CONCORD, N.C. (April 30, 2017) – Antron Brown, the two-time reigning NHRA Top Fuel world champion, has spent much of the past few months away from home getting acclimated to his side gig as co-host on BBC America’s upcoming “Top Gear USA” television scheduled to begin airing on July 23.
Brown’s guests, co-anchors actor Bill Fitchner and automotive journalist Tom “Wookie” Ford were at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and Brown would have liked them watch him race more.
The three-time world champ opened qualifying with a stout 3.720-second run on Friday afternoon at Concord and started Sunday as the No. 3 seed.
Brown used a tune-up from crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to post the quickest winning time of his opening quad at 3.763 seconds to advance to the semifinals. After a nearly three-hour wait in between rounds, the Matco Tools rail lost traction early and Brown could not get his car to recover and bowed out to Schumacher and Terry McMillen.
“The first round went well and we were able to do exactly what we wanted to do and we felt good about the rest of the day,” Brown said, who failed to advance to the final quad at the unique four-lane event for the first time since 2013. “We just tried to keep up with it, but this was just one of those deals when you dipped when you should have blocked.
“We learned a lot this weekend to take to Atlanta next weekend and this Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota team is hungry. Today is going to make us a better race team. We’re driven. We don’t want lucky rounds, we want to earn it and that starts next weekend at Atlanta with the Southern Nationals.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Series resumes next weekend north of Atlanta in Commerce, Ga. Brown and three-time Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon are tied with four Southern Nationals Top Fuel titles, the most in the category.
“It was great to have the Top Gear crew here today with Bill and Wookie filming with the Matco team. We’re off to Baja (Calif.) tomorrow for some off-road filming before we get into Atlanta on Thursday. It’s time for some fun in the desert before we light it up at Georgia’s House of Speed next Friday.”
Event winner: Steve Torrence (CAPCO Contractors)
No. 1 qualifier: Clay Millican (Stringer Performance), 3.716 sec., 325.77 mph
(drivers advancing to next round are underlined)
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster
Qualified: No. 3
First round: BROWN (3.763 sec., 326.08 mph), Tony Schumacher (4.374, 247.52), Ike Maier (4,387, 185.82), Pat Dakin (11.899, 61.87)
Second round: Schumacher (3.792 327.74), Terry McMillen (3.832, 171.23), Doug Kalitta (4.202, 230.37), BROWN (6.933, 100.67)
FRIDAY: 3.720 sec., 328.06 mph, (Session 1); 6.698, 103.80, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.803, 319.22, (Session 3); 3.814, 314.90, (Session 4)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Official after Four-Wide; 6th of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
- LEAH PRITCHETT (3) 569 —–
- TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 535 -34
- ANTRON BROWN 501 -68
- Steve Torrence (1) 470 -99
- Doug Kalitta 417 -152
- Clay Millican 330 -239
- Brittany Force 316 -253
- Terry McMillen 267 -302
- Troy Coughlin Jr. 264 -305
- Scott Palmer 212 -357