BAYTOWN, Texas – April showers may bring May flowers next week in the Lone Star State, but persistent rain showers in the Houston-area all day Saturday forced NHRA officials to cancel the final day of qualifying at the 26th annual Spring Nationals.
Defending series champion Antron Brown, who claimed his first career Top Fuel win at the ultra-quick Baytown facility five years ago, powered his Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster to the No. 4 qualifying position on Friday with a DSR Top Fuel-best lap of 3.816-seconds at just 314.83 mph.
“We’re ready for race day,” said Brown, who has three final round visits in five Top Fuel trips at the Spring Nationals. “We like racing at this facility. It’s always a good track for our Matco Tools team.
“We’re going to race the track tomorrow one round at a time. That’s how we’re going to take it and we’ll see where we end up at. That’s how we do it at each and every race. Houston’s been good to us and we hope the result is like 2008 or like last year when we got to the final round. Our DSR Matco team is ready for battle.”
Brown, who qualified in the No. 4 position for the second time this season (Pomona 1), will match up against No. 13 qualifier and two-time Top Fuel winner Bob Vandergriff Jr. in the opening round of Top Fuel eliminations at 11 a.m. (CT) on Sunday morning in Baytown.
After morning drizzle, the rains cleared briefly to allow the completion of the third qualifying session of Pro Stock Motorcycle and most of Pro Stock. No Top Fuel dragsters or Funny Cars made a pass on Saturday.
The following are Brown’s qualifying results and other notes for the NHRA Spring Nationals:
Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Doug Kalitta, (Kalitta Racing) 3.791 sec., 321.65 mph
Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Qualifying position: 4th
First round opponent: Bob Vandergriff Jr.
Session 1: 4.205 sec., 202.91 mph
Session 2: 3.816, 314.83
Session 3: rained out
Session 4: rained out
THIS WEEKEND AT HOUSTON
NHRA Spring Nationals, Royal Purple Raceway, Baytown, Texas
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
Sunday: 2-5 p.m. (ET, semifinals and finals will be live), eliminations
Sunday: High 78, 30 percent chance of rain