BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 25, 2017) – The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series may be winding down – but Antron Brown isn’t.
The three-time champion is full speed ahead focusing on family while he’s at home near Don Schumacher Racing headquarters in Brownsburg, Ind., but is ready to put his focus back on the final two races of the Countdown to the Championship playoff.
The series heads to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this weekend’s NHRA Toyota Nationals and there’s only one thing Antron wants to do – and that’s win.
The Matco Tools ‘Tools for the Cause’ team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason sit fourth in NHRA Top Fuel points standings, 105 behind leader Steve Torrence.
“With the weekends off we just keep busy with the kids. We had all three of them out at the track in Indy racing juniors and it’s just great family time.
“But we want to go back this weekend in Vegas and do what we did there in the spring – and that’s win,” said three-time Top Fuel champion Brown. “I know we can do it, I know we can when each and every weekend and that’s what makes this Matco Tools team so special.”
Earlier this year at the spring Las Vegas event, Brown earned a milestone win for the DSR organization – its 300th. But what he’s chasing this weekend is even bigger – his third consecutive Top Fuel championship and fourth overall.
“We’re just focused on going rounds and everything else will be what it’ll be,” Brown said. “We can’t think about what this is going to do or what that’s going to do. We focus on going down the track each and every lap and getting that win.”
Antron Brown clinched his last two world championships for Don Schumacher Racing at Las Vegas and was able to celebrate two weeks later at the Pomona finale in Southern California.
That won’t happen for Brown or any other driver in the nitro categories this year, largely because NHRA enhanced the points value for the season-ending NHRA Finals by about 150 percent.
At Las Vegas this weekend, like 22 of the previous 23 events in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the most a driver can earn with a perfect weekend is 130 points; at Pomona, 191 can be earned.
No Top Fuel or Funny Car driver can leave Las Vegas with a 192-point lead and clinch a championship, and any driver 192 or more points out of first after Sunday’s final round at Las Vegas will be eliminated from contention.
The seven DSR drivers and 19 of the 20 in the Countdown remain alive in championship contention but most are likely to be mathematically eliminated after Las Vegas.
In Funny Car, DSR’s Ron Capps (NAPA AUTO PARTS) is atop the standings but just 24 points ahead of hard-charging Robert Hight of John Force Racing. The drivers each have won twice through the first four Countdown playoff races. Jack Beckman (Infinite Hero) is fourth, 186 back while Matt Hagan (Pennzoil/Mopar) is fifth (-226) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (Make-A-Wish) is seventh (-271).
In Top Fuel, Steve Torrence leads Brittany Force and Doug Kalitta by 57 and 76 points, with DSR’s three-time world champion Antron Brown, winner of the last two championships for Matco Tools, ranked fourth and 105 behind Torrence. Leah Pritchett (Pennzoil) is fifth (-180) and eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher is sixth (-192).
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools ‘Tools for the Cause’
Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald; Assistant: Brad Mason
Last event, Oct. 15, Dallas: Qualified No. 3, lost in semifinals to Shawn Langdon
A year ago at Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 4, lost in semifinals to J.R. Todd
This spring at Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 8, won in championship round over Tony Schumacher
Career at Las Vegas 2: Wins 1 (2013), Runner-ups 1 (2001-PSM), Poles 1 (2015)
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 3 (2011, 2013, 2016), Runner-ups 4 (2001, 2008, 2012, 2013),
Poles 5 (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 4th 22 4 6 5 7 0 2 0 51-18
CAREER 380 65* 53 79 100 80 49 3 672-311
*49 TF/16 PSB
Career best time, speed: 3.667 (2017, Phoenix); 333.16 mph (2017, Topeka)
BY THE NUMBERS
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Official standings through Dallas; 22 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
- Steve Torrence (8) 2465 —–
- Brittany Force (3) 2408 -57
- Doug Kalitta (1) 2389 -76
- ANTRON BROWN (4) 2360 -105
- LEAH PRITCHETT (4) 2285 -180
- TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 2273 -192
- Clay Millican (1) 2268 -197
- Shawn Langdon 2193 -272
- Terry McMillen 2147 -318
- Scott Palmer 2137 -328