Brown’s sixth NHRA title extends Countdown points lead with Matco’s ‘Tools for the Cause’ team at Maple Grove
READING, Pa. (Oct. 2, 2016) – Antron Brown and Matco Tools’ “Tools for the Cause” team recorded another milestone victory on Sunday at the 32nd annual NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.
It marked their sixth win of the season and the 60th of Brown’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series career, with 44 of those coming in Top Fuel competition, ranking him fourth all-time in the category.
Crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason led the Matco Tools/U.S Army team to its 10th final round of the season and fourth in the last six races and 75th career Top Fuel final.
“It felt good,” Brown said. “I’m not going to lie to everyone, all of the credit goes to my team. I have never had this happen before, I closed my helmet visor down and I had my fresh air on and I couldn’t see anything. I just tried to keep in the groove and honestly I overdrove the car a little bit. We cut just a good enough light to get that win. With all the boys working hard, with Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald and all these Matco/U.S. Army/Toyota boys, they did a great job all weekend. We had some lucky breaks go our way but we kept our head down and kept on fighting.”
The Matco Tools team leads the Top Fuel points standings by 77 over Doug Kalitta in second as the Countdown to the Championship has reached its halfway point. Brown has now won six races or more in five of the last six seasons. No other Top Fuel driver has won six races in a season more than once in that span.
“This championship, there’s plenty of racing left,” Brown said. “We just have to continue and get in that groove and fight hard. No one is going to give you a championship. Everybody is winning who needs to win to survive. The competition is at an all-time high. I’m really enjoying racing in this kind of competition because it’s bringing the best out of everyone.”
Winning in the “Tools for the Cause” dragster featuring this year’s “Driven by their Strength” campaign to support breast cancer research and the names of 350 breast cancer fighters and survivors is something special for Brown.
“It goes beyond words,” he said. “October has become a special, special month and this race always starts it for us. To have my aunt who went through breast cancer, and then my mother-in-law. It is one of the most helpless things that you’re ever a part of because you’re only there for support and you can’t do anything. For them to keep fighting the fight, you see how many people it affects.
“This car means something special to me. When you know you can touch people and be there to bring them joy, that makes it very special to me to be a part of what Matco is doing, by giving back and giving that support and raising money for Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”
The Tools for the Cause program through Matco Tools has raised more than $700,000 for breast cancer research and awareness since it was launched in 2012. This year, proceeds from the program will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRFcure.org).
Winner: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Leah Pritchett (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.705 sec., 327.35 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 2
First round: BROWN (3.715 sec., 327.98 mph) def. J.R. Todd (3.748, 329.26)
Second round: BROWN (3.688, 328.62) def. Clay Millican (3.704, 325.30)
Semifinals: BROWN (6.022, 255.68) def. Shawn Langdon (no time)
Final: BROWN (3.721, 317.34) def. Brittany Force (3.721, 324.67)
FRIDAY: Sessions 1 and 2 rained out
SATURDAY: 3.731 sec., 321.42, (Session 3); Session 4, rained out
NHRA MELLO YELLO POINTS STANDINGS
(Unofficial after Reading, third of six Countdown to the championship events)
- ANTRON BROWN (6) 2377 —–
- Doug Kalitta (3) 2300 -77
- Brittany Force (3) 2259 -118
- SHAWN LANGDON (3) 2258 -119
- TONY SCHUMACHER (2) 2236 -141
- Steve Torrence (2) 2214 -163
- LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 2188 -189
- JR Todd (1) 2183 -194
- Richie Crampton 2159 -218
- Clay Millican 2136 -241