KENT, Wash. (Aug 2, 2017) - Consistency is the key for three-time and reigning NHRA Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team.
On Sunday in the 30th annual Toyota Sonoma Nationals near San Francisco, the team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald went to their third straight and eighth final round of the 2017 Mello Yello season. But they came up short in the final to Top Fuel points leader Steve Torrence after winning the first title in the three-week Western Swing.
"We really wanted to keep our chances alive of sweeping the Swing but Torrence got us there in the final. We know what happened, we had an ignition problem and we know how to address it so that's good. It's hard to hang your head after going to another final round but we really wanted to win that one."
The final stop of the Western Swing is this weekend at Pacific Raceways near Seattle. The Matco Tools team won the 2016 Northwest Nationals but it was held at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway after rain forced NHRA officials to call the event.
NHRA teams will see unusual temperatures in the high 90s this weekend in Seattle.
"Seattle's always been good to us. I can't wait to get up there again and try to end the Western Swing on a good note. There are only two races left in the regular season after this weekend so, hopefully, we can start to build some momentum in to try to get that No. 1 seed heading into the Countdown."
The six-race Countdown to the Championship begins in Charlotte after the U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis over Labor Day Weekend. After this weekend Northwest Nationals, only Brainerd and the U.S. Nationals remain before the playoff.
"One thing about this Matco Tools/U.S. Army team is we challenge for it every weekend. Like our U.S. Army Soldiers, you can't ever count us out. We persevere and out here with the competition the way it is, that's what you have to do. I think it shows every weekend how tough it is to win out here. It's a battle each and every weekend and it's not going to get any easier with the Countdown coming up."
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster - 3x world champion; runner-up last event
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 2nd 15 3 5 2 5 0 1 0 36-12
CAREER 373 64* 52 76 98 80 48 3 659-306
* 48 TF/16 PSB
Career best time, speed: 3.667 (2017, Phoenix); 333.16 mph (2017, Topeka)
Last event (July 30), Sonoma, Calif.: Qualified No. 4, lost in championship round to Steve Torrence
A year ago at Seattle: Qualified No. 4, won in championship round over Steve Torrence
Career at Seattle: Wins 2 (2009, 2016); Runner-ups 2 (2010, 2014); Poles 1 (2011)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
(Official after Sonoma; 15 of 24 events: wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Steve Torrence (6) 1,369 ----
2. ANTRON BROWN (3) 1,294 -75
3. LEAH PRITCHETT (3) 1,250 -119
4. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 1,008 -361
5. Brittany Force (1) 935 -434
6. Doug Kalitta 933 -436
7. Clay Millican (1) 861 -508
8. Terry McMillen 598 -771
9. Scott Palmer 575 -794
10. Troy Coughlin Jr. 528 -841