BAYTOWN, Texas (April 30, 2016) – Taking it one step at a time is working out well for Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team. The two-time and reigning Top Fuel world champion is notorious for taking it all in stride and it’s paying off in this weekend’s NHRA SpringNationals near Houston.

The Matco Tools team lead by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald along with assistant Brad Mason qualified fifth for Sunday’s championship eliminations that begin at 11 a.m. (CT).

“I believe our Matco Tools/US Army team is very versatile just like our Army soldiers,” said Brown, who ranks second in Mello Yello Series points. “We take great pride in that. We are looking forward to race day because it’s going to be hot and tricky. We just have to keep on doing what we do and getting the most out of what the track is going to give us. I think that’s going to be the key for race day, to get down that track. It’s going to be a tough road.”

Track temperatures reached 130 degrees on Saturday afternoon but it was no problem for Brown and company that navigated the 1,000-foot course in 3.84 seconds at 310 mph during Saturday’s opening session. Humid conditions on Friday and sunny skies on Saturday threw many teams for a loop during qualifying but not the Matco Tools team.

“It’s really, really tough to go through all of these conditions,” Brown said of the humid conditions on Friday. “These are the wettest conditions we’ve faced all season. You’ve got to find other ways to make the power to make the car go and when it gets like this the track is just incredibly good. That’s why I have a smile on my face and we’re looking forward to race day tomorrow.”

The Matco Tools team was second best of Saturday’s opening session and improved to be the best of the final session with a 3.825-second lap.

“We’re definitely where we want to be. We are competitive every week and that’s what we strive for; to be very, very competitive and of course to win races. That’s why we show up. We don’t show up just to be here. I feel very fortunate to be part of this team. We are a versatile race team that can adapt to all different situations. And that’s what we plan to do this weekend.
We’ve adapted to everything that has been thrown at us and we’ve been doing good.”

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series fans flocked to the track 30 miles east of Houston despite an early morning forecast that called for an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms. Fans were treated to clear blue skies in the afternoon.

“There’s something to be said out here for these Houston NHRA drag racing fans. There are some true NHRA fans. That’s what makes our sport so great. These fans have a passion for our sport just like we do. It’s always a pleasure to come out here and race.”

No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (CAPCO Contractors) 3.724 sec. (track record), 329.42 mph

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 5
First round: BROWN vs. J.R. Todd
SATURDAY: 3.849 sec., 310.20 mph (Session ); 3.825, 313.88, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 3.781 sec., 321.58 mph, (Session 1); 3.759, 321.53, (Session 2)