ANTRON BROWN RACES MATCO TOOLS DRAGSTER TO WIN AT PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 22, 2009) - Antron Brown raced his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to his 19th career win Sunday afternoon at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix. The...
ANTRON BROWN RACES MATCO TOOLS DRAGSTER TO WIN AT PHOENIX
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 22, 2009) - Antron Brown raced his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to his 19th career win Sunday afternoon at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix. The popular Top Fuel racer now leads the NHRA Top Fuel standings for the first time in his career.
After qualifying his Matco Tools rail third on Saturday afternoon with an elapsed time of 3.830-seconds, Brown edged Top Fuel rookie Del Cox, Jr., fan-favorite Morgan Lucas, and six-time series champion Tony Schumacher before racing by Brandon Bernstein for the win at the 25th annual Lucas Slick Mist Nationals.
In round one, Brown and Cox were the fourth pair of drivers to compete on race day. Cox got the slight jump at the start in his black dragster, but Brown used horsepower from crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to drive by for the win in the right lane at F.I.R. The Matco car turned in a wounded pass of 3.977 seconds at 232.39 mph to advance to the quarterfinals. The recently licensed Top Fuel driver competing in his second career race carded a lap of 4.056 at 283.55. The Matco team was forced to change motors for the second round match with Lucas after blowing up the motor in the first round win. Squaring off against Lucas for the third time, Brown earned a leg up in the rubber match. As the first pair of cars to race in round two, Brown got the holeshot start and raced his Matco Tools dragster to the wire-to-wire win. Brown cruised to a lap of 3.885 at 303.78 in the semifinals as the Matco car dropped a cylinder down track and made a move towards the center line. Brown was able to keep the car in his lane to advance to the semifinals for the second straight race. Lucas slightly trailed with an effort of 3.898 at 302.55. Brown is now 2-1 against the Geico/Lucas Oil-sponsored driver.
In the semifinals, Brown scored his second career win over the U.S. Army dragster by using a tune-up from Corradi and Oswald to advance to the final round. The Matco Tools rail turned in a weekend-best lap of 3.819 at 315.34 to hold off the hard-charging car of Schumacher, who clocked a run of 3.852 at 313.29. Brown is now 2-6 against the 56-time NHRA Top Fuel champion. Competing in his 40th career final round, Brown got the jump out of the starting gate and never looked back as he powered the Matco Tools dragster to his 19th career NHRA win and third in Top Fuel. Brown drove the Corradi and Oswald-tuned rail to a lap of 3.846 at 310.63 to knock off a tire-smoking Bernstein. The red Budweiser car slowed to a pass of 5.173 at 143.54 in the final round. Brown now has a round-record of 7-1 this season. Brown leads Bernstein by 42 points in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel standings.
"This just shows how strong our team really is here at MAR (Mike Ashley Racing)," Brown said. "With all the adversity we dealt with this off season, this is just an awesome feeling. Lee Beard left us with a great race car and with Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald in here, there was no doubt in my mind that we'd do well. "After testing, here in Phoenix last month, our team just really gelled. We didn't need any glue or adhesive we just stuck together. We just need to get more laps and to be more consistent. We've got an awesome race car. We were bummed to not win at Pomona last race because we really had the car to beat, but you can't count anyone out in this sport. To run that 3.81 in the semis today was awesome to show we can run with (Larry) Dixon and Tony (Schumacher) and all the top dogs. It's going to be a fun year in Top Fuel, but it'll be tough to win races with so many great teams."
The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the 40th annual ACDelco Gatornationals, March 12-15, at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway. Brown qualified fourth at the Gainesville race last March and advanced to the quarterfinals. He posted a runner-up finish at the 2006 Gatornationals and earned the pole in 2001.