BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Aug. 29, 2017) – Having a game plan is crucial for this weekend’s prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. Three-time and reigning Top Fuel champion Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team have one prepared for this weekend’s action-packed Mello Yello event.
With five qualifying runs and the “race within a race” $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Top Fuel Shootout on Saturday ahead of Monday’s Labor Day championship eliminations, it is important first for the Matco Tools team to qualify well.
“Our main focus is to do well in the Shootout, get a good qualifying spot for Monday and of course we want to win our fourth Indy Wally,” Brown said. “Our goal all season was to get into the Countdown as the No. 1 seed. That’s been our game plan. Those extra points for being first in the regular season can be crucial.”
The Matco Tools team ranks No. 1 in Top Fuel points standings with a 31-point lead over Steve Torrence in second. Crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason have led the Matco Tools team to the last five consecutive final rounds and 8 out of the last 10.
“We see the U.S. Nationals as the first race in the Countdown,” Brown said. “The Countdown will make the points tighter but it already is pretty tight. It will make it even more exciting and fun for fans. I’m just pumped up because the tighter it gets the harder our Matco Tools/U.S. Army team digs.”
An added bonus of this weekend’s U.S. Nationals is it is home for the Brown family. Brown and his wife, Billie Jo, reside just minutes from the track in Pittsboro with their three children, Arianna, Anson and Adler.
“It’s always a good time at the U.S. Nationals and it’s in my backyard so my family will be there when they aren’t in school.”
ANTRON BROWN, Mello Yello/Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster – 3x world champ, points leader
Last event (Aug. 20), Brainerd, Minn.: Qualified No. 7, lost in championship round to Leah Pritchett
A year ago at Indy: Qualified No. 5, lost in second round to Tony Schumacher
Career at Indy: Wins 3 (2000, 2004-PSM; 2011-TF), Runner-ups 0, Poles 4 (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 1st 17 4 6 2 5 0 2 0 43-13
CAREER 375 65* 53 76 98 80 49 3 666-307
* 49 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 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
DSR OPEN HOUSE PRESENTED BY PENNZOIL TO BENEFIT RILEY HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN: The 12th annual DSR Open House presented by Pennzoil to benefit Riley Hospital for Children is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday at Don Schumacher Racing headquarters (1681 E. Northfield Drive, Brownsburg) to kick off the U.S. Nationals held only 2 miles from DSR.
DSR’s seven nitro drivers and team owner Don Schumacher will be on hand to sign autographs at noon after a performance by the Gordon Pipers bagpipe and drum corp. In addition to a silent auction (see early items at dsr17.auction-bid.org), the Open House features one of Indiana’s biggest indoor car and bike shows organized by the Indy Hi-Winders Car Club, nitro Cacklefest, various displays and vendors and some of the area’s most popular food trucks and Papa John’s pizza.
COUNTDOWN TO THE COUNTDOWN: Many drivers consider the U.S. Nationals to be the “first” race of the Mello Yello Series Countdown to the Championship six-race playoff that begins two weeks after Indy near Charlotte.
Although Indy is the last of 18 regular season events, it will finalize the top-10 drivers who qualify to contend for their respective world titles, and points are reset after Indy for the Countdown.
This week offers drivers a chance to earn a maximum of 191 points compared to 130 offered at the previous 17 races. Indy is the only Mello Yello event with five qualifying sessions instead of four.
The quickest driver in each session earns four bonus points, second quick gets three, third quick gets two and fourth quick gets one. Each round win on Monday pays 30 points instead of 20. Each driver making a qualifying attempt earns 15 and added points are issued for the final qualifying order: 10 for first, nine for second, eight for third, seven for fourth, six each for fifth and sixth, five for seventh and eighth, four for ninth through 12th and three for 13th through 16th.
$100,000 TRAXXAS TOP FUEL NITRO SHOOTOUT: All three DSR nitro teams are qualified for the $100,000-to-win Traxxas Top Fuel Nitro Shootout. One spot in each category will be determined by a fan vote and lottery drawing on Wednesday during Fanfest at Monument Circle in downtown Indy.
The top seed for Saturday’s Top Fuel Shootout is DSR’s three-time and reigning world champion ANTRON BROWN, who will race the lottery winner in the first round. Other first-round matchups are: LEAH PRITCHETT vs. Doug Kalitta, TONY SCHUMACHER vs. Brittany Force and Steve Torrence vs. Clay Millican.
U.S. NATIONALS ON FOX: FOX national broadcast and FS1 will televise coverage of the U.S. Nationals, starting with qualifying on Sunday, Sept. 3 on FS1 at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. (EDT). The broadcasts continue on FS1 with two hours of live coverage of eliminations on Monday, Sept. 4 starting at 11 a.m., continuing live on FOX at 1 p.m.