KENT, Wash. (Aug. 6, 2016) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team used Saturday at the 29th annual Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals to set themselves up for what Brown is predicting to be a fun race day.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series teams saw cool overcast conditions on Saturday at Pacific Raceways near Seattle and are expecting more of the same when Sunday’s eliminations kick off Sunday at 11 a.m. (PT).
The Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason posted a 3.717-second, 323-mph pass during Saturday’s first qualifying session to take the fourth starting spot for Sunday’s eliminations. The Matco Tools team was pushing to run even quicker in the final qualifying session but the 10,000-horsepower dragster was unable to make it to the finish line under power.
“We were going for it, that’s all there was to it,” said Brown, whose lone Northwest Nationals event title came in 2009 to close out a sweep of that year’s Western Swing. “We just needed to go a little bit harder early and that would’ve taken care of it. You’re just on that fine line when you’re trying to run .60s. We definitely weren’t out there trying to run another .71.
“So, we had a great run the first run today and we have a great car for tomorrow. We learned something on that last run and know what we need to do for our first run tomorrow. We’re in a good spot. We set ourselves up in a good position for race day and get into attack mode.”
The Matco Tools team carries the points lead into Sunday’s eliminations and will look to gain more over second-place Doug Kalitta of Kalitta Racing.
“Tomorrow is when the points count and we’re still in a tight battle with Kalitta, so our main focus is to just go on out there, play it one round at a time, and have fun with it. That track’s going to be even better tomorrow. The sun’s not even supposed to poke out tomorrow.
“When you get to tracks like that, it gets difficult because you can’t go out there and make an easy run, you’ve got to run hard, otherwise the track is going to eat you up. It’s just as difficult to get down a really good track as it is getting down a really greasy track. So tomorrow we’ll have our work cut out for us, but it’s going to be fun, too.”
No. 1 qualifier: Tony Schumacher (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.686 sec.-track record, 323.58 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualifying position: No. 4
First round opponent: TJ Zizzo
FRIDAY: 3.796 sec., 314.31 mph, (Session 1); 3.737, 323.19, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.717, 323.66, (Session 3); 5.102, 135.54, (Session 4)