POMONA, Calif., (Nov. 13, 2016) – Three-time Top Fuel champion Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team really wanted to bring home a career-best eighth event title on Sunday at the NHRA Finals at Pomona, Calif., to close their third championship season.
But the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason were eliminated in the semifinals by J.R. Todd’s stunning 3.708-second pass in the California heat.
“It was a great season,” Brown said on Sunday afternoon. “We were trying for the win and racing smart, we just didn’t know the track was going to be that good out there. All in all, it was a great weekend.
“We qualified well, we pushed hard, and the thing about it is we brought the championship home and we won a lot of rounds of racing this year and I couldn’t be more proud of our Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota guys. They worked their tails off this year.”
Brown recorded a career-best 55 round wins through 24 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.
“We would’ve liked to go out with a win and a bang, but we brought the big trophy home two weeks early. Hats off to all of the American men and women in uniform out there who make it possible for us all to do what we do. One of those true, natural and awesome blessings that we have and that is to go out and race and to bring another championship home for all of our great partners.
“At the end of the day, this is all for the love of this sport,” Brown said.
“The whole field is just so tight right now and what you’re seeing here this weekend is what you’re going to be seeing all of next year. We came here a little on edge. We wanted to win the trophy at Las Vegas so we came here with our hearts set on ending this season on the best note possible, to give us something to be proud of for the whole offseason in addition to the championship.”
Event winner: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports)
No. 1 qualifier: J.R. Todd (Kalitta Motorsports) 3.680-track record, 327.82 mph
ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald; car chief Brad Mason
Qualified: No. 4
First round: BROWN (3.768, 321.35) def. Morgan Lucas (3.789, 323.27)
Second round: BROWN (3.756, 320.97) def. Leah Pritchett (3.760, 326.87)
Semifinals: J.R. Todd (3.708, 329.26) def. BROWN (3.765, 324.44)
FRIDAY: 3.735 sec., 322.27, mph, (Session 1); 3.713, 326.56, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.687, 56.53, (Session 3); 3.714, 324.98, (Session 4)
2016 NHRA Countdown to the Championship Top Fuel standings – FINAL
(Unofficial after Pomona 2; 24 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. ANTRON BROWN (7) 2663 —- 2016 WORLD CHAMPION
2. Doug Kalitta (4) 2533 -130
3. Steve Torrence 2482 -181
4. J.R. Todd (1) 2455 -208
5. SHAWN LANGDON (3) 2443 -220
6. Brittany Force (3) 2399 -264
7. LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 2389 -274
8. TONY SCHUMACHER (2) 2387 -276
9. Richie Crampton 2279 -384
10. Clay Millican 2264 -399