2013 NHRA: Antron Brown NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway Event Recap: Runner-up
The performance of Antron Brown's Top Fuel Dragster is back to where it was when they won two of this year's first seven events in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series before falling into a midyear slump.
His Matco Tools' Tools for the Cause dragster tuned by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald won the event title a week ago, their third of 2013, near St. Louis and advanced to Sunday's championship round of the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.
That should have been enough for the Don Schumacher Racing team to make a major gain in the standings, but the driver he lost to in the final, Shawn Langdon, is the driver he is trying to catch. When Langdon won the late afternoon match he gained 20 points on Brown, who now trails the leader by 129 but moved up one spot to fifth in the Countdown to the Championship standings.
"In the last two races we won seven out of eight rounds," Brown said. "We just want to finish the year out strong just like that. If we do that in the next two races it puts us right there contending for the championship at the end. We just have to keep on pushing."
In the first round, Brown was quicker at the starting line that allowed his 3.811 seconds (321.88 mph) overcame a better run (3.808) by Billy Torrence. Brown then defeated the higher seeded Brandon Bernstein and DSR teammate Spencer Massey to reach the final round.
"Today showed that anything is possible with a lot of people going out early," Brown said. "We're going to keep giving it our all and take it one round at a time and just do what we can do. We're still in the fight for the championship and we just have to focus on getting those win lights. We have two weeks off to kind of take a breath and get recharged to go after it in Vegas."
The fourth of six events in the Countdown playoff is Oct. 24-27 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The following are Brown's results and updated standings from Maple Grove Raceway:
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
Event winner: Shawn Langdon (Al-Anabi Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Morgan Lucas (Morgan Lucas Racing), 3.772 sec., 314.90 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools' Tools for the Cause Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 5
First round: BROWN (3.811 sec., 321.88 mph) def. Billy Torrence (3.808, 325.92)
Second round: BROWN (3.847, 321.50) def. Brandon Bernstein (redlight)
Semifinals: BROWN (3.840, 320.58) def. Spencer Massey (3.831, 320.74)
Final: Shawn Langdon (3.779, 323.81) def. BROWN (3.806, 322.04)
First session: 3.845 sec., 319.82 mph
Second session: 3.793, 321.27 mph
Third session: 3.793, 324.98
Fourth session: 3.815, 320.30
NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Unofficial through Oct. 6 eliminations at Maple Grove Raceway; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Shawn Langdon 2,2,441 (--)
2. Doug Kalitta 2,358 (-83)
3. SPENCER MASSEY 2,355 (-86)
4. Morgan Lucas 2,316 (-125)
5. ANTRON BROWN 2,312 (-129)
6. TONY SCHUMACHER 2,302 (-139)
7. Clay Millican 2,232 (-209)
8. Khalid alBalooshi 2,223 (-218)
9. Bob Vandergriff 2,187 (-254)
10. Steve Torrence 2,125 (-316)
2013 REGULAR SEASON WINNERS: Langdon, SCHUMACHER, BROWN, SCHUMACHER, MASSEY, Vandergriff, BROWN, Langdon, Langdon, Steve Torrence, MASSEY, SCHUMACHER, alBalooshi, MASSEY, Langdon, Lucas, MASSEY, Langdon.
2013 COUNTDOWN WINNERS: Lucas (Charlotte), Doug Kalitta (Dallas), BROWN, Langdon (Reading).