Don Schumacher Racing press release
ANTRON BROWN LOSES RACE, TITLE HOPES ON SLIMMEST OF MARGINS AT NHRA FINALS
POMONA, Calif., November 13, 2011 – The difference was barely perceptible in the photo, but the narrow loss in today’s second round of the 47th-annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals here ended Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster pilot Antron Brown’s 2011 NHRA Full Throttle title chances.
Larry Dixon edged out Brown at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona finish line by a paper-thin four-thousandths (.004) of a second, ending the season for the New Jersey native.
“We did our job and another great driver stepped up and had a great run,” said Brown, who ended the season third in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship standings. “When it’s your day, it’s your day and today was just not ours. We did our job; we put our best foot forward, but it wasn’t enough. Of course, we were trying to run better (than the 3.837 seconds at 316.75 miles per hour), but it didn’t happen.”
Brown came into the season finale a little more than two rounds behind eventual titlist Del Worsham and less than one behind Don Schumacher Racing teammate Spencer Massey. All of his title hopes were pinned on passing those two and staying ahead of Dixon.
“This is racing; you do the best you can, as we have all year and the results come out at the finish line,” reflected the former Pro Stock Motorcycle driver. “We’ve had a stellar season, without a single first-round loss. We wanted a shot at the championship coming into the last race; we had it and just fell a little bit short.
“We’ll come back next year in the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster and go after it again. We’ll do it the same way we did this year – behind Mark and Brian (Corradi and Oswald, co-crew chiefs) – coming at it hard, digging deep and attacking. We hope to be in the same, no better, position on the last day of next season than we were this year.”
Brown finished the year with six wins in eight final rounds, his second-best (six in 10 during 2009) season in those terms as a Top Fuel driver.
This weekend’s event was filled with drama for the 35-year-old driver before race day dawned. Poor runs in the initial two qualifying sessions had Brown outside of the field entering a final day of qualifying with questionable weather. A 3.848-second pass at 314.61 mph in Saturday’s first – and only round – earned him the number-seven starting spot and tough first-round opponent in Bob Vandergriff Jr. He defeated Vandergriff with a 3.842 run at 322.58 mph to set up the match with Dixon.