NORWALK, Ohio (June 25, 2016) – There’s something racers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series target during qualifying. It’s what they call the “little points” and Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team earned nearly all of them during qualifying for Sunday’s 10th annual Summit Racing NHRA Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio.
Through four sessions of qualifying, the Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason gobbled up 10 of a possible 12 bonus points for being the quickest in two qualifying sessions and second best in two other sessions.
“That’s something that we strive for,” Brown said. “That’s what Brian, Mark and Brad and all of these guys work hard to be efficient. We started with a new program in Topeka (Kan.) and we’re starting to work out the kinks and everything is starting to go smoothly; it’s making us better.
“We try to adapt to all the conditions that come our way and be versatile like our Army soldiers. That’s what wins rounds, that’s what wins races and winning races is what wins championships.”
The Matco Tools team will start Sunday’s eliminations, where the first two round will be aired live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 11 a.m. (ET), from the second spot with a best elapsed time of 3.733 seconds at 320.51 mph.
The two-time and reigning Top Fuel champions are using this stretch of summer races in preparation for NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship a six-race playoff that begins in September.
“We’re gearing up for that stretch after we come back from the Western Swing, we’ve got a couple of races and then the Countdown starts. Right now that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to get into that zone. We want to peak when the Countdown comes and that’s our goal. For me personally, I know I have to get back in the gym and hit it hard once we get done with this four-race swing. I have to get ready for the Countdown.”
Brown credits the entire Top Fuel program at Don Schumacher Racing for working well together to improve their performance. DSR Top Fuel dragsters have won two out of the three races in this four-week stretch that will end on Sunday.
“All of our teams have been working really well together and we’re getting better and better. You can tell, the Army car, the Red Fuel car and our Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota car, we’re just collaborating. Our main focus right now is these hot tracks. When you make runs like that, it really sets you up good for race day. We just have to keep on pushing because the competition isn’t getting any easier.
Hopefully we can have a good outing here with this being Matco Tools’ home track and (Corradi’s) Master Pizza’s home track. We just want to be able to celebrate.”
No. 1 qualifier: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports) 3.719 sec., 327.51 mph (track records)
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army
Qualifying position: No. 2
First round opponent: Luigi Novelli
FRIDAY: 3.768 sec., 319.37 mph, (Session 1); 3.733, 320.51, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.829, 318.84, (Session 3); 3.781, 320.36, (Session 4)