BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 19, 2016) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel team head to the top of the mountain at Bandimere Speedway near Denver this week on top of the NHRA Mello Yello points standings.
Brown’s third win of the season two weeks ago near Chicago propelled the Matco team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to the No. 1 spot in the Top Fuel standings with only five regular season events remaining before the points are reset and the top-10 advance to the six-race Countdown to the Championship.
“I don’t even think about it but it’s good that we got it,” Brown said of the points lead that will have great value for the driver ranked No. 1 when the Countdown begins in September and points are reset with the driver ranked first receiving a 30-point lead over second place.
“Those 30 points are crucial. It’s hard to make up 30 points when you only have 24 rounds of racing to win a championship. That’s almost worth winning two rounds. That’s going to be very crucial and we just have to keep working. Hopefully we can sneak it out and get those points that we need to help us for that title defense.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series kicks off its annual Western Swing this week at the Mile-High Nationals and then will travel to Sonoma, Calif., and near Seattle for three consecutive weekends of racing before traveling back to Don Schumacher Racing headquarters near Indianapolis. Brown is one of seven drivers in NHRA history to ever “sweep the swing” and win all three events.
The mile-high altitude at Bandimere presents its own set of unique challenges for teams and the 10,000-horsepower nitro machines.
“We change almost everything on the car before we go to Denver because Denver is just a way different set-up and how we run the car,” Brown said. “We put stuff that we’ve been running off to the side, then we’ll swap it back after Denver.
“You go to Denver like you’re playing craps. You just roll those dice and hope they come out right so you stumble on to a good combination that’s going to work. That’s been our Achilles heel the last couple of years because Denver’s been eating us up a little bit. We’ve won there twice and been runner-up four times. We just have to land back on that combination and be competitive. Denver’s just a hard track to run at.”
Brown feels confident in their chances at Denver thanks to DSR partner Diamond Pistons.
“One of our new partners on the car, Diamond Pistons, has been helping us develop a new piston that we’ve been running the past couple of races that we haven’t had a problem or flaw with.
“We’re going to lean on them to give us a little bit more performance when we go out to Denver so we get a little bit more compression on that thing and run harder.”
ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Last event Joliet, Ill., July 8-10: Qualified No. 4, won in championship round over J.R. Todd
A year ago at Denver: Qualified No. 8, lost in first round to J.R. Todd
Career at Denver: Wins 2 (2009, 2012); Runner-ups 4 (1999*, 2001*, 2005*, 2008); Poles 3 (2001*, 2009, 2010)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 2nd 13 3 2 3 4 1 1 0 27-10
CAREER 347 57 45 72 91 80 45 3 595-287
Best Time, Speed: 3.680 sec., (first below 3.7, 2015, Brainerd); 331.12 mph (2015, Brainerd)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
Official through Joliet, Ill., 13 of 24 events, wins in parenthesis; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS
- ANTRON BROWN (3) 1,056 —-
- Doug Kalitta (3) 1,054 -2
- Steve Torrence (2) 912 -144
- Brittany Force (2) 896 -160
- TONY SCHUMACHER 803 -253
- SHAWN LANGDON (2) 746 -310
- JR Todd 725 -331
- Clay Millican 603 -433
- Richie Crampton 603 -453
- LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 521 -535