SEATTLE (Aug. 6, 2017) - Antron Brown has won three NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships including the last two.
But he could be on the cusp of enjoying the best season of his career with the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with car chief Brand Mason.
Brown used his quicker reactions Sunday to win the NHRA Northwest Nationals Top Fuel title for the second straight year and take the Mello Yello points lead for the only the second time this year and first since early June.
Brown's fourth win of the season in nine fin
al rounds was won on a holeshot at the starting line when he left slightly ahead of Terry McMillen whose elapsed time of 3.772 seconds wasn't enough to hold off the 3.776 produced by the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster Powered by Pennzoil with crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald.
Three-time and reigning world champion
Brown started as the No. 1 seed after earning his second pole of the season that led to DSR winning its 313th event title and 20th of the year including seven in Top Fuel. The victory is the fourth this year for Brown, 49th in Top Fuel and 65th overall including Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Ironically, it was McMillen who upset previous points leader Steve Torrence in the opening round that coupled with Brown's victory will give him a 13-point lead over Torrence when the series resumes in two weeks at Brainerd, Minn., in the penultimate race of the 18-event Mello Yello Series regular season.
"I can't even believe we've been going rounds like we have," said Brown, who has reached the final round in four consecutive races and in seven of the last nine.
"Think about it, we did that good with seven finals in nine races and we just got the lead back by only 13 points. That shows you how tough this field is. All these cars are just stepping up to the plate.
"It was just tough competition, we were neck and neck every run. The competition has definitely stepped up their game and it sets up some really interesting stuff for these last two races heading into the Countdown to see where we end up. We just need to keep fighting like we are. The fight is only going to get rougher.
"Terry was strong today. When they threw that (3.72) out in the first round, it really turned some heads. He's like 'I'm in the party now boys. Here I am ladies and gentlemen.'
"This Western Swing beats you down. I couldn't be more proud of all of my guys. When things get this rough and this hard, I always give God all the glory because He pulls us through every time."
The following are Sunday's eliminations results from Seattle and current Mello Yello standings:
Event winner: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Brown, 3.735 sec., 329.10 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster - 3x world champion
Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald; Assistant: Brad Mason
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: BROWN (3.745 sec., 326.63 mph) def. Ron Smith (4.632, 192.19)
Second round: BROWN (3.786, 325.37) def. Mike Salinas (4.191, 204.88)
Semifinals: BROWN (3.781, 325.22) def. Clay Millican (3.794, 318.32)
Final: BROWN (3.776, 326.48) def. Terry McMillan (3.772, 318.54)
Qualified: No. 1
FRIDAY: 3.984 sec., 267.27 mph, (first session); 3.813, 317.42, (second session)
SATURDAY: 3.796, 323.74, (third session); 3.735, 329.10, (fourth session)
SEATTLE BY THE NUMBERS
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 2 (2011, 2017)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
(Official after Seattle; 16 of 24 events: wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. ANTRON BROWN (4) 1,418 -----
2. Steve Torrence (6) 1,405 -13
3. LEAH PRITCHETT (3) 1,329 -76
4. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 1,064 -341
5. Brittany Force (1) 992 -413
6. Doug Kalitta 977 -428
7. Clay Millican (1) 937 -468
8. Terry McMillen 690 -715
9. Scott Palmer 606 -799
10.Troy Coughlin Jr. 560 -845