BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 19, 2016) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team continued their impressive ways during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season on Sunday in the 16th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
For the seventh time in 11 Mello Yello events, the team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald reached at least the semifinal round of competition. The Matco Tools team day ended when Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher, who advanced to the final round, posted a 3.840-second win over Brown’s tire hazing effort.
“We were just getting after it – we weren’t taking that Army team lightly, and the track and that lane went away,” Brown said. “I’ve got to say Mike (Green, crew chief) and Neal (Strausbaugh, assistant crew chief) and Tony have a great car and they’re just dialed in right now. Qualifying didn’t go their way on Friday but they sure brought it strong on Saturday and on race day.
“We’re just really proud of this Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota team. We made some great strides this weekend. That’s what we’re taking out of here. We’re getting better and better. We’re getting down the track the way we want to. So, now we can actually start creeping up and getting more aggressive with the tune-up. With that being said, we look forward to going back to Ohio, near Brian’s hometown and see what we can do out there.”
The NHRA Mello Yello series heads to Norwalk, Ohio next weekend for the final race of a grueling streak of four consecutive events. DSR Top Fuel dragsters have been in each of the three final rounds on this four-race stretch, with Brown getting the event title two weeks ago in Epping, N.H. Sunday’s Thunder Valley final round was a match-up between DSR’s Schumacher and Shawn Langdon.
“That’s attributed to the way that we’re all working together,” Brown said of the DSR Top Fuel program. “We’re all going in and out of each other’s trailers, we’re working together as a unit right now, and it is paying dividends. We’re getting a lot more competitive across the board and we’re causing a little havoc for all the other race teams.
“We just want to keep on going to get to where we need to be for the Countdown (to the Championship six-race playoff). That’s the main goal right now. There are only five races left to get into the top-10 so all the races we’ve got left are very crucial.”
Brown and the Matco Tools team maintained the second spot in Top Fuel standings.
Event winner: Shawn Langdon (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (CAPCO Contractors (3.745 sec., 321.12 mph)
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 4
First round: BROWN (3.842 sec., 315.12 mph) def. Scott Palmer (5.456, 127.76)
Second round: BROWN (3.856, 314.31) def. Richie Crampton (3.937, 257.24)
Semifinals: Tony Schumacher (3.840, 325.61) def. BROWN (8.399, 84.20)
FRIDAY: 3.828 sec., 289.01 mph, (Session 1); 3.774, 317.34, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 6.362, 103.32, (Session 3); 3.835, 309.98, (Session 4)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
Unofficial through Bristol; 11 of 24 events, wins in parenthesis; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS
- Doug Kalitta (3) 926 —–
- ANTRON BROWN (2) 873 -53
- Steve Torrence (2) 846 -80
- Brittany Force (2) 754 -172
- TONY SCHUMACHER 675 -251
- SHAWN LANGDON (1) 595 -331
- JR Todd 562 -364
- Clay Millican 540 -386
- Richie Crampton 535 -391
- LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 412 -514