There’s no denying it’s been a rough road for three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown and his new AB Motorsports team as of late. After a string of four first-round losses, Brown was looking to the Thunder Valley Nationals to be the ‘get healthy’ weekend the team had been seeking to get their program back on track.
Brown and the Matco Tools/Lucas Oil/Toyota/SiriusXM/Hangsterfer’s team kicked off their race weekend at Bristol Dragway by recording the third-quickest pass of the opening qualifying session to earn a bonus point and the No. 4 qualifying seed, Brown’s best qualifying position to-date in 2022. Against Tony Schumacher, his first-round opponent, Brown nabbed the starting line advantage and was straight down the groove, never trailing for the win over a tire-smoking Schumacher. Brown drew Brittany Force in the second round of eliminations, and despite dropping a cylinder early into the run, Brown was able to hang on and take the Matco Tools dragster to the stripe first for the win, setting up a semifinal match with his fellow Toyota teammate, Shawn Langdon. Brown and Langdon were nearly even launching off of the starting line and the 68-time NHRA winner made a solid pass, clocking a 3.896 E.T. but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with Langdon’s 3.847-second run.
“It was a good race weekend, we’re definitely making strides and moving forward, and that’s what we’re always working toward,” said Brown. “We’re headed in the right direction and I’m looking forward to getting to Norwalk in a few days, not only for the race, but I’m excited to stop by Matco’s headquarters and visit with all of our wonderful Matco Tools supporters, and also attend Summit’s Open House event.
“It’s going to be a hot race next weekend and we know how to navigate those conditions; this weekend showed that,” added Brown. “I’m just so proud of my boys. Everyone worked hard and pulled together. We had a mishap during one of the qualifying runs and we got the car back together and made it up for Q3. And then today, we went some good rounds on race day. When you’re going rounds, you’re always improving, and the more laps you get, the better you get. So, we’re headed in the right direction and looking forward to Norwalk.”
By securing the No. 4 qualifying position and advancing to the semifinals, Brown advanced back into the Top 10 in the Camping World Series Top Fuel rankings and is looking to continue to make strides when the AB Motorsports team competes next at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, June 24 – 26.
Qualified: No. 4 (3.802 E.T. at 323.35 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.863 E.T. at 313.88 MPH defeated Tony Schumacher 4.401 E.T. at 199.94 MPH
E2: 3.930 E.T. at 305.36 MPH defeated Brittany Force 6.338 E.T. at 96.38 MPH
E3: 3.896 E.T. at 307.93 MPH defeated by Shawn Langdon 3.847 E.T. at 317.87 MPH
NHRA Camping World Series Top Fuel Point Standings (Unofficial):
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