BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 27, 2015) – The only aspect of 2012 Antron Brown doesn’t want to relive from his NHRA Top Fuel world championship season was the drama that carried to the last run of the season.
He doesn’t want to stand by helplessly with his Matco Tools/U.S. Army teammates again and watch another driver in control of his destiny. That’s what happened three years ago after they watched what had been 136-point lead with two races left virtually disappear as Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher advanced to the championship round in the season-finale where a win would have given his team the championship.
But when Brandon Bernstein beat Schumacher it made Antron and the team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason the world champs by 13 points over their teammate.
When racing begins Friday in this weekend’s NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Antron and the pink Matco Tools’ “Tools for the Cause” dragster to benefit the Susan G. Komen foundation will be ranked No. 1 with a 132-point lead over – you guessed it – Schumacher.
Any NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series driver who can leave Las Vegas with a 151-point will also leave with the 2015 world title and his team will earn a $500,000 bonus as they head to Pomona, Calif., in two weeks for the season-finale.
“We’re not going to go out there and feel like we’re on ice or eggshells,” said Antron, who has a career-best seven event wins this year with a 46-15 record. “We’re going to have fun with it.”
What tightened the battle in 2012 were a pair of first-round losses by the Matco team at Las Vegas and Pomona that were caused my issues that rarely arise. And Antron said his Matco team would not let that history repeat this weekend.
“That year we had a clutch module that didn’t work at Las Vegas, just a wiring issue. Then a new fuel line broke when we were winning in the first round at Pomona.
“Since then we’ve been more prepared so we don’t have incidences like that that take us out of the game. We look over everything at least twice and that includes every wire, every gadget, every gidget; the little things that can plague you.”
Another area of improvement for the Matco team has been in qualifying where the team has been the No. 1 qualifier five times in 22 events.
“That sets you up for the first round on Sunday and gets you where you need to be.
“Now, we just to go out and execute.”
MEET DSR DRIVERS AT NEW YORK-NEW YORK
JAntron and his six Don Schumacher Racing teammates will be greeting NHRA fans in Las Vegas at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino on Thursday, Oct. 29 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. (PT) on the Brooklyn Bridge in front of New York-New York.
TOOLS FOR THE CAUSE
Las Vegas is this year’s last race for 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.
DSR, SEC CONTRIBUTING TO TOOLS FOR THE CAUSE
Don Schumacher’s Schumacher Electric Corp. and Don Schumacher Racing organizations have pledged a combined 10 percent from each DSR Mello Yello Series event title it wins during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
DSR and SEC, the world’s largest manufacturer of battery chargers, each will contribute 5 percent to the Matco Tools’ “Tools for the Cause” program to help the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Wins by DSR’s Antron Brown in Top Fuel and Jack Beckman in Funny Car two Oct. 4 near Reading, Pa., contributed $10,000 into the Tools for the Cause coffer.
Another $10,000 is on the line this weekend.
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Last event (Oct. 16-18, Dallas): Qualified No. 7; lost in semifinals to Richie Crampton
2015 Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 14; lost in first round Shawn Langdon
2014 Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 11; lost in first round to Leah Pritchett
Career at Las Vegas 2: Wins 1 (2013); Runner-ups 1 (2001-PSM); Poles 0
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 2 (2013, 2011); Runner-ups 4 (2013, 2012, 2008, 2001); Poles 3 (2014, 2013, 2010)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2015 1st 22 7 2 5 3 5 5 0 46-15
CAREER 332 54 42 68 86 78 42 3 563-275
Best Time, Speed: 3.680 sec.-first ever 3.6 (2015, Brainerd); 331.12 mph (2015, Brainerd)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS – Countdown to the Championship
(Official after Dallas; 4 of 6 in Countdown, 22 of 24 overall; DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS) POINTS BEHIND
1. ANTRON BROWN (7) 2505 —–
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (3) 2373 -132
3. Richie Crampton (5) 2302 -203
4. Brittany Force 2298 -207
5. Larry Dixon 2268 -237
6. Steve Torrence (1) 2254 -251
7. SHAWN LANGDON (1) 2236 -269
8. Dave Connolly 2219 -286
9. JR Todd (1) 2213 -292
10. Doug Kalitta (2) 2205 -300