2013 NHRA: Antron Brown Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Event Preview
Antron Brown had a few stops on his way to Brainerd International Raceway for this weekend's NHRA Mello Yello event in northern Minnesota.
Last weekend, as a crew chief, he helped 8-year-old son Anson win his second NHRA Jr. Dragster title that puts him within the 37 Wally trophies won by his father.
While Anson was in school Tuesday, Dad headed to St. Louis for a media tour to promote the Sept. 27-29 Mello Yello event at Gateway Motorsports Park and capped the daytrip by going to that night's Pittsburg Pirates-St. Louis Cardinals baseball game where he threw out the first pitch.
"It's been a busy day but I love Gateway and I won there last year," Brown said. "I would've liked to try to steal a base instead of throwing out a pitch but they wouldn't let me show my speed."
Brown will wait to show off his speed Friday when qualifying begins for the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd where he was runner-up a year ago after winning the title in 2011. Before moving to Top Fuel dragsters in 2008, Brown won four Pro Stock Motorcycle titles at the track and is tied with Kenny Bernstein for the third most Mello Yello titles at five and one behind Joe Amato, who has six.
"It's just special to be in the same sentence with those great drivers. But I don't know if I'll ever catch (John) Force," Brown said of the Funny Car driver who has won 11 times at Brainerd.
But milestones aren't as important to Brown as locking down a spot in the NHRA Countdown to the Champion six-race playoff, which is for the top-10 drivers after the U.S. Nationals in two weeks.
Brown, whose Matco Tools team with crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald has won two titles this season, is ranked fourth in points behind points leader Shawn Langdon of Al-Anabi Racing and Don Schumacher Racing teammates Tony Schumacher and Spencer Massey.
Last year after qualifying No. 2 at Brainerd, Brown advanced to the championship round where he lost to Morgan Lucas marking Brown's sixth trip to the final round at the track about 130 miles northwest of the Twin Cities.
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2013 4th 16 2 1 4 1 0 20-14
CAREER 278 39* 37 58 33 2 463-237
BEST TIME, SPEED
3.701 seconds*/** (10- 8-12, Reading, Pa.), 328.78 mph (10-8-12, Reading),* Quickest, fastest ever, ** NHRA national record
BROWN'S TRACK STATS
Last event: Aug. 4, Kent, Wash.; lost in second round to T.J. Zizzo.
A year ago: Qualified No. 2; lost in championship round to Morgan Lucas.
Career wins: 5 (2011, 2006-Pro Stock Motorcycle, 2003-PSM, 2001-PSM, 2000-PSM)
Career runner-ups: 1 (2012)
Career poles: 2 (2004-PSM, 2001-PSM)
LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS SCHEDULE
Friday: Nitro qualifying, 3:30 p.m., 6 p.m.
Saturday: Nitro qualifying, 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m.
Sunday: Championship eliminations, 11 a.m.
Saturday: Qualifying, 11 p.m. (ET), delayed
Sunday: Eliminations, 9 p.m. (ET), delayed
Friday: High 79; 10 percent chance of rain
Saturday: High 80; 20 percent chance of rain
Sunday: High 81; 10 percent chance of rain
NHRA MELLO YELLO SERIES STANDINGS
(After 16 of 24 events; through Kent, Wash.; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Shawn Langdon, 1,292*
2. TONY SCHUMACHER, 1,145*
3. SPENCER MASSEY, 1,140*
4. ANTRON BROWN, 958
5. Doug Kalitta, 956
6. Khalid alBalooshi, 920
7. Morgan Lucas, 884
8. Clay Millican, 822
9. Bob Vandergriff, 758
10. Steve Torrence, 741
*Clinched berth in NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship
2013 WINNERS: Langdon, SCHUMACHER, BROWN, SCHUMACHER, MASSEY, Vandergriff, BROWN, Langdon, Langdon, Steve Torrence, MASSEY, SCHUMACHER, Khalid alBalooshi, MASSEY, Langdon, Lucas.
TRAXXAS NITRO SCHOOTOUT QUALIFIERS
The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts, which are races within U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway near over Labor Day Weekend, showcases Top Fuel on Aug. 31 (Saturday) and Funny Car on Sept. 1 (Sunday). Each Nitro Shootout champ will receive $100,000 for their teams.
The following drivers have qualified by winning Mello Yello Series titles this season:
1. Shawn Langdon (Pomona 1)
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (PHOENIX)
3. ANTRON BROWN (GAINESVILLE)
4. SPENCER MASSEY (CHARLOTTE 1)
5. Bob Vandergriff Jr. (Houston)
6. Steve Torrence (Bristol)
7. Khalid alBalooshi (Norwalk)
8. Fan vote