POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2016) – The season-opening NHRA Winternationals will be deja vu for reigning and two-time Top Fuel world champion and Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel.
It will be the third straight event at Pomona, Calif., in a year when Brown faced DSR teammate and 2013 Top Fuel world champ Shawn Langdon.
And both times they met Pomona last year in the Winternationals and November’s NHRA Finals Langdon was the winner and both times it was in the championship round of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.
“It’s just like I always say about the year after you win a championship the slate is wiped clean when the new season begins, so this year my record is 0-0 against Shawn,” said Brown, who led Top Fuel with seven event titles and ran away with the championship.
“Our Matco boys will have to be on their ‘A’ game because there’s nothing tougher than racing one of our teammates, and I’ll have to be on my A-plus game at the line because Shawn is one of the best leavers out here.”
“We’re running Shawn which is something we don’t necessarily want to do in the first round. I think we’ll be really competitive for race day tomorrow. We didn’t qualify where we wanted but we did have a good lap that last time. It was a good lap, not a great one, and we’ve got something we can build on. Now it’s time to go to work and push hard.”
Brown qualified in the No. 7 spot based on his best run of the weekend’s four sessions with a time of 3.754 seconds at 322.73 mph on his last run Saturday after his Matco team did major repairs after an explosion near the finish line on the days first run.
“That (3.75) was the run we wish we would have made on the first lap today, but it dropped a hole (cylinder) on the hit and we blew up and that’s been kicking me in the butt because it did it at the hit and I just caused my guys a lot of extra work by staying in it.”
NHRA IS LIVE ON FOX FS1
A new era for the NHRA Mello Yello Series begins Sunday with the first of 17 live telecasts of championship eliminations on the Fox Network’s FS1 national sports channel.
No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (Torrence Racing), 3.703 sec., 328.06 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 7
SUNDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round opponent: Shawn Langdon
SATURDAY: 3.901 sec., 307.79 mph, (Session 3); 3.754 322.73, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 4.491, 173.34, (Session 1); 3.782, 315.05, (Session 2)