With five races coming up in the next six weeks – starting with this weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio – Top Fuel driver Antron Brown knows how crucial this stretch of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season will be.
“This time of the year is when you need to be getting on your Ps and Qs, so you want to be polishing your combination and trying to find your combination,” Brown said in an NHRA media release. “That’s what makes this time so crucial.”
Brown has led the Top Fuel point standings for the last five races, but heading into Norwalk holds a razor-thin, two-point edge over Don Schumacher Racing teammate and defending series champion Tony Schumacher.
Brown, who earned his 50th career win earlier this month at Englishtown, N.J. (see video below), hopes to earn his fourth victory of the season at Norwalk, which can be an unpredictable racetrack.
“At Norwalk you get some nighttime qualifying sessions where the track will be good and you get some daytime sessions where it can be hot and humid and you have to work hard to get down the racetrack,” Brown said.
With the race being held on the July 4th weekend, Brown – who is the defending Top Fuel winner at Norwalk – is looking to not only watch fireworks, but also shoot off some fireworks of his own on the dragstrip.
“I’m always excited to go to Norwalk because out of all our races there is no other show like what the Bader family (track owners) puts on,” Brown said. “When you go there you know you’re not just there for the pure excitement our sport brings, but you’re going to be entertained from start to finish.
“The firework shows are just phenomenal for kids and adults of all ages.”
With 11 races in the 2015 record book, Norwalk kicks off the middle stretch of the 24-race NHRA season. From there, the series goes to Joliet, Ill. (July 9-12), followed by the annual “western swing” in Denver (July 24-26), Sonoma, Calif. (July 31-Aug. 2) and Seattle (Aug. 7-9).
Once that stretch is over, eight races will remain on the schedule, including the biggest race of the season, the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis (Sept. 2-7), followed by the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Brown is coming off a rare first-round exit last week at Bristol (Tenn.) and is looking to bounce back with a strong run at Norwalk, particularly with what the race means as the kickoff to the five-race stretch.
“Everything is crucial,” Brown said. “You have to go out and be consistent and grow with each and every run. That’s been our focus: to grow. Even if we’re struggling and don’t get the results we want we can learn from that to be better at the next race.
“For this upcoming series of races our main focus is to grow. You have to grow each and every race, and that has to continue through the Countdown so you keep working to get to a higher level.”