Countdown to the Championship opener ends early for reigning champ Brown, Matco Tools team at NHRA Carolina Nationals
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2017) – The Matco Tools team opened the NHRA Countdown to the Championship with a quarterfinal loss at the Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte.
But three-time and reigning champion Antron Brown knows that they’re showing championship form with crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason.
After qualifying fourth for Sunday’s championship eliminations, Brown ousted Terry McMillen on a holeshot before falling to Clay Millican in the second round.
“We had a good race weekend here in Charlotte,” Brown said. “Trust me, we were pushing hard trying to win. I know all these Matco Tools/U.S. Army guys feel the same way I do. It’s definitely getting us all at the level that we need to be at. When you lose a close race, it makes you hungry. You know there is going to be a lot of races like this in the Countdown. We just have to step up.”
They’re anxious to get to next weekend’s Mello Yello event at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.
“The next race is only a few days away so we don’t have to wait long to get back on this horse. And our main focus is to go out there and qualify well and to race well on Sunday. That’s not going to change. We’re getting better. We all know we lost a close, close race. And we know where we need to be. We know how important and crucial these next couple of weeks are.
“It absolutely helps that we are going to tracks the next two weeks where we race well at. We are all going to step up and be better as a team. We are all going to do it together.”
Event Winner: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports)
No. 1 qualifier: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports)
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald; Assistant: Brad Mason
First round: BROWN 3.794, 320.66) def. Terry McMillen (3.786, 321.12)
Second round: Clay Millican (3.754, 323.35) def. BROWN (3.776, 323.84)
Qualified: No: 4
FRIDAY: 10.493 sec., 69.86 mph, (Session 1); 3.728, 331.85, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.904, 267.22, (Session 3); 5.573, 123.28, (Session 4)
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
(Through Charlotte, 19 of 24 events, 1 of 6 in Countdown playoff; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
- Doug Kalitta (1) 2173 ——
- Steve Torrence (7) 2159 -14
- Antron Brown (4) 2135 -38
- Brittany Force (1) 2117 -56
- Tony Schumacher (1) 2115 -58
- Clay Millican (1) 2110 -63
- Leah Pritchett (4) 2108 -65
- Terry McMillen 2051 -122
- Scott Palmer 2042 -131
- Shawn Langdon 2036 -137