Antron Brown advanced to the semifinals for the third time in four events, and maintained his No. 2 Top Fuel points ranking.
Qualified: No. 11 (5.255 E.T. at 138.84 MPH)
E1: 3.834 E.T. at 318.47 MPH defeated Steve Torrence 4.472 E.T. at 197.10 MPH
E2: 4.127 E.T. at 254.62 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 4.189 E.T. at 244.83 MPH
E3: 4.024 E.T. at 269.40 MPH defeated by Justin Ashley 3.944 E.T. at 314.02 MPH
Antron Brown overcame an 11th seeded starting position and tough first-round match-up on Sunday at the NHRA Winternationals to advance to the semifinals for the third time in four events. The three-time world champion drew point leader and defending world champion Steve Torrence in round one of eliminations, a stout match-up more resembling of a final-round showdown than an E1 battle. In their 50th meeting, Brown was first out of the gate and drove the Matco Tools/Toyota/Global Electronic Technology/Hangsterfer’s/SiriusXM machine straight down the groove in 3.834 seconds for the win, effectively putting an end to his friend’s attempt to ‘sweep the Swing’ for the first time in his career.
Against Shawn Langdon in the quarterfinals, Brown once again secured the starting line advantage. Both he and his opponent were plagued with dropped cylinders but Langdon’s occurred right at the hit while Brown’s machine started putting holes out further down track and he was able to hang on for the win.
In Brown’s seventh semifinal round appearance this year, he lined up opposite Justin Ashley who grabbed the early lead and never trailed for the win when Brown’s machine started hazing the tires and dropping cylinders. Brown closes out the Western Swing holding strong in the No. 2 position in the Camping World Series point standings, a ranking he’s maintained since winning Atlanta earlier in the season.
“All-and-all, we rebounded well on race day like I knew our Matco Tools team can. I have all the confidence in these guys. That was a big monster match-up first round with Steve-O (Torrence). We tried to slow her down second round against Shawn Langdon, but it still dropped a hole out there. That track was just evil out there. It was tough, but we were able to move on to the semis. That was a tough race against a good-running car. Justin Ashley is great on the tree and our car was about to throw down. It was trucking early until it dropped a hole and slowed us down. Hats off to Justin and (crew chief) Mike Green over there. They’ve run great all weekend in tough conditions here at Pomona. We kept going rounds and that’s important. We really want to hold down this No. 2 spot into the Countdown. We just have to keep progressing and getting better. We have the Night Under Fire at Norwalk coming up, Bill Bader’s track in Ohio. We’re looking forward to having some fun with the fans and getting some test laps in. We just want to keep growing and progressing into the playoffs.”