Brown reaches sixth final round of 2016 but finishes runner-up to DSR teammate near Denver, Matco team extends points lead
DENVER (July 24, 2016) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team reached their sixth final round in 14 events of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season on Sunday at the 37th annual Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver.
Although the mountaintop challenged the Matco Tools team throughout qualifying, the team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason rallied on Sunday and advanced to the championship round but lost to Don Schumacher Racing and U.S. Army teammate Tony Schumacher.
Brown disposed of Rob Passey, teammate Shawn Langdon and J.R. Todd before meeting Schumacher in the final round.
“Coming to the mountain is always very hard and very challenging,” Brown said after the final. “My hat’s off to the whole Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota team. We started off with the track giving us fits and we had a lot of confusion. We started off in one direction, then we went off in another direction and then we ended up coming back and going past the original direction. We ended up nailing that run on Saturday night to make us No. 2 and that really set our tone for today.
“The first run Sunday we came out just to do a nice run down the track, but the track was a lot better than what we thought it was because it ate us up early. Then we came back and made the adjustments and made a solid run down the track in round two to get around our teammate Shawn Langdon and then we ran the low ET of the semis. We got to the finals and we thought we could run a 3.80 or a 3.79, but the track just got a little hot and a little greasy for us and it couldn’t handle what we tried to lay down. Our teammate Tony and the Army car just put down a great lap and they deserve it.”
Brown entered the weekend with a two-point lead over Doug Kalitta but was able to extend it to 57 points ahead after Schumacher disposed of Kalitta in the opening round.
“The big thing is we made a great weekend out of a weekend that didn’t start off very good. We got the point lead and put some points between us and Doug. Our game plan is just to keep going rounds and keep putting rounds between us and to go into the Countdown (to the Championship) with the points lead. We’re trying to win another championship, that’s our goal and it starts right now.
“The mountain tried to kick our butt a little bit in qualifying but Mark, Brian and this whole Matco crew did what they always do and that’s figure it out and we always put our best foot forward to race competitively on race day. I couldn’t be more proud to be on this team and doing what we are doing. We are looking forward to Sonoma.”
The Matco team heads to Sonoma, Calif,. next weekend for the 29th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals where Brown is looking for his fifth title in eight years.
Winner: Tony Schumacher (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (CAPCO Contractors), 3.776 sec., 325.14 mph-track records
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 2
First round: BROWN (3.870 sec., 308.28 mph) def. Rob Passey (4.396, 208.91)
Second round: BROWN (3.840, 317.05) def. Shawn Langdon (3.831, 316.90)
Semifinals: BROWN 3.826, 307.86) def. J.R. Todd (3.915, 274.05)
Final: Tony Schumacher (3.802, 324.28) def. BROWN (5.199, 144.75)
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)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
Through 14 of 24 events, wins in parenthesis; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS
- ANTRON BROWN (3) 1,145 —–
- Doug Kalitta (3) 1,088 -57
- Steve Torrence (2) 982 -163
- Brittany Force (2) 953 -192
- TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 916 -229
- SHAWN LANGDON (2) 800 -345
- JR Todd 799 -346
- Clay Millican 681 -464
- Richie Crampton 660 -485
- LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 553 -592