Qualified: No. 10 (3.809 E.T. at 316.75 MPH)
E1: 3.759 E.T. at 322.42 MPH defeated Mike Salinas 3.737 E.T. at 329.83 MPH
E2: 3.803 E.T. at 322.04 MPH defeated Billy Torrence 4.500 E.T. at 173.52 MPH
E3: 4.450 E.T. at 182.92 MPH defeated by Shawn Langdon 3.821 E.T. at 318.39 MPH
Antron Brown was hoping to pick up right where he left off in 2020, and that was by ending his day in the winner’s circle. The driver of the Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster came close, successfully advancing to the semifinals at the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season-opener.
Brown qualified his Matco machine 10th to set up a round-one matchup with Mike Salinas on Sunday morning. The 2013 NHRA Gatornationals Top Fuel champion posted a 3.759 E.T. but it was his ultra-quick reflexes that allowed him to capture the holeshot victory over Salinas’ 3.737-second pass. Brown is regarded as one of the best ‘leavers’ in the sport, and for good reason. His E1 holeshot win was his 55th overall, and his ability to launch quickly off the line came into play once again in round two when he used his starting line advantage coupled with a 3.809 E.T. to defeat Billy Torrence and earn a bid to the semifinals. Brown was clean off the line against his round three challenger, Shawn Langdon, but started hazing the tires around 400 feet while Langdon was able to complete a full pass for the win.
“All-and-all it was a pretty good race weekend for this Matco Tools Toyota team here in Gainesville. Anytime you get to the semifinals, you’ve done a good job given how stout the competition is in this Top Fuel class. We learned a lot and that’s the mission. These were tricky, tricky conditions here in Gainesville today and our Matco Tools car just keeps getting better and better. The more laps we make I feel we’re just going to stronger. We’ll go back to the shop and work hard and come out swinging at the next race. Today we got a piece of the steak, but we didn’t get dessert. Next race we need to get the whole meal.”