Antron Brown isn't a wine drinker, but this weekend he cannot get to the wine country of Sonoma quick enough even though his trip to central California has nothing to do with the popular vineyards of the area.
Brown is more concerned with the drag strip in Sonoma and the opportunity to win the second leg of the famed 3-race NHRA Western Swing.
“I don’t drink wine, but I like looking out at the vineyards and the beautiful countryside that surrounds the track,” Brown said. “It’s just the atmosphere up there and the weather where it can be cool in the morning and then warm up in the afternoon.”
Regardless of what kind of temperatures this weekend brings, Brown is certifiably hot. His win on Sunday in Denver pulled him to within 11 points of the Top Fuel point lead.
Brown swept the Western Swing in 2009 and last year won the Sonoma event.
“It always feels great to go back to a track where you won at the year before,” Brown exclaimed. “Sonoma has been one of my favorite racetracks on the tour since I started racing Pro Stock Motorcycles there. It’s more exciting out there because you have all types of fans that come out; (fans) who have followed me from when I was on a Pro Stock Bike to when I moved to Top Fuel.”
Sonoma represents the first of four races before the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship begins.
“The Western Swing helps us get ready for the Countdown,” Brown explained. “We need to keep focused and be more in line to be ready for the Countdown. We used to really hit the Western Swing hard, but we’ve learned it’s more important to prepare for those last six races than just worry about those three races.”
As much as Brown wants to focus on the Countdown, he would love to defend his win at Sonoma and use success in the Swing to move from third in points to first for the 20-point bonus the leader receives at the beginning of the Countdown.
“Don’t get me wrong — we always hit it hard and want to win every time we roll our Matco Tools dragster to the starting line, and Sonoma is no different,” Brown stated. “But we are working on things that might help us later in the season. We took a brand-new dragster the boys built back at the shop at Don Schumacher Racing to Denver to break in and plan to use that at Sonoma too. We have to keep working on getting better and get our mindset ready to go for the championship.”
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