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Brown Finds Himself on Bad Side of Good Drag Race at NHRA Winternationals

After winning the Pep Boys Top Fuel All-Star Callout followed by a semifinal finish on race day at the season-opening Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team began the NHRA Winternationals looking to keep their positive momentum rolling at the second event on the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series schedule.

Brown qualified his machine eighth on the strength of his first qualifying run, which saw him post a 3.807 E.T. at 322.11 MPH while the majority of the nitro field struggled to put together a clean run. He went into Saturday occupying the provisional No. 5 position and with the hope of having two more cracks at the In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip track. Persistent rain showers on Saturday significantly delayed the day’s on-track activities, and after the skies finally cleared, teams were limited to just one additional qualifying opportunity before the elimination fields were set. The Matco Tools team returned to the starting line for Q2 looking to improve their position on the ladder but after an early loss of traction, Brown eventually settled into the No. 8 spot.

With the advantage of lane choice, Brown faced No. 9 qualifier Clay Millican in the opening round of eliminations. The drag racing veterans were the first two drivers to hit the track on Sunday morning and kicked off the day by putting on a great show for the fans. The Matco machine moved first but Millican was able to chase him down by the eighth-mile mark where he then carried a slight lead on Brown through the finish line stripe, ending the Matco team’s day after the first round.

“We were on the wrong side of a close drag race, losing by five-thou,” said Brown, a three-time winner at Pomona. “It was a tricky track all weekend. We’re ready for Phoenix and hope we’ll have some good, dry weather for a change. We’ll continue to hone in on this new clutch program and go some rounds at the Arizona Nats.”

Shortly after the semifinal round was contested, the remainder of on-track activities were canceled for the day due to rain and hail. The NHRA Winternationals will be completed during the upcoming NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona, April 5 – 7. Updated points will be sent following the conclusion of that event.

This story was originally published on March 25, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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