LAS VEGAS (Nov. 1, 2015) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team won its second Top Fuel world championship in four years on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and they enjoyed doing it this year more than in 2012.
The 2012 season ended with the Matco team dropping first-round races at the last two races and Antron had to watch as DSR teammate Tony Schumacher mounted a valiant end-of-the-year rally before losing in the championship round at the finale that gave Antron the championship by a scant seven points.
That changed Sunday when the Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason clinched the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series in the second round of the Toyota NHRA Nationals when they won and teammate and reigning world champ Tony Schumacher and Richie Crampton lost in the same round.
“When we got to Vegas the door was open and it feels good to shut the door on this 2015 season and get it over with,” said Brown, won a career-best seven titles this year with one to go. “It’s just so awesome to get it done and not be a nail-biter. This is the best story we have in our whole career.”
“I couldn’t be prouder and happier to do it with the guys on this Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota team led by (crew chiefs) Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald. Just incredible.
“We were greedy; we wanted to get the Toyota Nationals trophy and the big trophy. We’ll take the big one any day.
“We just feel really blessed to do it and to do it with my wife (Billie Jo) here. She was supposed to stay home (in Pittsboro, Ind.) and go trick-or-treating with our kids but she came with Daddy. That’s a big thing to pull mom away from the kids.”
The championship is the 14th for DSR.
“The next one is always sweeter,” Brown said. “The first is always great but the second one is greater.”
To clinch the championship, Antron needed to leave Las Vegas with a 151-point lead and he bettered that and will arrive in Pomona, Calif., in two weeks leading by 162 points in possession of the Mello Yello world championship trophy and DSR holding the $500,000 bonus.
Season champion: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing)
Winner: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports)
No. 1 qualifier: Brown (DSR), 3.722 sec., 326.95 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 1
SUNDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: BROWN (3.787 sec., 321.73 mph) def. Jenna Haddock (3.850, 311.63)
Second round: BROWN (3.786, 323.74) def. Dave Connolly (4.515, 173.23)
Semifinals: Doug Kalitta (3.774, 322.73) def. BROWN (3.786, 317.94)
SATURDAY: 3.798 sec., 324.36 mph, (Session 3); 3.748, 324.20, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 3.823, 319.22, (Session 1); 3.722, 326.95, (Session 2)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS – Countdown to the Championship
(Unofficial after Las Vegas 2; 5 of 6 in Countdown, 23 of 24 overall; DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS) POINTS BEHIND
1. ANTRON BROWN (7) champion 2588 —–
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (3) 2426 -162
3. Larry Dixon 2372 -216
4. Richie Crampton (5) 2356 -232
5. Brittany Force 2331 -257
6. Doug Kalitta (3) 2296 -292
7. Steve Torrence (1) 2289 -299
8. SHAWN LANGDON (1) 2275 -313
9. Dave Connolly 2271 -317
10. JR Todd (1) 2249 -339