Sonoma: Antron Brown final report
BROWN WINS AT SONOMA, SWEEPS WESTERN SWING SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009) - Antron Brown joined an elite group of NHRA racers Sunday at Infineon Raceway as the 23-time NHRA winner powered his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a third ...
BROWN WINS AT SONOMA, SWEEPS WESTERN SWING
SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009) - Antron Brown joined an elite group of NHRA racers Sunday at Infineon Raceway as the 23-time NHRA winner powered his Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools dragster to a third consecutive victory and fifth of the season. In doing so, Brown becomes just the fifth Top Fuel racer to sweep the grueling three-race stretch that takes the NHRA circuit from Denver to Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.
After qualifying his Matco Tools/Toyota dragster in the No. 4 position with a lap of 3.844 seconds at 311.05 mph on Friday evening at Infineon Raceway, Brown held off No. 14 qualifier Troy Buff, No. 12 qualifier Joe Hartley, No. 1 qualifier J.R. Todd, and No. 3 qualifier Cory McClenathan to win his category-best fifth race of the season. Brown now leads six-time series champion Tony Schumacher by 199 points in the NHRA Top Fuel standings.
Brown earned his ninth consecutive round win behind the wheel of his Matco Tools/Lend America dragster by clocking the third quickest pass of the opening round. The former college track star used a tune-up from crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to power the bright blue Matco rail to a lap of 3.900 seconds at 312.13 mph to edge the Carson City, Nev. team. Buff's black car posted a solid pass of 3.950 at 295.34. The win was Brown's 35th of the season. He is now 4-0 against Buff.
The 16-time Pro Stock Motorcycle winner won his 10th straight round of racing by holding off a hard-charging Hartley in the second round. Brown used a starting line advantage in the Matco Tools/SpongeTech rail and a run of 4.147 at 260.56 to score the win light in the right lane at Infineon Raceway. Hartley's red dragster posted a pass of 4.298 at 243.06. Brown is now 4-0 against Hartley and advanced to the semifinals at the Sonoma race for the second straight year in Top Fuel.
The 19-time No. 1 qualifier claimed his 11th successive round win by edging the six-time Top Fuel winner in an ugly semifinal race. Brown was out of the gate first as he pedaled the Matco Tools/DirecTV car to a pass of 4.510 at 256.80 to advance to his eighth final round of the 2009 season. Todd's David Baca-owned car lost traction and slowed to a pass of 5.076 at 179.54. Brown is now 2-0 against Todd.
Brown collected his 12th straight round win by narrowly defeating the FRAM car in the final round of the 22nd annual FRAM-Autolite Nationals. The Matco Tools/A&R Transportation car used a pass of 3.990 at 299.06 to score the wire-to-wire victory in Brown's eighth final round appearance of the season. McClenathan slightly trailed in the signuature FRAM colors at 4.002 at 290.82. It was Brown's 295th career round win. He joins Joe Amato, McClenathan, Larry Dixon and Schumacher as the only Top Fuel racers to sweep the Western Swing. John Force (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) also have accomplished the feat.
"This just doesn't feel real right now," Brown said. "With all the turmoil and changes we had in the off season with Mike Ashley coming in to own our team - Mike is a fantastic team owner - this is unreal. With all the ups-and-downs we went through and with Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, two Funny Car tuners, coming in it's such an awesome feeling.
"Through everything, we just kept our heads down and kept digging and we're where we want to be. We wanted to be competitive and compete for the championship and we've proven we can do that this season. I told Mike (Ashley) before the season that we could win eight races and to do that you've got to win rounds. Our plan, all season long, has been to take things one round at a time and that's what we do here at MAR. This is just awesome."
The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the 28th annual Lucas Oil Nationals, Aug. 13-16, at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn. Brown qualified the Matco Tools dragster seventh last August at Brainerd at 3.929-seconds. He has four Pro Stock Motorcycle wins and two poles at B.I.R.