Brainerd, Minn. - Antron Brown's team is as tough as the Matco Tools they use on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series tour.
They showcased that Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway, overcoming problems between rounds en route to a final round appearance at the Minnesota track.
"My hat goes off to every one of my crew guys," Brown said. "We had some problems between rounds and the crew guys just kept that never give up spirit and worked their hearts out."
Brown didn't have an easy day on the drag strip either. After earning the first-round win over Bob Vandergriff on a holeshot, they were paired with David Grubnic in the second round.
The team set low the elapsed time (3.811 seconds) of the second round to earn the win and were faced with Doug Kalitta in the semifinals. Before meeting in the semis, Kalitta had won the past four times he raced Brown.
That set up a final round pairing between Brown and Morgan Lucas, who beat Brown's Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher to get to the championship race.
"The competition is so tough and all I can say is that Morgan's team got it today," Brown said. "We were digging deep in the final round and they just got us. It was a good old fashion NHRA drag race, right there.
"It's a bummer we didn't win. We love racing here in Brainerd and winning last year was unbelievable."
Brown wrestled the points lead away from teammate Spencer Massey when Brown won and Massey was upset in the first round.
"I feel great about this Matco Tools/U.S. Army team," Brown said. "We're going to get ready for the U.S. Nationals.
"The car was competitive all weekend long. I like heading into the U.S. Nationals and the Countdown with a lot of confidence. It's a great feeling."
The following are Brown results from the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd:
Event winner: Morgan Lucas, Morgan Lucas Racing
No. 1 qualifier: Tony Schumacher DSR, 3.791 sec., 323.97 mph
Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
First round: BROWN (3.851 sec., 305.29) def. Bob Vandergriff (3.844, 325.22)
Second round: BROWN (3.811, 322.65) def. David Grubnic (3.844, 313.58)
Semifinals: BROWN (3.812, 320.05) def. Doug Kalitta (3.828, 321.96)
Final: Morgan Lucas (3.819, 316.90) def. BROWN (3.831, 313.80)
Session 1: 3.829 sec., 320.81 mph
Session 2: 3.791, 323.74
Session 3: 6.091, 105.34
Session 4: 3.832, 321.73
Source: Don Schumacher Racing