Brown reflects on 2016 Top Fuel champion Matco Tools team as they look for record eighth event title this weekend at NHRA season-finale
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Nov. 8, 2016) – The work is not done for Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team that clinched the 2016 Top Fuel championship title in Las Vegas last week and their third in the past five years.
In a season filled with career best statistics for Brown that include 11 final round appearances and 53 elimination round wins with this weekend’s NHRA Finals still left to complete, Brown is looking to record a career best eighth Top Fuel event title in 24 races in this weekend’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season finale at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.
“We won seven races last season and now we want to go to Pomona and try to win eight this year,” Brown said. “We’ll have fun, but we want to end the year on a sweet note. We’re not going there to be happy, we’re going there to win. We don’t go to race just wanting to have fun – because you know what’s fun? Ending up in that winner’s circle.
“And as soon as we’re done at Pomona, we’re going to go back to the shop and figure out how to get better for next year.”
Brown secured his second consecutive Top Fuel championship at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 30 and credited his Matco Tools/U.S. Army team for their excellence throughout the past two years.
“You never hear me say ‘me’ because it’s not me,” Brown said. “I’m just the last one that gets to step on the pedal. I’m just the one that gets to tear it all up or blow it up or turn the win light on at the end. That’s it. The guys never get the credit that they’re due, and I’m glad that you mentioned our team, because that’s one thing that we need to exploit more, each guy and what they do.
“They work so hard, not just at the racetrack. That’s just what they do week in and week out at the racetrack. But even all the hard work that goes back on in the race shop, preparing, making sure everything is flawless, there’s not a crack in the chassis, from the engines being put together to precision and perfection, and the cylinder head guy making the cylinder heads right, the clutch guy making every part of the clutch is perfect, from the discs being straightened to the levers being right, the blower guy making sure the blower makes the boost the same way every time, the tire guy, rear end guy making sure nothing goes wrong, because not just for us to perform, but they’ve got my life in their hands.
“And then our assistant crew chief, making sure that every management and keeping all the guys working in unison together, and then you’ve got our two crew chiefs who orchestrate the strategy and the planning to make it all happen and work. It’s just so much that has to happen, and to have a team come together and do what we have done is just — that’s why I tell them I’m always blessed to drive this car because I’m fortunate to be on a team that has this much talent and is truly just an all-star cast of a group and is going to go as being one of the best teams in NHRA history, I can tell you that for sure.”
ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools/U.S. Army – 2016 WORLD CHAMPION/3-TIME CHAMP
Last event: Las Vegas 2 (Oct. 28-30): Qualified No. 4, lost in semifinals to J.R. Todd; clinched third world championship in quarterfinals
2016 Winternationals: Qualified No. 7, lost in second round to Doug Kalitta
A year ago at Finals: No. 1, lost in championship round to Shawn Langdon
Career at Pomona Finals: Wins 3 (1999-PSM, 2009-10); Runner-ups 1 (2004-PSM); Poles 1 (2015)
Career at Pomona: Wins 3; Runner-ups 4; Poles 3
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 1st 23 7 4 4 6 3 3 0 53-16
CAREER 357 61 47 73 93 81 47 3 621-293
Best Time, Speed: 3.679 sec., (2016, Brainerd; and first below 3.7, 2015, Brainerd); 331.12 mph (2015, Brainerd)
2016 NHRA Countdown to the Championship Top Fuel Standings
(Official after Las Vegas 2; 5 of 6 playoff races; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
- ANTRON BROWN (7) 2581 —– ** clinched world champion
- Steve Torrence (3) 2424 -157
- Doug Kalitta (3) 2413 -168
- Brittany Force (3) 2366 -215
- SHAWN LANGDON (3) 2365 -216
- J.R. Todd (1) 2352 -229
- LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 2334 -247
- TONY SCHUMACHER (2) 2332 -249
- Clay Millican 2232 -349
- Richie Crampton 2227 -354