BAYTOWN, Texas – Antron Brown could have been a track star and probably even an actor.
The popular Top Fuel Dragster driver for Don Schumacher Racing enjoys adding a little drama to a race weekend when it comes to qualifying.
After two sessions Friday night at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston, the driver of the Matco Tools dragster was ranked 18th and only the 16 quickest get to race on Sunday for the event title and the coveted “Wally” trophy.
But neither Brown nor crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald were worried before the last two sessions began on Saturday morning on a hot, muggy day in the Lone Star State.
“There was no sleep lost Friday night,” said Brown. “We just had some bad mishaps happen and we had gremlins that jumped up and bit us. Mark (Oswald) and Brian (Corradi) and the rest of our Matco Tools boys just kept their head down, they dug deep. Like Brian said, we put it back to the stock tune-up.”
Brown’s opening run Saturday of 3.845 seconds (319.22 mph) was the quickest of the session and that was backed up by a 3.857-second run at 318.92 that was the second quickest of the final qualifying session.
“We knew it was going to get hot,” Brown said. “The bad thing is we didn’t get to qualify as well as we wanted to but we made up for it. We got five bonus points today. That was definitely good for this Matco Tools dragster.”
The No. 1 qualifier, Morgan Lucas, posted a low elapsed time of 3.772 seconds on Friday night but that was in the relatively cool evening. That racing conditions on Sunday certainly will be closer to those that the Matco team conquered Saturday.
“We just came back out today and took it as a new day,” said Brown, who finished qualifying sixth and will be going for his second win of the year and second in five years at the Houston race.
“We came out to do what we do, the track was hot. We went A to B on it and the car is running good.”
Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Final qualifying position: No. 6
Round 1 opponent: J.R. Todd
Session 1: 3.997 sec., 306.67 mph
Session 2: 4.051, 297.75
Session 3: 3.845, 319.22
Session 4: 3.857, 318.92
Saturday: Pro qualifying, 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m.
Sunday: Pro eliminations, 11 a.m.
Sunday: 7-10 p.m. ET (delayed)
Sunday: High 82 degrees, partly cloudy, 20 percent chance of precipitation