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Brown, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster save best for last to earn No. 5 spot for NHRA eliminations

CHANDLER, Ariz. – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster had trouble getting down the dragstrip on its first three qualifying runs in the NHRA Arizona Nationals.

But Brown and crew chiefs Mark Oswald and Brian Corradi weren’t worried. There still was one left at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix on Saturday afternoon.

And the Matco Tools dragster picked its last chance to rip off the quickest run in the fourth and final qualifying session with a run of 3.796 seconds at 320.36 mph to earn the No. 5 qualifying spot.

The team will face Terry McMillen in Sunday’s first round of championship eliminations that begin at 11 a.m. (MT).

“I never worry about qualifying,” Brown said. “As long as we’re in the show (on Sunday) I have all the confidence in my Matco Tools boys, and Mark and Brian. We’ve won it all when we qualified 13th.

“The track was its hottest when we ran that 3.796 and Mark and Brian stepped on it. It was a goody-goody run.”

It also was the quickest in the fourth qualifying session.

“You just have to stay poised. This is the most competitive we’ve ever seen it Top Fuel. Everybody has stepped up their game.

“We’re ready.”

The following are qualifying results and other DSR notes:

FUNNY CAR
Johnny Gray, Big O Tires/Service Central Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying position: No. 1
Sunday’s first-round opponent: Grant Downing
Qualifying
Friday
Session 1: 4.167 sec., 296.50 mph
Session 2: 4.074, 298.93
Saturday
Session 3: 5.950, 111.12
Session 4: 4.127, 301.07
No. 1 qualifier: Gray

Matt Hagan, Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying position: No. 4
Sunday’s first-round opponent: Todd Lesenko
Friday
Session 1: 4.181 sec., 291.01 mph
Session 2: 9.753, 68.27 (lost traction)
Saturday
Session 3: 4.114, 297.94
Session 4: 4.110, 305.6
No. 1 qualifier: Gray

Jack Beckman, Schumacher Electric Corp. Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying position: No. 6
Sunday’s first-round opponent: Tony Pedregon
Friday
Session 1: 4.378 sec., 211.03 mph
Session 2: 4.158, 299.33
Saturday
Session 3: 4.131, 303.43
Session 4: 4.124, 298.93
No. 1 qualifier: Gray

Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying position: No. 10
Sunday’s first-round opponent: Cruz Pedregon
Friday
Session 1: 4.169 sec., 296.05 mph
Session 2: 7.316, 86.51 (lost traction)
Saturday
Session 3: 4.302, 227.46
Session 4: 4.134, 292.39
No. 1 qualifier: Gray

TOP FUEL

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster
Qualifying position: No. 2
Sunday’s first-round opponent: Mike Strasburg
Friday
Session 1: 3.845 sec., 319.37 mph
Session 2: 3.783, 324.44 (track record)
Saturday
Session 3: 3.846, 311.34
Session 4: 3.815, 314.83
No. 1 qualifier: Shawn Langdon

Spencer Massey, Prestone/FRAM dragster
Qualifying position: No. 4
Sunday’s first-round opponent: Cory McClenathan
Friday
Session 1: 3.871 sec., 316.23 mph
Session 2: 3.795, 323.81
Saturday
Session 3: 3.831, 312.50
Session 4: 3.814, 318.84
No. 1 qualifier: Langdon

Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Qualifying position: No. 5
Sunday’s first-round opponent: Terry McMillen
Qualifying
Friday
Session 1: 5.879 sec., 112.41 mph
Session 2: 3.826, 318.32
Saturday
Session 3: 4.192, 206.99
Session 4: 3.796, 320.36
No. 1 qualifier: Langdon

Sunday: Pro eliminations, 11 a.m.

WEATHER.COM FORECAST:
Sunday: High of 69, partly cloudy, 0 percent chance of rain

ON ESPN2
Saturday qualifying
8-10 p.m. (ET), 5-7 p.m. (PT)
Sunday eliminations
7 p.m.-midnight (ET), 6-9 p.m. (PT)

About Matco Tools
Matco Tools manufactures, distributes and services premium quality automotive equipment, tools, and tool storage for the professional technician. The company has more than 60 years of national brand experience in the automotive equipment industry and a vast product line of more than 13,000 of the highest quality, innovative tools and accessories. The company’s franchise offering has no franchise, royalty, or advertising fees. Initial corporate and ongoing local training create and build outstanding value for the franchisee’s business. For more information on Matco Tools products or franchise opportunities, visit www.matcotools.com.

About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 174 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.

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