SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2016) – The Matco Tools/U.S. Army team has been known to make a statement in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series with driver Antron Brown. They did it again on Saturday at the 29th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals when they made a big move in the qualifying ladder in the fourth and final session of qualifying.
Brown entered the final session ranked eighth of 16 qualified dragsters but a 3.710-second, 323 mph pass with the Matco Tools dragster powered by Pennzoil moved them to the No. 2 starting spot for Sunday where eliminations will be aired live on FOX national broadcast network beginning at 4 p.m. (ET)
“We knew the track was going to get cool but, the thing about it is, this is what our team is really good at – they work hard and they never quit,” said Brown, who’s chasing his record-tying fifth Sonoma event title this weekend.
“They have that soldier mentality where they won’t fail and they won’t quit. Brian and Mark and all these Matco/U.S. Army boys just keep digging and they learn something with everything we do. That run was just a clutch run right there and it sets us up for race day. Tomorrow’s going to be a cooler day and you’re going to see some more runs like that. We’ve have to go one round at a time and we’ve just got to go out there and just keep doing what we’re doing, take it one step at a time and keep pushing hard.”
But one thing that topped anything Brown did by himself on the track was serving as a mentor to 7-year-old Wish Kid, Guy, who wished to become a racecar driver. Brown along with assistant crew chief Brad Mason fitted Guy into his very own half-scale NHRA Jr. Dragster and Guy completed a run before a packed house on Saturday afternoon at Sonoma.
“I tell you what, he was just a bundle of laughter, energy and fresh air for everyone out here to the racetrack. He really showed us why we are out here. For him to come out here, his wish was to drive a racecar and to drive it the way he did, he was an incredible young man and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him.
“It was an awesome time to be a part of a special day for that young man. He reminded me what made me fall in love and have such a passion for this sport, was for moments like that.”
No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (CAPCO Contractors), 3.671 sec.-national record, 325.69 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army
Qualifying position: No. 2
First round opponent: Terry McMillen
FRIDAY: 3.796 sec., 315.86 mph, (Session 1); 3.754, 310.98, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 5.028, 142.90, (Session 3); 3.710, 323.27, (Session 4)