St. Louis: Antron Brown final report

ANTRON BROWN WINS AT ST. LOUIS, RECLAIMS TOP FUEL POINTS LEAD MADISON, Ill. (May 3, 2009) - Antron Brown collected his 20th career NHRA victory Sunday afternoon at Gateway International Raceway and reclaimed the NHRA Top Fuel points lead behind...

ANTRON BROWN WINS AT ST. LOUIS, RECLAIMS TOP FUEL POINTS LEAD

MADISON, Ill. (May 3, 2009) - Antron Brown collected his 20th career NHRA victory Sunday afternoon at Gateway International Raceway and reclaimed the NHRA Top Fuel points lead behind the wheel of his Mike Ashley-owned DirecTV/Matco Tools dragster. The MAR DirecTV team also earned Best Appearing Crew honors at the 13th annual O'Reilly Midwest Nationals.

A day after qualifying the DirecTV/Matco Tools dragster in the No. 7 position at 3.906-seconds, Brown defeated 31-time Top Fuel winner Doug Kalitta, 30-time Top Fuel winner Cory McClenathan, and 2009 Rookie of the Year candidate Shawn Langdon before holding off 17-time winner Brandon Bernstein in a great final round at G.I.R. Brown now leads six-time champion Tony Schumacher by 18 points with 17 races remaining on the 2009 NHRA schedule.

Brown earned his 270th career round win by outracing the perennial title contender in the opening round at Gateway. Brown got the jump at the start and never looked back scoring the wire-to-wire win in the DirecTV/Matco Tools dragster with a performance of 3.896 seconds at 311.05 mph. The Michigan runner's yellow dragster lost traction and slowed to a lap of 4.549 at 182.87. Brown is now 4-3 in seven career matches with Kalitta.

Brown then claimed his 50th career Top Fuel round win by edging the 30-time Top Fuel winner in round two. The veteran racers used nearly identical reaction times as Brown used a tune-up from crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to power the DirecTV/Matco rail to the quickest and fastest pass of the round, 3.864 at 312.35. McClenathan's FRAM dragster trailed slightly at 3.885 at 301.81. Brown is now 6-3 against McClenathan in nine races.

Competing in the semifinals for the fourth time in seven races this season, Brown cruised his DirecTV rail to his third final round appearance of the season. Langdon's Lucas Oil car got a slight jump out of the starting gate, but Brown's blue and white DirecTV car powered around at 3.854 at 312.67 to score the win in the right lane at G.I.R. Langdon's Lucas Oil-backed dragster posted a lap of 3.878 at 305.98. It was the first meeting of the season between Brown and Langdon.

Racing in his 41st career final round, Brown and Bernstein treated the fans at Gateway to a great race. Two of the young lions of the sport used stellar reaction times as Brown used Corradi and Oswald horsepower to drive the DirecTV rail to low elapsed time and top speed of the event en route to his 20th career win. The former college track star powered to a lap of 3.850 at 318.02, his fastest 1,000-foot speed, to win his second race of the season and fourth in Top Fuel. The Rob Flynn-tuned Budweiser car was a tick slower at 3.888 at 310.27. Brown is now 5-3 against Bernstein.

 "What an awesome weekend for our team here at MAR," Brown said. "To bring a new sponsor like DirecTV onboard and win the race for them and Matco (Tools) and all of our awesome sponsors is so great. Our car ran great today. We found a small issue after the first round and we just took off. To run that 318 (mph) was awesome. This DirecTV car was a rocketship.

"It's all good here at MAR. To win our second race of the year and get the points lead back says so much about what a great team we have with Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald and Rob Wendland and all my guys. It's so fun to go out each week knowing we have a car that can win the race. We wish Bristol (Tenn.) was tomorrow. And we'll have 'big blue' back at Bristol with the Matco Tools Iron Eagle dragster."

The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the Ninth annual Thunder Valley Nationals, May 1-3, at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn. Last May, Brown qualified his Matco Tools dragster fourth at the Bristol NHRA race at 4.542 seconds. He was defeated in the quarterfinals by Hillary Will.

-credit: mar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan , Mike Ashley , Hillary Will , Shawn Langdon