BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 20, 2016) – Antron Brown took care of one of this year’s nemeses but lost to another Sunday in the NHRA Nationals in Northern Minnesota in the 10th final round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
The three-time and reigning Top Fuel world champion and his Matco Tools/U.S. Army team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald were able to maintain their championship points lead when he beat No. 2 Steve Torrence in the semifinals but wasn’t as successful in the final round when he lost to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Leah Pritchett, who is third in points, in his fifth consecutive final round.
Brown, who has won the last two championships, holds a 31-point lead over Torrence and his 60 ahead of Pritchett.
Brown started the day at Brainerd International Raceway with a pair of impressive 3.6-seconds runs and followed with a 3.706 to top Torrence but wasn’t able to better Pritchett’s 3.682.
“Hats off to my team and credit goes to (Pritchett’s crew chief) Todd Okuhara and his Papa John’s team, Brown said. “That .68 was impressive there. We were pressing for that too. My team got the car back together after we nuked our clutch in the semifinals and broke a few (clutch) levers.
“We were racing it hard, but we were just a little too aggressive there in the final.”
Brown and the Matco team will spend Wednesday and Thursday testing with most nitro teams near Indianapolis to prepare for the NHRA U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend when the top-10 will determined to run for the world championship in the six-race Countdown to the Championship two weeks later.
“We are going to get it right for Indy,” said Brown, who has won four times through 17 events this year.
“To make it to five consecutive finals in a row, we’re super stoked. We’ve been versatile adapting to all these different situations. Thanks for all the support from our Matco Distributors and everyone from the U.S. Army and Toyota. We just need to keep pushing and doing what we’re doing and stay in the hunt.”
The following are Sunday’s results from Brainerd:
Event winner: Leah Pritchett (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Leah Pritchett (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.640 sec.-world record, 330.63 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster – 3x world champion, points leader
Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald; Assistant: Brad Mason
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: BROWN (3.695 sec., 331.77 mph) def. Shawn Langdon (3.734, 318.62
Second round: BROWN (3.681, 332.43) def. Brittany Force (3.675, 332.75)
Semifinals: BROWN 3.706, 331.61) def. Steve Torrence (3.726, 323.19)
Final: Leah Pritchett (3.682, 328.06) def. BROWN
Qualified: No. 7
FRIDAY: 10.926 sec., 62.50 mph, (first session); 3.723, 321.73, (second session)
SATURDAY: 3.749, 325.06, (third session); 14.245, 45.40, (fourth session)
BRAINERD BY THE NUMBERS
A year ago at Brainerd: Qualified No. 1, lost in championship round to Brittany Force
Career at Brainerd: Wins 5 (2000, 2001, 2003, 2006-PSM; 2011-TF), Runner-ups 3 (2012, 2016, 2017-TF),
Poles 4 (2001, 2004-PSM; 2014, 2016-TF)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
(Official after Brainerd; 17 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
- ANTRON BROWN (4) 1,513 —-
- Steve Torrence (6) 1,482 -31
- LEAH PRITCHETT (4) 1,453 -60
- TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 1,121 -392
- Brittany Force (1) 1,052 -461
- Doug Kalitta 1,038 -475
- Clay Millican (1) 1,014 -499
- Terry McMillen 722 -791
- Scott Palmer 679 -834
- Troy Coughlin Jr. 576 -937
12th annual DSR Open House for Riley Kids presented by Pennzoil
set for 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Friday Sept. 1 to during U.S. Nationals
Don Schumacher Racing will host its most special day of the year on Sept. 1 (Friday) when it opens its doors to the public to support Riley Hospital for Children with its 12th annual Open House presented by Pennzoil from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as the nitro kickoff for the NHRA U.S. Nationals.
The DSR Open House presented by Pennzoil attracted more than 4,000 fans last year to DSR’s 145,000-square-foot facility and raised a record $65,000 that pushed DSR’s total contributions to over $500,000 for the Riley Hospital for Children.
Open House activities include:
* A meet and greet with DSR’s seven winning drivers (Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett, Ron Capps, Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr.) along with hall-of-fame owner Don Schumacher;
* Expansive silent auction courtesy of DSR with racing memorabilia, products and services donated by friends and sponsors;
* Behind-the-scenes access to the DSR drag racing facility including tours of its fabrication and machine shops;
*One of the largest indoor car shows in Indiana featuring 200 of the Midwest’s best custom and muscle cars, and motorcycles;
* Cacklefest featuring nostalgia dragsters that will delight fans with the sounds of vintage nitro horsepower;
* Papa John’s Pizza will be selling pizza with all proceeds going to Riley Kids; Food trucks also will be on site with a portion of sales going to Riley;
A new feature this year will be a performance by the Gordon Pipers bagpipe and drum marching band that features Scottish/Celtic culture and music. The Gordon Pipers have been one of the most popular elements of Indy 500 pre-race festivities and perform at Indianapolis Colts games and other major Indy events.