TOP QUALIFIER ANTRON BROWN FALLS IN CLOSE RACE IN ROUND TWO AT TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. (May 31, 2009) - Antron Brown, who started from the No. 1 qualifying position, raced his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a quarterfinal finish on Sunday...
TOP QUALIFIER ANTRON BROWN FALLS IN CLOSE RACE IN ROUND TWO AT TOPEKA
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 31, 2009) - Antron Brown, who started from the No. 1 qualifying position, raced his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a quarterfinal finish on Sunday afternoon at Heartland Park Topeka. The 20-time NHRA winner remains second in the NHRA standings.
After earning his third No. 1 qualifying award of the season and 17th pole position of his career on Saturday afternoon at Heartland Park, Brown advanced to the quarterfinals after earning a bye run in the opening round on Sunday. He then was defeated in a very close drag race by 2009 rookie of the year candidate Shawn Langdon. Brown now trails six-time series champion Tony Schumacher by 43 points in the NHRA Full Throttle Standings.
Competing in his second event at Heartland Park, Brown earned the free pass into round two as a result of the short Top Fuel field at the 21st annual O'Reilly Summer Nationals. Brown, who earned his sixth career No. 1 qualifying award in Top Fuel, used a tune-up from crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to cruise into the second round. The Matco Tools dragster powered to a lap of 3.981 seconds at 303.71 mph to earn lane choice over Langdon and the Lucas Oil team. It was Brown's 275th career round win. Brown and Schumacher remain the only Top Fuel drivers to advance passed the first round of eliminations at all nine races this season.
Brown was matched up against the Lucas Oil car for the second time this season. The driver's used nearly identical reaction times in the .05 of-a-second range and Brown powered the Matco Tools rail to a lap of 4.044 to 297.22. But Langdon used a slightly quicker lap of 4.034 at 292.27 to advance to the semifinals. Brown is now 1-1 against Landgon. This is Brown's fifth quarterfinal finish in nine races this season. He has a round-record of 18-7 this year.
"That was another tough loss for our MAR Matco Tools team," Brown said. "It's all good though. We really struggled with the hot temperatures in qualifying and didn't lose any ground. We actually gained a few points on Tony (Schumacher) and that (U.S.) Army team. I think we learned a lot this weekend here at Topeka. This really was important for us to work on the hot weather tune-up and we did that. We ran on the hottest track we've seen all year and that will really benefit us during this swing of seven races in nine weeks. We're excited about going to Chicago next weekend and putting some good times on the board."
The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the 12th annual United Association Route 66 Nationals, June 4-7, at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. Brown qualified second at the Joliet race last June at 4.516 seconds at 331.53 mph. Brown is a two-time Pro Stock Motorcycle winner at the Chicagoland track (2000-01).