Brown seeks fifth Top Fuel title at this weekend at Sonomaas Matco Tools team looks to extend NHRA Mello Yello lead
BROWNSBURG, Ind. - In 2008, when Antron Brown made the switch from a Pro Stock Motorcycle competitor to NHRA's elite Top Fuel category, he did it with ease, picking up two wins in his debut season.
Since then, he has gone on to win 41 Top Fuel titles and the versatile driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster heads to Sonoma Raceway this weekend seeking his fifth Top Fuel title in wine country at the 29th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
Brown has 57 career event titles and currently leads the Mello Yello series Top Fuel points standings, sitting 57 marks ahead of second-place Doug Kalitta after Brown was runner-up Sunday in the Mile-High Nationals near Denver at the start of NHRA's annual Western Swing.
"The big thing is we made a great weekend out of a weekend that didn't start off very good," Brown said following Denver. "We got the points lead and put some points between us and Doug (Kalitta). Our game plan is just to keep going rounds and keep putting rounds between us and to go into the countdown No. 1. We're trying to win another championship, that's our goal and it starts right now."
The two-time champion Matco Tools team have four races before the Countdown to the Championship six-race playoff begins in September near Charlotte where they will begin the defense of their 2015 world title.
The Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason have six final round appearances in 2016 with three event titles.
"Sonoma's always going to be a fast track," Brown said. "The Friday night run is going to set the tone for everybody because we're not going to get the same type of conditions on Saturday when it's earlier in the day. You have to gear up to get a good qualifying position, and then Saturday dictates what your set-up is going to be for Sunday.
"Our Matco Tools/Toyota team has run well at the Toyota Sonoma Nationals, but we can't go in there thinking we'll do well just because we've run well there in the past. We have to go in there with our head right and take it one step at a time. Hopefully, if we take that approach, it will get us out there in front."
The Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals kicks off with nitro qualifying at 5:15 p.m. Friday and Sunday's championship eliminations will be broadcast live on FOX national network on Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Last event Denver, July 22-24: Qualified No. 2, lost in championship round to Tony Schumacher
A year ago at Sonoma: Qualified No. 1, won in championship round over Dave Connolly
Career at Sonoma: Wins 4 (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015); Runner-ups 2 (2004*, 2006*); Poles 2 (2009)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 1st 14 1 3 3 4 2 1 0 30-11
CAREER 348 57 46 72 91 80 45 3 598-288
Best Time, Speed: 3.680 sec., (first below 3.7, 2015, Brainerd); 331.12 mph (2015, Brainerd)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
Through 14 of 24 events, wins in parenthesis; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS
1. ANTRON BROWN (3) 1,145 ------
2. Doug Kalitta (3) 1,088 -57
3. Steve Torrence (2) 982 -163
4. Brittany Force (2) 953 -192
5. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 916 -229
6. SHAWN LANGDON (2) 800 -345
7. JR Todd 799 -346
8. Clay Millican 681 -464
9. Richie Crampton 660 -485
10. LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 553 -592