BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Nov. 10, 2015) – If anyone believes Antron Brown and his Matco Tools/U.S. Army team won’t be hungry to win this weekend because they clinched the 2015 Top Fuel world championship 10 days ago, then they don’t know Antron and the members of his team.
“Even though we have won the world championship – that’s all said and done – people may think that our work is done, but our work’s not done. It’s not complete yet,” Antron said. “We have one more race on the table.”
That race is this weekend’s Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona, Calif., in the last of 24 events of the NHRA Mello Yello Series season. The Matco team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason arrive at Pomona with an insurmountable lead of 162 points over Don Schumacher Racing teammate and reigning world champion Tony Schumacher.
“The thing about it is, we’re still in competition. We’re still trying to make a little bit more history before this year’s out,” Antron said. “I mean, we would love to end the year on a win. The only difference is, there’s no strategy involved in this last race. We’re not worried about the qualifying points. We can go out there and have some fun with it, go, alright, in our gauge the track says it can hold a (3.71). Maybe we can go out there and say, let’s see if we can run a .69. You get what I mean? Now we have the leeway to push it even harder, don’t have to worry about what happens afterward. You don’t have to worry about tap dancing or doing strategy anymore.
“Now we can go in there and let our hair down, but I don’t have no hair to let down, so we’ll give it all we got, have some fun with it, go out and be aggressive. The weather’s going to be right and it’s going to be fast enough to go out there and throw down.”
This season has been a record-setter for Antron, the 2012 Top Fuel world champion, and his Matco mates.
They have won seven NHRA event titles that is one more than Antron’s previous career best that he accomplished four times.
They became the first Top Fuel dragster to crack into the 3.6-second range and hold the NHRA elapsed time record at 3.680 set on Aug. 23 at Brainerd, Minn. Antron also recorded the fastest run of his career, a 331.12-mph blast also at Brainerd.
Adding to those accomplishments are five No. 1 qualifying runs en route to posting a record of 48-16 in Sunday elimination rounds.
And they won their second world championship in four years.
“The first one’s always going to be sentimental because it’s your first one. You finally as a team, a collective group, figure out how to get the job done by winning that championship. Now the second one, we knew what was at task because what makes the second one so sweet, it makes it better than the first, is that the competition has evolved. The class as a whole has gotten extremely competitive where we went from probably six to eight teams that were capable of winning races to now we have about 14 to 16 teams that can win races.
“Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald, our whole Matco Tools team went out there and had a game plan from the beginning of the year to attack. We’re going to attack every race like it’s a Countdown race. We knew we were going to have some mishaps and hiccups here and there, but we treated it as such. We grew. We were just priming ourselves for when the Countdown started. We were able to make the necessary adjustments and peak at the right time like we wanted to.”
The Matco team became the first in a nitro category to win the first three of six Countdown to the Championship playoff races to add to the lead it held after the 18-race regular season.
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster – 2015 WORLD CHAMPION
Last event (Nov. 1, 2015, Las Vegas 2): Qualified No. 1; lost in second round to Doug Kalitta but clinched second world championship
2015 Winternationals: Qualified No. 11; lost in championship round to Shawn Langdon
Career at Pomona Finals: Wins 3 (1999-PSM, 2009-10); Runner-ups 1 (2004-PSM); Poles 0
Career at Pomona: Wins 3; Runner-ups 4; Poles 2
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2015 1st 23 7 2 6 3 5 5 0 48-16
CAREER 333 54 42 69 86 78 42 3 565-276
Best Time, Speed: 3.680 sec.-national record, first ever 3.6 (2015, Brainerd); 331.12 mph (2015, Brainerd)
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) 2588 —–
BELOW ARE ELIMINATED FROM CONTENTION
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 2249 -339