become the first nitro team in the nine-year history of the six-race playoff to win the first three Countdown titles and arrives at the Motorplex with a 94-point lead over Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher.
“It was huge for us to get that win there,” he said of the track near his hometown of Chesterfield, N.J., where he won for the first time. “You know, this year has been kind of crazy because we’ve been winning at the tracks that we normally don’t win at. Our team is just in that element right now where we’ve got that full mindset of focus where we’ve been hungry all year long, and we’ve been in attack mode. We’ve been attacking every race.
“What we tend to do is just focus on the things that are right in front of us.
“You’re only going to be as good as what you’ve prepared yourself to be. There’s no magic switch to switch on. There’s no extra adrenaline to kick up here. You’ve got to go in there already ready like you’ve been practicing all year for this, and that’s what our team has been doing.
“The higher stakes, if you’ve prepared yourself for it, you’re able to handle and adapt to it a lot quicker and better. We go out there and do what we know how to do and prepare for it before it comes.”
He has added motivation this weekend to race all four rounds on Sunday to bring more attention to his pink Matco Tools’ “Tools for the Cause” dragster to further awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month and Matco’s program to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen foundation. His rail is adorned with the names of 262 people submitted by Matco Tools distributors, employees and field personnel affected by breast cancer.
“My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor, so this cause is very close to my family. I am so honored to take the names of 262 fighters down the track with me this month.”
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools’ “Tools for the Cause”/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster
Last weekend at Reading, Pa: Qualified No. 12; won in championship round against Tony Schumacher
A year ago at Dallas: Qualified No. 13; lost in first round to Shawn Langdon
Career at Dallas: Wins 2 (1999-PSM; 2012-TF); Runner-up 0; Poles 0
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2015 1st 21 7 2 4 3 5 5 0 44-14
CAREER 331 54 42 67 86 78 42 3 561-274
Best Time, Speed: 3.680 sec.-first ever 3.6 (2015, Brainerd); 330.88 mph (2015, Brainerd)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS – Countdown to the Championship
(Official 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