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Reigning champ Brown advances to another semifinals round to move up to second in Mello Yello standings after Houston

HOUSTON (April 23, 2017) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team advanced to the semifinals Sunday in the NHRA SpringNationals at Baytown, Texas, for the 20th time the past 26 races and moved to up to second in the NHRA Mello Yello Series.

“Anytime you make it to the semifinals it’s been a good day, but we just want to win and we come out to every race knowing we have a great chance,” said Brown, the three-time and defending series champion. “The track threw us a curveball in the semis. It was so much better than we anticipated that it ended up slowing our car down. We hate when it slips away like that. We look at this race and the one in Gainesville (Fla.) finals as two races that got away from us.”

Brown and the team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald won the last Mello Yello event three weeks ago at Las Vegas.

“We moved up to second in points, but we could have taken over the lead if we had won in the semis,” he said of losing to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Leah Pritchett who went on to win DSR’s fifth Top Fuel title in five events.

“One key is that our Matco Tools/Army/Toyota dragster stayed together through all the runs this weekend. We made seven laps down the racetrack and no part failures. It was reliable just like those new Camrys. We just want to keep on going and see what we can do.

“We wanted to win this race today really bad, we love coming to Houston. Hats off to our teammates. They did a really great job.

“Man, we just wanted to get this one badly.”

RESULTS FROM HOUSTON

TOP FUEL
Event winner: Leah Pritchett (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Clay Millican (Stringer Performance), 3.722 sec.-track record, 325.69 mph

ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald; assistant: Brad Mason
QUALIFIED: No. 2
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: BROWN (3.752 sec., 321.04) def. Terry Haddock (3.931, 283.79)
Second round: BROWN (3.766, 326.00) def. Bob Vandergriff (3.778, 323.89)
Semifinals: Leah Pritchett (3.777, 319.45) def. BROWN (3.815, 322.11)
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 3.784 sec., 318.47 mph, (Session 1); 3.722, 325.69, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.785 320.28, (Session 3); 4.744, 152.33, (Session 4)
Career at Houston: Wins 2 (2008, 2014); Runner-ups 3 (2012, 2010, 2004*); Poles 2 (2009, 2001*) *Pro Stock Motorcycle

2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Official after Houston; 5th of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)

Top Fuel
1. LEAH PRITCHETT (3) 494 —–
2. ANTRON BROWN (1) 440 -54
3. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 438 -56
4. Doug Kalitta 358 -136
5. Steve Torrence 352 -142
6. Brittany Force 282 – 212
7. Clay Millican 269 -225
8. Troy Coughlin Jr. 228 -266
9. Terry McMillen 195 -299
10. Scott Palmer 180 -314

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