POMONA, CA – February 6, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Antron Brown has accomplished a tremendous amount over the past two seasons, winning 14 Top Fuel races and back-to-back world championships. But entering his 10th season in Top Fuel, Brown remains just as motivated to keep raising the bar.
Brown will get that opportunity at this weekend’s 57th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, kicking off a 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season in his 10,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster he hopes will be just as impressive as the past two.
“What pushes us to raise the bar is we look at our previous seasons and we try to improve upon them,” Brown said. “We always focus on the winning the first race, so the main thing is we’ve got to go out there and push and try to make more history. The emotions are at an all-time high. Now the gears are turning and we’re ready for raceday. Once that race starts, it’s the bells ringing for a start of chaos, excitement and adventure in 2017.”
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) were winner’s of last year’s tradition-rich event, which will for the first time in its history feature Sunday’s eliminations live on the FOX national broadcast channel. It is the first of 24 races in 2017 and the event will air on FOX Sports 1 on Friday and Saturday, and FOX on Sunday.
For Brown, it’s a chance to start a run for a third straight Top Fuel World championship and a fourth in the past six years. That standout run includes a flurry of event victories, which has Brown on track to possibly reach 50 career Top Fuel victories in 2017. The total currently stands at 45 for Brown, but none have come at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals, something he could change this weekend against a host of talented competitors.
“That would be monumental,” Brown said of 50 Top Fuel wins. “To even get 40 has been incredible and I think that’s what makes our team excel. We never worry about what we’ve done in the past; we always look to what we can do in the future. With that being said, (50 Top Fuel wins) is around the corner and it would be awesome if we could break through and get that this year.”
If the past two years are any indication, getting to 50 Top Fuel wins might be another moment Brown gets to celebrate in 2017. He has posted 21 final-round appearances over the past two years as his team, led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, has worked flawlessly together. But Brown also marvels at how motivated everyone is to continue the run of success.
That has pushed the team to new heights and Brown certainly isn’t content. An ultra-talented class, including Tony Schumacher, Torrence, Doug Kalitta, Brittany Force and Leah Pritchett, will try to make things difficult for Brown in 2017, which is all the drive he needs headed to Pomona.
“The competition always motivates our whole Matco/U.S. Army/Toyota team, just to excel to go out there,” Brown said. “You know each year you go out there, there’s always another greater challenge because people have stepped up. That’s what drives us and motivates us to continue to compete at a high level.”
In Funny Car, Capps started his dream 2016 with a Winternationals victory, using that momentum to help claim his first Funny Car world championship. The loaded class field also includes Del Worsham, John Force, Matt Hagan, Courtney Force, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr.
The duo of Anderson and Jason Line dominated the first year of the redesigned Pro Stock class. Anderson, a four-time world champ, won the season-opener, but Line claimed the world title. Past champs Erica Enders, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Allen Johnson hope for a different conclusion in 2017.
The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. As always, fans have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers with an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 11, also at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Kids 12 & under get in free with a general admission ticket, while students save 50 percent on general admission at the gate with a student ID. Military and first responders save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.
CIRCLE K NHRA WINTERNATIONALS
WHAT: 57th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals, the first of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in three categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock – earn points leading to 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Pomona, Calif. Track is located off I-10 at Fairplex Drive. Go north on Fairplex drive.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 1,100 feet above sea level; Track direction is north to south.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 9-12
THURSDAY, Feb. 9 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying at 8:15 a.m.
FRIDAY, Feb. 10 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations at 8:15 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, Feb. 11 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations at 8:15 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, Feb. 12 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Friday, Feb. 10, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying at 7 p.m. (ET).
Saturday, Feb. 11, FS1 will televise one hour of live qualifying at 1 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, Feb. 12, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying at 2 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, Feb. 12, FOX will televise three hours of live eliminations coverage at 4 p.m. (ET).
WINNERS: Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Ron Capps, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock
MOST VICTORIES: John Force, FC – 7; Bob Glidden, PS – 7; Greg Anderson, PS- 6; Don Garlits, TF- 5; Warren Johnson, PS – 5; Don Prudhomme, TF/FC – 5; Larry Dixon, TF- 4; Jason Line, PS-4.
Top Fuel – 3.680 sec. by J.R. Todd, Nov. ’16 and 332.34 mph by Shawn Langdon, Nov. ’15
Funny Car – 3.825 sec. by Jack Beckman, Nov. ’16 and 332.84 mph by Beckman, Nov. ’16
Pro Stock – 6.480 sec. by Erica Enders, Nov. ’14 and 213.84 mph by Drew Skillman, Nov. ’15
Top Fuel – 3.671 sec. by Steve Torrence, July ’16, Sonoma, Calif.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.822 by Matt Hagan, Aug. ’16, Brainerd, Minn.; 335.57 mph by Hagan, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ’14, Englishtown N.J.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association