BROWN SUFFERS RARE OPENING-ROUND LOSS AT U.S. NATIONALS, WILL LEAD TOP FUEL FIELD INTO COUNTDOWN TO 1 AT CHARLOTTE CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 7, 2009) - Antron Brown and the Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools Top Fuel team suffered an unusual first-round...
BROWN SUFFERS RARE OPENING-ROUND LOSS AT U.S. NATIONALS, WILL LEAD TOP FUEL FIELD INTO COUNTDOWN TO 1 AT CHARLOTTE
CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 7, 2009) - Antron Brown and the Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools Top Fuel team suffered an unusual first-round loss Sunday at O'Reilly Raceway Park. The seven-time Top Fuel winner, including five wins this season, will own a 30-point lead entering the Countdown to 1 six-race playoff after earning 1,473 points in the first 18 races to lead the Top Fuel class.
A day after racing his bright blue Matco Tools/Toyota dragster to its category-leading seventh pole of the season with a blast of 3.835 seconds at 319.22 mph, Brown was matched-up against Rookie of the Year frontrunner Spencer Massey and the Don Prudhomme-owned team for the fifth time this season. Massey's silver and blue car got the jump out of the gate as Brown powered the bright blue Matco Tools car to a lap of 3.872 seconds at 317.34 mph. However, Massey edged out the win with a slower run of 3.881 at 310.27. It was just Brown's second career holeshot loss in Top Fuel and the first opening-round loss of the season for the Matco Tools team. The Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald-tuned Matco/DirecTV car clocked the fastest pass of the round. Brown is now 2-3 against Massey this season and has a mark of 42-13 in 18 races.
"That was a tough one," Brown said. "I put this one on me. Spencer (Massey) did a great job and they got the win. This is a bummer, but we're still positive here at MAR with our Matco Tools team. We're No. 1 going into the Countdown (to 1) and our Matco Tools car is running great. Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) and this entire team does a great job and we'll do well in Charlotte. We know we can win the championship and what happened today makes us even hungrier."
The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the second annual Carolina NHRA Nationals, Sept. 17-20, at zMax Dragway at Concord near Charlotte. It is the first race of the Countdown to 1 six-race playoff to determine the 2009 NHRA champions. Brown posted a runner-up fininsh at the inaugural Charlotte NHRA race last September. The 23-time NHRA winner has secured the top position in the Countdown to 1 and will own a 30-point lead over two-time champion Larry Dixon.