NORWALK, Ohio (June 26, 2016) – Antron Brown started Sunday’s Summit Racing NHRA Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, right where the team left off in qualifying – by being the best of the session.
The Matco Tools team posted a 3.771-second, 321.50-mph pass to open Sunday’s eliminations and earned the round win. Then Brown was paired against Don Schumacher Racing teammate Shawn Langdon in the second round.
The only thing that slowed Brown and the Matco Tools team was a hurt piston. Brown was quickest on three of his six runs over the weekend.
“It was definitely our race to lose,” Brown said. “We had to have a mishap like that to lose. Like we always say in NHRA racing, it’s such a crazy sport that anything can happen. That’s why we race every round. One round you’re a hero, next round you’re a zero. One thing about our Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota team, though, when stuff like that happens, our group bounces back strong. They’re hungry and I’m hungry. We’re starving for another win. We want one bad.”
Sunday’s eliminations was the fourth and final event of a grueling four-race stretch of Mello Yello events in four weeks. The Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason scored one win (Epping), a semifinal finish and two quarterfinal finishes during the Eastern Swing.
The Mello Yello Series resumes in two week near Chicago.
“We’ll have a week off, so the boys will have time to work on it,” Brown said. “The one thing I can take from this race is that our (tune-up) combination is coming in just where we want it. The car is performing great. We just need to keep working so we don’t have stuff like that happen. It caught us off-guard and we went down there on only seven cylinders. It was pretty impressive that we ran as well as we did on seven cylinders. I’m just real proud of my guys for all the work they’ve put in and how great the car is performing.”
Needless to say it wasn’t the way Brown had imagined his weekend would end in the backyard of Matco Tools headquarters.
“All in all it was a rough ending to what was a great weekend to that point,” he said. “We had five out of six runs where our car was the car, so we’re definitely on key, where we want to be. But that deal right there was one of those freak deals. That’s why this sport is so humbling. You could have a car that goes A to B like ours did and was doing it very efficiently, and then you have a part that breaks on you. So, we know what we need to do. The bad thing is, (points leader Doug) Kalitta is pulling away from us a little bit again and we really wanted to catch him.”
Brown sits 69 points behind Kalitta as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is at its the halfway point of the 24-race season.
“All of our DSR teams, from the U.S. Army team to our team to the Red Fuel team, got stronger this weekend.. I think we’re going to keep on getting stronger as the year goes on and we’ll be ready for that Countdown.”
Event winner: Shawn Langdon (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports) 3.719 sec., 327.51 mph (track records)
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 2
First round: BROWN (3.771 sec., 321.50) def. Luigi Novelli (6.260, 104.74)
Second round: Shawn Langdon (3.800, 325.14) def. BROWN (3.873, 311.77)
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)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
Through Norwalk; 12 of 24 events, wins in parenthesis; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS
1. Doug Kalitta (3) 1009 —–
2. ANTRON BROWN (2) 940 -69
3. Steve Torrence (2) 846 -163
4. Brittany Force (2) 832 -177
5. TONY SCHUMACHER 729 -280
6. SHAWN LANGDON (2) 711 -298
7. JR Todd 645 -364
8. Clay Millican 572 -437
9. Richie Crampton 570 -439
10. LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 463 -546