TOYOTA’S BROWN DRIVES TO NHRA SPRINGNATIONALS FINALS
BAYTOWN, TX – Antron Brown drove his Matco Tools Toyota dragster to his first final round of the season before falling to Brittany Force in Sunday’s NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park. It marked the sixth time that Brown has reached the SpringNationals finals, five coming in Top Fuel and once in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Brown kicked off the day with a holeshot victory over Mike Salinas on a holeshot and then dispatched Leah Pritchett in the second round. That set up a match-up with Steve Torrence in the semifinals, where Brown had a .007 advantage at the tree and went on to win on a holeshot by just .0056 seconds (approximately three feet).
In the finals, the two were side-by-side at the track, but Brown started to haze the tires just past the midway point, giving Force the victory.
“All in all, It was a good day for the Matco Tools/Toyota/Pennzoil race team today,” said the three-time world champion. “We’ve been going through a lot of adversity and we’ve just been fighting through it as a unit together. Today, people saw what we are capable of. It feels good just to get back to what’s been the norm. We still have a ways to go, but we’re just going to keep on working and keep our heads down and everything’s going to be just fine.
“We can take this run today and build a little momentum and go to Charlotte and start where we left off here. We just need to keep getting better. That’s the name of the game. It’s still early in the season and we want to keep improving the car. I’m proud of my boys. They were up late Saturday night where they rebuilt the whole clutch system. Now the car is doing the things we want it to do. We’re on the road to recovery and we’re going to keep pressing. Now we need to get back to qualifying in the top five. With as tight and tough as the class is, if you can do that you’re going to have good days.”
Also in Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta advanced with a victory over Terry McMillen before falling to Force in the second round. Richie Crampton fell to Clay Millican in round one.
Both Toyota Camry Funny Car drivers advanced to the second-round today. J.R. Todd defeated Jim Campbell before losing to eventual winner Robert Hight in the second round, despite running the third-quickest pass of the round.
“We had a great car all weekend long, but it was difficult keeping up with the changing weather conditions,” said Todd.
We had a good consistent car, we just came up short in the second round.”
His Kalitta Motorsports teammate Shawn Langdon earned an opening round win over Cruz Pedregon. He would eventually fall to Ron Capps in round two.
The 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is off on Easter weekend before returning April 26-28 with the NGK Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.