BROWN RACES TO SEMIFINALS AT READING, SECURES NO. 1 POSITION IN COUNTDOWN TO 1 MOHNTON, Pa. (Aug. 23, 2009) - Antron Brown drove his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at Maple Grove Raceway. In doing...
BROWN RACES TO SEMIFINALS AT READING, SECURES NO. 1 POSITION IN COUNTDOWN TO 1
MOHNTON, Pa. (Aug. 23, 2009) - Antron Brown drove his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at Maple Grove Raceway. In doing so, the seven-time Top Fuel winner secured the No. 1 position in the Countdown to 1, which will earn the Matco Tools flagship driver a 30-point lead entering the six-race playoff which begins in Concord, N.C. next month.
Brown raced to his category-best sixth No. 1 qualifying award of the season Saturday at Maple Grove Raceway when the former college track star sped to a lap of 3.854 seconds at 315.71 mph behind the wheel of his Matco Tools/Lend America dragster. The former Pro Stock Motorcycle rider then defeated 17-time NHRA winner Brandon Bernstein, and Nebraska runner Joe Hartley, before falling to 2009 Rookie of the Year candidate Spencer Massey in the semifinals. Brown now leads two-time series champion Larry Dixon by 187 points following 17 of 24 races on the 2009 NHRA schedule.
Squaring off against the Budweiser car for the 10th time, Brown remained the only Top Fuel driver to not have lost in the opening round this season. Bernstein used the best reaction time of the round (.025 of-a-second), but Brown used a Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald tune-up to cruise to low elapsed time of the round. Brown powered the Matco Tools/Toyota car to a pass of 3.951 seconds at 281.25 to score the win. The Matco-backed car spun the tires at the top end causing the slower speed. Bernstein's red dragster slowed to a run of 4.347 at 217.14. Brown is now 6-4 in his career against Bernstein and 4-2 this season.
Brown and the Matco Tools/SpongeTech team advanced to at least the semifinals for the eighth straight race by clocking low elapsed time and top speed of the second round of eliminations. Brown used a starting-line advantage to card the wire-to-wire win. The Corradi/Oswald-tuned Matco car clocked a performance of 3.934 at 300.26 to hold-off Hartley's pass of 4.070 at 292.96. Brown is now 4-0 against Hartley this season.
Two of the better leavers in the sport used reaction times in the .040-range as Brown's Matco Tools rail spun the tires mid-track and slowed to a lap of 4.219 at 255.82. Massey's Don Prudhomme-owned car posted a lap of 3.974 at 294.24 to earn the trip to the semifinals. Brown is now 2-2 against Massey this season. The 23-time NHRA winner now has a mark of 42-12 in 17 races this season. Brown has 78 career Top Fuel round wins and 299 in his 12-year career. Massey lost to Larry Dixon in the final round at Maple Grove Raceway on Sunday as Dixon earned his fifth win of the season.
"It was another good weekend for our MAR Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster," Brown said. "We got the pole again and went back to the semis. We had an issue with the blower having too much boost and that's why it hazed the tires in the semis. It was a good weekend though. Our Matco Tools car continues to run awesome and Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) and this entire team do a great job. We clinched the No. 1 spot for the Countdown (to 1) and that's an awesome accomplishment. Our team should be very proud of that with so many other great cars like that U.S. Army car and the Al-Anabi team."
The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the 55th annual U.S. Nationals, Sept. 2-7, at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Ind. near Indianapolis. Brown is a two-time Pro Stock Motorcycle winner of the most prestigious race on the NHRA schedule (2000, '04). Last season, he raced the Matco Tools rail to a semifinal finish after qualifying eighth at 3.878-seconds.