2014 NHRA: Antron Brown SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals Event Preview
Antron Brown and Matco Tools team have the hottest Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heading this weekend to Las Vegas where he's been able to turn the wick a little higher.
Antron, the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world champion and runner-up for the crown last season, has advanced to two of three championship rounds this season and is one of three drivers to have made it to a winner's circle.
The 38-year-old driver's streak began in last season's NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff when he won twice, including at Las Vegas in the fall. He has won three titles in five championship rounds over the past seven events for Don Schumacher Racing and was runner-up at the track last spring.
After Antron qualified third but was upset in the first round of the season-opener at Pomona, Calif., the men of Matco marched through the field two weeks later to win the event near Phoenix then on March 16 in the Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla., qualified second and advanced to his second consecutive championship round.
"We're in that zone, and once you get in it you want to stay in it," said Antron, whose Matco team is led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald. "We know where we need to be and hopefully that will carry on throughout the year. We haven't even hit our full stride yet."
Antron will arrive at Las Vegas as the second-ranked team in the Mello Yello Top Fuel standings.
After arriving home in Pittsboro, Ind., from Gainesville two weeks ago, he jetted to Charlotte to sit courtside at a Charlotte Bobcats NBA game and promote the April 11-13 NHRA Four-wide Nationals. He then left Indianapolis a day later for Los Angeles for Toyota Motorsports Day at Torrance, Calif.
He was able to sleep in his own bed Friday night but drove to near Chicago to attend the Saturday wedding of Michael O'Guin, the clutch specialist on his Matco team, to Marla Weidenaar, the assistant clutch specialist on a DSR Funny Car.
He headed to El Paso, Texas, Monday to spend the following day with students at Western Technical College.
THURSDAY'S FANFEST ON 'BROOKLYN BRIDGE'
The annual spring NHRA Fanfest returns to the "Brooklyn Bridge" in front of the New York New York Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip is 5-7 p.m. (PT) Thursday when the event kicks off the NHRA Nationals with music, games, ticket giveaways and fun.
Antron will lead Don Schumacher Racing drivers Tony Schumacher, Spencer Massey, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr., who will be joined by other stars of the Mello Yello Series from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a free autograph session.
Another feature of Fanfest will be the display of DSR's New York New York Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.
New York New York is the official Las Vegas hotel and casino for DSR.
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools dragster
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 2nd 3 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 7-2
CAREER 289 42 39 58 82 65 34 3 483-244
Best Time, Speed: 3.701*/** sec. (10- 8-12, Reading, Pa.); 328.78 mph (10-8-12, Reading)
* Quickest ever/** NHRA record
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event (March 14-16, Gainesville, Fla.): Qualified No. 2; lost in championship round to Doug Kalitta
A year ago at Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 1; lost in championship round to Tony Schumacher
Last fall at Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 6; defeated Clay Millican in championship round
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 1 (2011); Runner-ups 3 (2013, 2012, 2008); Poles 2 (2013, 2010)
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 2 (2013, 2011); Runner-ups 4 (2013, 2012, 2008, 2001*); Poles 2 (2013, 2010); * Pro Stock Motorcycle
NHRA MELLO YELLO TOP FUEL STANDINGS
(Through Gainesville, third of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins), points
1. Doug Kalitta (1), 309
2. ANTRON BROWN (1), 256
3. Steve Torrence (0), 230
4. Khalid alBalooshi (1), 197
5. SPENCER MASSEY (0), 180
6. Shawn Langdon (0), 168
7. Brittany Force (0), 158
8. TONY SCHUMACHER (0), 146
9. David Grubnic (0), 138
10. Richie Crampton (0), 123