POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2015) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel team opened the big present two weeks ago when they clinched their second the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship and nearly added a pretty bow to it on Sunday.
The seven-time winners in the 2015 season advanced to the championship round of the Auto Club NHRA Nationals at Pomona, Calif., and fell short to defeating Don Schumacher Racing teammate Shawn Langdon in the championship round.
But it was hard for Antron to be too disappointed with a season that produced a career-best total of wins and equaled a career-mark No. 1 qualifying positions after he won the Pomona pole on Saturday.
In the final, the Matco team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald produced a stellar run of 3.732 at 321.73 mph but it wasn’t enough to beat Langdon’s 3.715 at a track record 332.43 mph.
“It was a good drag race there against Shawn,” Antron said. “What can you say – five-thousandths of a second at the line.
“It was a beautiful year. As far as the season is concerned, hey, we did everything we wanted to do and we’re just so happy and grateful that everything turned out the way it did.
“I’ve been super stoked about all of our guys, all of our team, all of our great partners this year – Matco Tools, the U.S. Army, Toyota. It feels good to bring the championship home.
“We end the year with a Countdown that was pretty tight with three wins, a couple of semifinals and a runner-up, that’s just a stellar year and just a stellar Countdown and we’re just super stoked.”
In a year of personal bests for Brown, the Matco team earned 51 round wins equaling the most in one season for Brown, while collecting 19 round wins during the Countdown to the Championship playoff, the second most behind DSR and U.S. Army Racing teammate Tony Schumacher’s 20 in 2008.
Winner: Shawn Langdon (Don Schumacher Racing)
World champion: Antron Brown (DSR)
No. 1 qualifier: Brown (DSR) 3.721 sec., 326.71 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 1
First round: BROWN (3.725 sec., 323.58 mph) def. Cory McClenathan (5.391, 128.81)
Second round: BROWN (3.728, 326.40) def. Steve Torrence (redlight)
Semifinals: BROWN (3.728, 326.40) def. Richie Crampton (10.354, 81.71)
Final: Shawn Langdon (3.715, 321.73) def. BROWN (3.732, 321.73)
SATURDAY: 3.755 sec., 322.81 mph, (Session 3); 3.721, 326.71, Session (4)
FRIDAY: 6.261 sec., 103.71 mph, (Session 1); 3.758, 324.90, (Session 2)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO TOP FUEL STANDINGS – Countdown to the Championship
(Unofficial final; 6 of 6 in Countdown, 24 of 24 overall; DSR drivers in CAPS)
Driver (Wins) Points Behind
1. ANTRON BROWN (7) 2692 —–
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (3) 2461 -231
3. Richie Crampton (5) 2430 -262
4. Larry Dixon 2412 -280
5. Doug Kalitta (3) 2388 -304
6. SHAWN LANGDON (2) 2387 -305
7. Brittany Force 2363 -329
8. Steve Torrence (1) 2342 -348
9. JR Todd 2307 -383
10. Dave Connolly 2303 -389