BROWN CARDS RUNNER-UP FINISH AT JOLIET, REGAINS TOP FUEL POINTS LEAD JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2009) - Antron Brown drove his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a runner-up finish Sunday afternoon at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago. The Matco...
BROWN CARDS RUNNER-UP FINISH AT JOLIET, REGAINS TOP FUEL POINTS LEAD
JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2009) - Antron Brown drove his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a runner-up finish Sunday afternoon at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago. The Matco Tools flagship driver regained the Top Fuel points lead following 10 of 24 races on the 2009 NHRA schedule.
A day after earning his fourth No.1 qualifying award of the season and 18th career pole, Brown defeated veteran racer Luigi Novelli, former teammate Hot Rod Fuller, and longtime Matco Tools Racing driver Clay Millican before falling to NHRA rookie driver Spencer Massey in the final round. Brown now leads six-time series champion Tony Schumacher by 18 points in the NHRA standings. Brown also record low elapsed time and top speed of the meet honors for the fifth time this season.
Racing out of the No. 1 qualifying position for the second straight week, Brown scored the wire-to-wire win over the popular veteran driver from Illinois. Brown left first and used a tune-up from crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to power the Matco Tools/A&R Transportation dragster to a lap of 3.879 seconds at 314.83 mph. It was the top speed of the round for Top Fuel's new "King of Speed." Novelli trailed at 4.176 at 267.85. It was the first meeting between Brown and Novelli.
In a battle of former teammates, Brown and the Matco Tools/DirecTV car scored the narrow win over the seven-time Top Fuel winner. Brown used a slight starting line advantage and a lap of 3.865 at 300.33 to advance to the semifinals for the fifth time in 10 races this season. Fuller trailed slightly with his quicker but losing lap of 3.857 at 308.14. It was Brown's first holeshot win of the season. Brown is now 4-1 in five races against Fuller. It was Brown's 20th round win of the season.
In the semifinals, Millican used a slight starting line advantage, but Brown used Mark Oswald horsepower to roll to the win and his fourth final round appearance of the 2009 season. The Matco Tools/A&R/DirecTV car clocked the quickest and fastest round of the round at 3.871 at 309.70 to march into the final round at Route 66 Raceway. Millican's white dragster lost traction and slowed to a pass of 5.306 at 126.27.
Competing in his 42nd career final round and in ninth Top Fuel, two of the better leavers in the class used nearly identical reaction times as Brown sped to a lap of 3.870 at 301.51. Massey scored the win with a quicker pass of 3.856 at 308.35 to earn his first career NHRA Top Fuel win in his Don Prudhomme-owned dragster. The Matco Tools car was ahead after 330-feet, but spun the tires causing the slower speed. Brown now has a mark of 21-9 this season.
"This was a really good weekend for our MAR Matco Tools team," Brown said. "To qualify first again, our car is running so well. We had a great weekend for all our awesome Matco distributors here at Joliet (Ill.) and the folks from A&R (Transportation) who were supporting us here this weekend. We've got a lot of momentum heading into E-Town (Englishtown, N.J.).
"Our car ran really good all weekend. As usual, we were very consistent. We had a small issue today with our car spinning the tires down track, that's why you saw our speeds drop off. We were 314 (mph) in the first round, but in that final round we started spinning the tires after 330 (feet) and that really hurt us. We could have run like a (3).83 on that pass if it stuck. It's all good though. I'm going home to New Jersey next weekend and we're excited to do the (New York) Stock Exchange on Wednesday and have some fun with the family in (New) Jersey."
The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the 40th annual United Association SuperNationals, June 11-14, from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. Brown earned his second career Top Fuel No. 1 qualifying award last June at the Englishtown race as he paced the field with a lap of 4.502 seconds at 326.24 mph. Brown has three career poles at the SuperNationals and is a two-time Pro Stock Motorcycle winner at historic Raceway Park.