Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
Brown races to semifinals , secures No. 2 seed in Countdown to 1
Indianapolis, Monday: Antron Brown drove his David Powers-owned Matco Tools dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis and secured the No. 2 seed in the Countdown to 1 NHRA playoff system.
In his first Top Fuel race at the prestigious U.S. Nationals, Brown qualified his Matco Tools car in the top half of the 16-car order for the 16th time in 18 races this season after qualifying eighth. The two-time U.S. Nationals Pro Stock Motorcycle winner defeated David Grubnic, and two-time series champion Larry Dixon, before falling to 30-time winner Doug Kalitta in the semifinals.
In the opening round, Brown was paired up against the No. 9 qualifier, Grubnic. As the first two cars to do battle on race day, the fan favorites used nearly identical reaction times as Brown sped the Matco Tools rail to the second quickest pass of the round to earn the win. The first-year Top Fuel standout used a tune-up from crew chief Lee Beard to clock a performance of 3.870 seconds at 308.50 mph. Grubnic trailed at 4.045 at 294.11 in his bright yellow dragster. Brown is now 3-0 against the Australian native this season.
Squaring off against the 42-time Top Fuel winner for the fifth time this season,
In the semifinals, Brown and Kalitta used identical .075 of-a-second reaction times before the Matco Tools dragster lost traction and slowed to a run of 4.661 at 225.95. Kalitta cruised his bright red dragster to a run of 4.015 at 296.37 to earn the trip to the final round for the first time this season. Brown now has an elimination mark of 29-16. He is the only driver besides points-leader Tony Schumacher to win multiple races.
“That was a tough race to lose, we really wanted to win this race,” Brown said. “But we’re still very upbeat with this Matco Tools team. We locked up the No. 2 spot in the Countdown (to 1) and we had a good race. We just a little aggressive in that final round. We’re excited about this six-race shootout for the championship.”
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