This weekend at the Mile-High Nationals, everybody was paying a lot of attention to Top Fuel driver Spencer Massey, the No. 1 qualifier and points leader.
His Don Schumacher Racing teammate Antron Brown was the one standing in the spotlight Sunday afternoon. Brown narrowly beat Brandon Bernstein to capture the Top Fuel crown at Bandimere Speedway. Brown clocked a 3.957-second lap at 308.21 mph to edge Bernstein’s 3.959-second effort at 307.58 mph.
“This race here is just tough,” said Brown who also won the Top Fuel title at the 2009 Mile-High Nationals. “When you come up here on the mountain you have to tune it up to get it down the race track and keep it living and we lived all four rounds (Sunday). This is a start for a good (Western) swing. This gives our boys a little motivation when we go out to Sonoma so we can go up there and dig deep.”
NHRA’s national circuit makes a stop in Sonoma, Calif., this Friday through Sunday and then the Western swing concludes at Seattle Aug. 3-5.
“The final round (Sunday), races do not get much closer than that,” Brown said. “Brandon and that whole MAV TV group did a phenomenal job. I know he wanted to win, but we wanted to win as well. We did what we had to do to get that round. It is going to be tough the rest of the year and this competition isn’t getting any easier by any means.”
This was Brown’s third win of the season and 34th of his career. Brown now has the opportunity to sweep the Western swing, something he did in 2009.
“I remember the feeling of a lot of excitement and exhaustion,” said Brown about his sweep three years ago. “You have to have some things go your way and you have to perform. We are off to a great start right now. We just want to keep gaining points. We really want to go into the Countdown in the top three and we would like to get that No. 1 spot to get the extra 20 points. We just want to keep on rolling and rolling.”
Brown moved up from third to second in the season point standings 11 points behind Massey. Brown especially appreciated the reception for the fans at Bandimere.
“Fans came up and they were all twitchy and nervous and jumpy and a guy came up and said I almost peed my pants, I didn’t know who won. He was all excited,” Brown said. “That kind of feeling is awesome because fans are feeling the same type of emotion we are feeling.”
Brown defeated Rob Passey, Bob Vandergriff Jr., Steve Torrence and Bernstein Sunday. More impressive was Brown was debuting a new DSR in-house built chassis this weekend.
“We have been so used to bringing new cars out to a race and not even testing them,” Brown said. “We put them together and go out the first run and run A to B. We tear the cars completely down after every run and (when) we put a new one together we double check it like 15 to 20 times. I have all the confidence in my team. I just have to get comfortable in it and make sure my pedal is right and my seat is right. By the second run down the race track we had everything ironed out. The car just kept getting better and better (Sunday). I could not ask for a better car or a better team.”
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