BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Aug. 17, 2016) – Antron Brown has no doubt that he is part of a team worthy of another championship, and the effort put in by the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team during the past week served as proof.
After the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Seattle was cut short due to rain showers on April 5, the Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason, made the trek back to Don Schumacher Racing headquarters in Brownsburg, Ind., where their chassis was disassembled and fresh pipe installed by the fabrication shop, led by manager Joe Fitzpatrick, on the front and back half of the Top Fuel dragster.
The effort could pay off with an added bonus because this weekend in the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota where the Matco team could win its fourth and fifth titles of the year.
The final round at Seattle was postponed to this Saturday’s first qualifying session when Brown will race Steve Torrence for the Seattle trophy.
“NHRA made the right call on that,” Brown said. “It would’ve been nice to finish it there because we saw some incredible conditions, but it’s looking like we might see some similar conditions this weekend in Brainerd.
“We have to go in there and hit a grand slam. I feel really good there, we know what needs to be done and how to do it. I have all the confidence in the world in the team we have.”
Brown wants his team to come back to Indy next Sunday with two Wally trophies produced by his newly rebuilt chassis.
“Our (chassis) showed a little stress in a couple of areas and we came back and our fab guys did an incredible job in a short amount of time to pretty much put a whole new car together. We just want to make sure we have everything covered so we can give ourselves the best chance to go out and compete for another championship.”
“It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of sacrifice from our guys,” Brown said of building the new chassis. “They drove all the way back from Seattle to the shop in Indy and a lot of teams took their stuff to Brainerd (Minn.), parked and took some time off.
“The thing about it is, championships are not won by sitting idle. This team is very familiar with the workload it takes to win, this is a very crucial time right now. Our main focus is we want to be ready for the Countdown (to the Championship). We need to be hitting on all eight cylinders.”
ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Last event: Seattle (Aug. 5, 2016): Qualified No. 4; will race Steve Torrence for Seattle title on Saturday)
A year ago at Brainerd: Qualified No. 7, lost in semifinals to Brittany Force
A Career at Brainerd: Wins 5 (2000-01, 2003, 2006, 2011); Runner-ups 1 (2012); Poles 3 (2001, 2004, 2014)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 1st 16 3 3 3 5 1 1 0 34-12
CAREER 350 57 46 72 92 80 45 3 602-289
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
Through 16 of 24 events; Seattle Top Fuel final with Brown at Brainerd; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS
- ANTRON BROWN (3 or 4) 1301 or 1321
- Doug Kalitta (3) 1201
- Steve Torrence (2 or 3) 1177 or 1197
- Brittany Force (2) 1044
- TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 1036
- JR Todd (1) 960
- SHAWN LANGDON (2) 888
- Richie Crampton 806
- Clay Millican 770
- LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 604