Matco Tools team earns Seattle event title before Brown completes career-best run to take No. 1 qualifying spot at Brainerd on Saturday
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 20, 2016) – No one could rain on Antron Brown’s parade on Saturday at Brainerd International Raceway in northern Minnesota. Even though Mother Nature tried her best, the Matco Tools time shined through.
In the first session of the day, Brown and the Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald earned the Seattle event title that was postponed for two weeks because of rain.
Brown posted a 3.747-second win over Steve Torrence’s 4.062 for their fourth title of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
“All of the Matco boys, they were shooting hard on that one,” Brown said. “I knew the track was tight. We weren’t trying to run a .74, we were trying to run a high .60 and that track just gobbled it up. Brian, Mark, this whole Matco Tools/U.S. Army team got it done. This is another Wally on the shelf and this one has great meaning. We just love it. It feels really good for our whole team.”
Things only got better for the Matco Tools team after that. In the fourth and final qualifying session, Brown clocked a career-best 3.679 at 328 mph to earn his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season.
“The weather was the same as Seattle but the altitude’s not the same. Coming here, we have a really good racetrack but we just can’t make enough power. So you have to really crank on it, and Brian and Mark and all of our Matco Tools/U.S. Army boys really knew how to make it better run after run after run.
“Sometime we might not come out the first run and set the world on fire. The second run, the third run, we’ll find something else out that’ll go our way. But, by the fourth run, our guys are always spot on. That run for the trophy with Torrence in Q3, we both were trying to run way better than we’d been running and the track just ate us up and we snuck away with a win. But we went back to the house and assessed it and realized we couldn’t play around, anymore, and ‘Old Nellie’ went right down Broadway, and I mean it was ripping.”
Brown described his career-best lap in detail.
“I felt the car up on the tires and it went right down the track silky smooth,” he said. “All of our DSR fab boys worked really hard to get this car back together at the shop and it just made one heck of a run. I’m so proud and stoked about the job my boys do.”
The Matco Tools team will try to earn their second event title of the weekend tomorrow when eliminations begin at 11 a.m. (CT) with a forecasted high of 70 degrees and sunny,
“Tomorrow’s going to be similar conditions. The sun is going to be out a little bit but it’s not going to be much more than 70 degrees, so it’s going to bring a whole new set of conditions and we’re going in with a good foot forward. We’ll have our work cut out for us – if you run a .72, you’re not even in the top half of the field. That shows you how tough the competition is. There were four people who broke .70s like that’s nothing anymore. That’s the way this class is right now and I’m just glad to be one of them that snuck one out and got a good shot down that track.”
No. 1 qualifier: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.679 sec., 328.30 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualifying position: No. 1
First round opponent: Chris Karamesines
FRIDAY: 3.749 sec., 321.58 mph, (Session 1); 5.338, 127.82, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.747, 320.13, (Session 3); 3.679, 328.30, (Session 4)
SEATTLE FINAL ROUNDS
ANTRON BROWN (3.747 sec., 320.13 mph) def. Steve Torrence (4.062, 243.19)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
Through 16 of 24 events including Seattle; DSR DRIVERS IN BOLD CAPS
DRIVER (wins) PTS BEHIND
- ANTRON BROWN (4) 1321 —–
- Doug Kalitta (3) 1201 -120
- Steve Torrence (2) 1177 -144
- Brittany Force (2) 1044 -277
- TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 1036 -285
- JR Todd (1) 960 -361
- SHAWN LANGDON (2) 888 -433
- Richie Crampton 806 -515
- Clay Millican 770 -551
- LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 604 -717