BROWN DRIVES MATCO DRAGSTER TO QUARTERFINAL FINISH AT GATORNATIONALS GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2009) - Antron Brown raced his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a quaterfinal finish Sunday afternoon at Gainesville Raceway, the track...
BROWN DRIVES MATCO DRAGSTER TO QUARTERFINAL FINISH AT GATORNATIONALS
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2009) - Antron Brown raced his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a quaterfinal finish Sunday afternoon at Gainesville Raceway, the track where he made his professional debut in 1998. Brown continues to lead the NHRA Top Fuel standings following three of 24 races on the 2009 NHRA schedule.
After qualifying his bright blue Matco Tools dragster seventh with a lap of 3.943 seconds at 305.77 mph on Saturday afternoon, the 19-time NHRA winner edged fan-favorite Clay Millican in round one, before the Matco car smoked the tires and fell to Bob Lagana, Jr. in the quarterfinals. Larry Dixon earned his 44th career Top Fuel win on Sunday afternoon.
In the opening round, Brown was matched up against the six-time IHRA Top Fuel champion for the first time since making the move from Pro Stock Motorcycle to Top Fuel. The energetic drivers used nearly identical reaction times as Brown raced the Matco Tools rail to the wire-to-wire win. The Brian Corradi/Mark Oswald-tuned dragster posted its quickest and fastest pass of the weekend at 3.920 seconds at 305.63 mph. Millican, a longtime Matco Tools racer, trailed slightly at 3.958 at 307.09 in his white dragster. It was Brown's 265th career elimination round win.
Facing off against the part-time NHRA racer for the first time, Brown raced the Matco Tools draster to a significant starting line advantage and early lead until the Matco rail overpowered the track and spun the tires slowing to a pass of 6.096 at 132.14. Lagana cruised his black and yellow dragster to a winning run of 4.410 at 202.91 to advance to the semifinals. Brown got the holeshot at the start of the race .065 to .122. It was Brown's 52nd career round two finish, the most of any of the four elimination rounds.
"That was just a tough race," Brown said. "But it's ok. We're leaving here at Gainesville with our heads held high and we're going on to the next race at Houston. That was our first win in Top Fuel last season and we're going to give it our best effort to get that "Wally" trophy from Houston again. This Matco Tools team here at MAR (Mike Ashley Racing) will be just fine."
"The proof is in the pudding and we know this Matco car makes as much or more horsepower than about any other car out here, but sometimes you have to race the race track and we didn't win the race against the race track," Ashley added. "At the end of the day, this is racing and you have a winner and a loser. I couldn't be more proud of this Matco Tools team, they're doing an outstanding job and will continue to do well."
The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the 22nd annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals, March 27-29, at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas. Brown is the defending event champion of the Houston NHRA race. He defeated Larry Dixon in the final round to win his first career Top Fuel race and become the first driver in NHRA history to win races in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle.