BROWN RACES MAR MATCO TOOLS DRAGSTER TO SEMIFINALS AT BRAINERD, EXTENDS POINTS LEAD BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 16, 2009) - Antron Brown, a five-time winner this season, raced his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday ...
BROWN RACES MAR MATCO TOOLS DRAGSTER TO SEMIFINALS AT BRAINERD, EXTENDS POINTS LEAD
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 16, 2009) - Antron Brown, a five-time winner this season, raced his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at Brainerd International Raceway. The four-time Brainerd Pro Stock Motorcycle winner now owns a 217-point lead in the NHRA Top Fuel standings with two races remaining before the Countdown to 1 begins near Charlotte next month.
One day after qualifying the bright blue Matco Tools dragster sixth at 3.947-seconds, Brown held off No. 11 qualifier Terry Haddock, and six-time series champion and Matco Tools Racing driver Tony Schumacher, before his streak of 14 consecutive round wins came to an end against two-time champion Larry Dixon in the semifinals. Brown has now advanced to at least the semifinals at 11 of 16 races this season. He also has advanced passed the second round at seven straight races (Topeka, Kan.).
After a near three-hour rain delay, the first round of Top Fuel eliminator kicked-off at B.I.R. As the third pair of dragsters to do battle, Brown left first in the Matco Tools/Toyota car and raced to the wire-to-wire win. Brown used a tune-up from crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to power the Matco-backed rail to a lap of 3.872 seconds at 313.00 mph to advance to round two. Haddock's white dragster posted a run of 4.070 at 258.32. It was Brown's 13th consecutive round win after finishing a sweep of the grueling Western Swing three weeks ago at Sonoma, Calif. The 23-time winner remains the only Top Fuel racer to not have lost in the opening round this season.
The former track star at Mercer (N.J.) Community College raced to his 14th straight round win by virtue of a lightning-quick reaction time. Brown advanced to the semifinals after he and Schumacher's U.S. Army/Matco Tools dragster clocked identical elapsed times. In one of the best races of the season, Brown blasted the Matco Tools/SpongeTech car to a pass of 3.841 at 318.69 to edge Schumacher's lap of 3.841 at 314.97. Brown had the starting-line advantage .061 to .065 of-a-second. Top Fuel's new "King of Speed" used the third fastest 1,000-foot speed to power by on the top end for the narrow win. Brown is now 4-1 against the Mike Green-tuned dragster this season.
Squaring off against Dixon for the third time this season, Brown used a slight starting-line advantage to race the Matco Tools/DirecTV dragster to the early lead, but the seven-time Top Fuel winner's day ended as the Matco rail struck the tires after overpowering the B.I.R. strip. Brown coasted to a lap of 4.682 at 163.95. Dixon sailed on through with a lap of 3.827 at 311.34 in his Alan Johnson-owned dragster. Brown is now 0-3 against the Al-Anabi Racing team this season. Dixon was defeated in the final round by Morgan Lucas, 3.814 to 3.818. It was Lucas' second win of the season.
"All good things must come to an end I guess," Brown joked. "What an awesome run we had with this awesome Matco Tools team here at MAR. Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) and Mike D. (Domagala) and Robb Hauser and Brad (Mason) and this entire team is just phenomenal. We were going for it on that run against (Larry) Dixon and we had to. They made an awesome run with that 3.82 and our car almost made it. It was right on the edge. That would have been tough to beat. I guess it wasn't a good day to be in the lead and be in Minnesota. Tiger (Woods) lost the lead at the PGA Championship just a few hours down the road from us up here at B.I.R. Now that's an upset, Tiger losing a lead in the final round.
"We're fired up about next weekend to race at Maple Grove (Raceway). That's one of the tracks I grew up going to and I'll have a lot of family and friends there. My Grandma Lossie will be there and she'll be on TV again, so I know the fans will really like that. I think she's more famous then me. We like to run fast and I know this Matco car can bring it at Reading next weekend. We'll do our best to get back to the final round for all our Matco Tools distributors rooting us on."
The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the 25th annual Toyo Tires Nationals, Aug. 20-23, at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa. Brown qualified seventh at Reading last August at 3.892-seconds and raced to a semifinal finish (Larry Dixon). Brown earned the Pro Stock Motorcycle pole at Maple Grove Raceway in 2004 and advanced to his only final round at the Reading race that season.