Brown looking to repeat ’15 Atlanta, Mello Yello series performances with another Southern Nationals title to regain points lead for Matco
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (May 10, 2016) – There are some places on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour that will bring a smile to Antron Brown. Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., is one of them.
Of Brown’s 55 career event titles, six have come near Atlanta (four in Top Fuel and two in the Pro Stock Motorcycle), including last year’s Top Fuel title that propelled Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald into the Top Fuel points lead and eventually their second world championship in four years.
The Matco Tools/U.S. Army team enters this weekend’s 36th annual NHRA Southern Nationals ranked third in points, less than one-round win behind leader Brittany Force.
“We’re really looking forward to getting to Atlanta,” Brown said. “That’s definitely one of our favorite racetracks to go to with the air quality there. Atlanta has been very good to me, it has just been one of those tracks that we seem to do well at. It’s just a unique place. It feels old school. It reminds me of those racetracks I grew up around. I think it’s just got that East Coast feel, the historical roots of drag racing, that makes it so special.
“But it’s also a challenging track. It can be really cool and fast at nighttime yet during the daytime it can get real hot and make the track real slick. It’s always an advantage to have a team that can adapt and with Brian and Mark and these Matco boys, that’s something that we do very well.”
The Matco Tools team have one event title (Las Vegas) and one runner-up finish in six Mello Yello series events this season.
“It would be nice to repeat at Atlanta,” he said. “That’s the game plan. There is some stout competition in the Top Fuel class this year. We’re just trying to be consistent and efficient at what we do. We’ll go out there and try to get the job done. We just have to keep pushing. We made some quality points up in Houston, and we just have to keep pushing.”
The NHRA Mello Yello series races six out of the next seven weeks, including a grueling stretch of four consecutive events in June.
“It’s make it or break it time,” Brown said. “We have to stay on top of our game because the schedule is getting tougher. It’s going to be a lot of work to go out there and perform at the top-level each and every weekend, but if anyone can do it, it’s our Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota boys. We persevere.”
ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Last event (April 29-May 1, Houston): Qualified No. 5, lost in semifinals to Steve Torrence
A year ago at Atlanta: Qualified No. 1, defeated Leah Pritchett in championship round
Career at Atlanta: Wins 6 (2015, 2013, 2011, 2008, 2006*, 2001*); Runner-ups 1 (2003*); Poles 1 (2006*); * Pro Stock Motorcycle
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 3rd 6 1 1 1 2 1 0 0 10-5
CAREER 340 55 44 70 89 79 44 3 578-282
Best Time, Speed: 3.680 sec.-national record, first 3.6 (2015, Brainerd); 331.12 mph (2015, Brainerd)
2016 NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
(Official after Houston; 6 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis, DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Brittany Force (2) 464 —-
2. Doug Kalitta (1) 463 -1
3. ANTRON BROWN (1) 445 -19
4. Steve Torrence (1) 417 -47
5. Clay Millican 355 -109
6. JR Todd 316 -148
7. TONY SCHUMACHER 295 -169
8. LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 291 -173
9. Richie Crampton 275 -189
10. Terry McMillen 274 -190
11. SHAWN LANGDON 219 -245