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Brown matches teammate’s time again but not discouraged by qualifying No. 2 heading to eliminations at Brainerd

BRAINERD, Minn. – For the second straight day, Antron Brown and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher matched elapsed times Saturday as the quickest Top Fuel Dragsters in the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

And for the second straight day, Schumacher was a bit faster. That paid off for the Schumacher on Friday night when they ran identical times of 3.791 seconds that were the quickest of the weekend and Schumacher’s better speed earned him the No. 1 qualifying position and 70th pole of his career.

Although Brown and the Matco Tools team were denied their third pole of the year, Brown’s eyes remain on the prize that awaits the winner after Sunday’s four rounds of eliminations.

His optimism grew after the team’s run of 3.832 seconds in the fourth and last session Saturday again tied Schumacher for quickest.

“That (final) run was a really good pass for us,” said Brown, who is within two points of catching DSR teammate Spencer Massey for the top spot in the Top Fuel standings.

“In the third round, we were going for the number one spot and pressing for it. It feels good to go down the racetrack and get ready for tomorrow,” he said after Saturday’s final run

“Tomorrow is where you get all the points for winning rounds. We want to focus on our first round where we have a huge match-up with Bob Vandergriff. We are going to go out there poised and in attack mode and get after it. We’re looking forward to the challenge and we’re ready to have some fun. Brainerd has always been good to us.”

Brown, with Matco crew chiefs Mark Oswald and Brian Corradi, will try to become the third driver to win consecutive Top Fuel dragster events at Brainerd.

“It would be huge to accomplish something like that,” Brown said, of the last event before heading to Indianapolis for the prestigious U.S. Nationals where he will be the defending champion.

“It’s always a good thing to do well at Brainerd, because if you do well here, it always translates to Indy. When you have a good Brainerd, you have a good U.S. Nationals, so to do good here, it’s a great feeling. Tomorrow, we’re going to give it our best and see where the chips fall.”

The following are Brown’s qualifying results and other notes:

TOP FUEL
No. 1 qualifier: Tony Schumacher DSR, 3.791 sec., 323.97 mph

Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Qualified: No. 2
First-round opponent: Bob Vandergriff

FRIDAY
Session 1: 3.829 sec., 320.81 mph
Session 2: 3.791, 323.74
SATURDAY
Session 3: 6.091, 105.34
Session 4: 3.832, 321.73

FULL THROTTLE NITRO SCHEDULE
Sunday: Eliminations, 11 a.m. (CT)

ON ESPN2
Sunday: Eliminations, 9 p.m.-midnight (ET), delayed

WEATHER.COM FORECAST
Sunday: High 70; 10 percent chance of rain

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