BROWN DRIVES MATCO DRAGSTER TO SEMIFINALS AT LAS VEGAS LAS VEGAS (April 5, 2009) - Antron Brown raced his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 19-time NHRA ...
BROWN DRIVES MATCO DRAGSTER TO SEMIFINALS AT LAS VEGAS
LAS VEGAS (April 5, 2009) - Antron Brown raced his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 19-time NHRA winner now ranks second in the NHRA Top Fuel standings.
A day after racing his Matco Tools dragster to the No. 2 qualifying position at the 10th annual Summitracing.com Nationals with a pass of 3.878 seconds at 312.86 mph, Brown outran West Coast racer Mike Strasburg, and 31-time Top Fuel winner Doug Kalitta beforing losing a close race to Brandon Bernstein in the semifinals.
Brown advanced passed the first round of eliminations for the fifth consecutive race by driving to the wire-to-wire win over the Utah racer. Brown used Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald horsepower to power the Matco Tools car to the third quickest pass of the round with a lap of 3.890 seconds at 311.63 mph. That earned the Matco car lane choice over Kalitta in round two. Strasburg raced his black dragster to a pass of 4.602 at 170.41. It was Brown's 70th career Top Fuel elimination round and 10th round win of the 2009 season.
In a rematch of the final round of the season-opener at Pomona, Calif., Brown turned the tables on the Michigan racer. Brown got the jump at the start in the Matco car and didn't look back as the former college track star pedaled his way into the semifinals. The Matco car posted a lap of 4.492 at 204.94 to hold off Kalitta's tire-smoking pass of 4.766 at 233.12. Brown is now 3-3 in six career matches against the former sprint car driver.
Squaring off against the Budweiser machine for the third time in five races this season, Brown got the jump at the start and drove the Matco car to the early lead, but the bright blue rail spun the tires down track allowing Bernstein to sneak by and earn the win light in the left lane at LVMS. Brown clocked a pass of 4.149 at 216.51 to Bernstein's slightly quicker 4.004 at 295.21. That Matco Tools car was six hundredths of-a-second ahead at half track. Brown's .037 of-a-second reaction time was the second quickest of the eliminations (.031 Spencer Massey). Brown is now 4-3 against Bernstein seven career races.
"We were on point this weekend and we're going rounds with this MAR Matco Tools car," Brown said. "We're looking forward to getting to Atlanta because we're hungry to win. Like "Big Daddy" (Don Garlits) told me on the phone, I'm out here to weld these guys off the line.
"That was a tough loss. I need to remember that we're racing 1,000-foot, not 1,320 anymore. I have to keep my foot in it. We should have ran 3.96 or 3.97; it was on a really good run. We have a strong team and it's all good for the Matco team."
The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the 29th annual Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals, April 16-19, at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. Brown is the defending event champion of the Atlanta NHRA race. He defeated Tony Schumacher in the final round last season, 4.537 to 4.521. Brown is a three-time winner at Atlanta Dragway (2001, '06, '08). He also earned the No. 1 qualifying award there in 2006.