DENVER (July 23, 2016) – It hasn’t been an easy stay on the mountain for Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel team thus far in the 37th annual Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver.
But the Matco Tools team made a big move during the fourth and final qualifying session late Saturday night for Sunday’s eliminations, that will mark a first in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series history when it is broadcast live on FOX national network beginning at 3 p.m. (ET) on Sunday for championship eliminations.
The Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald fought mechanical issues throughout qualifying at the picturesque Bandimere facility that sits a mile above sea level, making it difficult for the 10,000-horsepower nitro machines to run but improved to the No. 2 spot with a 3.805-second pass.
“The mountain has kicked all of our tails, but we were just determined to keep on staying persistent with it and paid off,” Brown said. “That’s what makes it so great when you win up here. The mountain is either going to be your friend, or it’s going to be your foe. It was our foe the whole weekend until that last run tonight. ”
Teams will face a new set of challenges for Sunday’s Mello Yello championship eliminations when they will face in the hottest conditions of the weekend.
“Tomorrow, on race day, it’s going to be even more challenging because the conditions are going to change completely,” two-time world championship Brown said. “The main thing is we ended up in a really good qualifying spot, so tomorrow we’re going to just go out and give it all we’ve got. We know how to win here. We’ve won here twice. We’ll just keep our heads down and keep it to the grind and I’ve got the best team in the business, so I’ve got all the confidence in the world.
“We’ve had a couple of minor setbacks, but we’ll just go out and take it one round at a time and keep on pushing. It’s going to be a whole, different ballgame tomorrow. The main thing will be to go out on the track and keep all our holes lit. As long as you’re in the field, everybody has a chance to win tomorrow.”
Brown, who has swept the NHRA Western Swing that consists of racing near Denver, Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle in three consecutive weekends, has two event titles from Bandimere.
No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (CAPCO Contractors), 3.776 sec.,.325.14 mph-track records
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army
Qualifying position: No. 2
First round opponent: Rob Passey
FRIDAY: 7.599 sec., 90.89 mph, (Session 1); 3.911, 281.30, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.253, 204.17, (Session 3); 3.805, 305.36 (Session 4)