SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2017) – Part one of the three-part NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series annual Western Swing is in the books for Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel team
Stop one last weekend near Denver at Bandimere Speedway resulted in a mile-high victory for the three-time Top Fuel champion and the team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald.
The third win of the season for Brown also marked the 50th time his longtime crew chief Corradi earned an event title as crew chief.
“We’re where we’re at because we never quit,” said Brown. “Everybody wants to work together to beat each other. When you motivate each other to beat each other, you raise it to a different bar. We elevate each other to a new level.
“All the other teams have elevated themselves and it’s anybody’s race. You’ve got cars out here that can win and set world records every weekend. We’ve got to step up and try to go to another level.”
They’ll try to take it to the next level this weekend at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., at the Toyota NHRA Nationals. Brown has four Sonoma event titles, including in 2009 when he swept the Western Swing by winning all three events.
But it’ll be a challenge to do that again according to Brown.
“It’s tough,” he said. “The conditions and the changes that these crew chiefs have to make in three weeks is what makes it so difficult. (Crew chiefs) Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) are the best of the best and we’ve done it before and we’d love to do it again. It’s getting tougher every year to win one race, let alone three in a row. We’re having a good season but there’s a lot more racing left to do and we just want to continue to get better every weekend.”
“Anybody can win on any given Sunday. It doesn’t matter where you qualify, it’s whoever has it together on Sunday. That’s been proven race in and race out this year.”
This Sunday has added importance for Brown whose debut as a co-host on the popular Top Gear America show at 8 p.m. (EDT) international cable channel BBC America.
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster – 3x world champion; won last event
Last event (July 23), Denver: Qualified: No. 7, won in championship round over teammate Leah Pritchett
A year ago at Sonoma: Qualified No. 2, lost in second round to eventual event winner J.R. Todd
Career at Sonoma: 4 (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015); runner-up 2 (2004, 2006); poles 2 (2008, 2015)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 2nd 14 3 4 2 5 0 1 0 33-11
CAREER 372 64* 51 76 98 80 48 3 656-305
* 48 TF/16 PSB
Career best time, speed: 3.667 (2017, Phoenix); 333.16 mph (2017, Topeka)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
(Official after Denver; 14th of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
- Steve Torrence (5) 1,253 —–
- ANTRON BROWN (3) 1,199 -54
- LEAH PRITCHETT (3) 1,183 -70
- TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 974 -279
- Doug Kalitta 873 -380
- Brittany Force (1) 871 -382
- Clay Millican (1) 826 -427
- Terry McMillen 541 -712
- Scott Palmer 528 -725
- Troy Coughlin Jr. 496 -757