BRISTOL, Tenn. (JUNE 15, 2012) – Antron Brown wasn’t feeling so hot two weeks ago when he left his hometown track at Englishtown, N.J.

It wasn’t just because he had a bronchial infection. That malady was compounded by losing in the first round of the event at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park after qualifying ninth, which was his second worst start of the year.

But Brown was feeling “right and tight” on Friday night at Bristol Dragway and so was his Aaron’s Dream Machine/Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster. Crew chiefs Mark Oswald and Brian Corradi tuned Brown to a run of 3.814 seconds and 323.12 mph that earned them the provisional pole of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

The run set Bristol elapsed time and speed records.

“We just wanted to get into the top half of the field,” Brown said. “It just felt good to get that run in.

“It definitely was an ego booster, a mind booster and a team booster for all the hard work we put in to bring this car out and to get it where we like to see it.

“But we’re not safe by any means. It could be cool for the first session and our time could be beat. But if we can hold onto it going into the last session then I don’t think any of us will go quicker when the sun has been out all day.”

The previous three NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events did not go well for the team. After taking the Top Fuel points lead for the third time through the first six events, the team has been mired in third after losing in the first round twice and the second round once over the past three events.

“We’ve been fighting all kinds of little things.

“Yeah, we had a few rough races, but I knew Mark, Brian and our whole team would get us back on track,” said Brown, who won the 30th pole of his career last month at Topeka, Kan.

The team had a good feeling Bristol could be the site where it wins for the second time this season. Brown was the runner-up at Bristol a year ago and won the pole there in 2010.

“I feel like it will be a good weekend because we have Aaron’s Lucky Dog on our race car. This could be a good race for us to break back out again. Lord knows, it’s been rough on us the last few races.”

ANTRON BROWN, Aaron’s Dream Machine/Matco Tools dragster
Ranked No. 3 in Top Fuel points
Provisional qualifying position after Friday: No. 1
Session 1: 3.892 sec., 319.75 mph
Session 2: 3.814, 323.12
2011 AT BRISTOL: Qualified No. 5; lost in final to Larry Dixon
CAREER AT BRISTOL: Wins 0; runner-ups 1 (2011); poles 1 (2010)