MADISON, Ill. (Sept. 28, 2013) – Antron Brown was pretty happy after his Toyota/Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster produced a time of 3.796 seconds on Friday night that was good enough to hold up for the No. 6 seed going into Sunday’s championship eliminations in the AAA Insurance Midwest NHRA Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.
And his last qualifying run of 3.855 (316.90) on Saturday was even more fulfilling because it was under weather and track conditions that could be closer to what he and Don Schumacher Racing crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald will face when eliminations begin Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT).
“We made it down the track three out of four times in qualifying and that’s an improvement,” said the reigning NHRA Top Fuel world champion who is seventh in points. “We’re right where we need to be. We’re real consistent right now and that’s picking up for us. We’re getting to where the car is reacting exactly how Brian and Mark and our crew want it to do. All we can do Sunday is start stepping it up a little bit. We’re starting to get that confidence back in with car.
“The first round conditions Sunday are going to be really, really good, so you can’t hold anything back. I think you will have to run in a mid to high 3.7-second range in order to get the job done. It’s going to be cool all day tomorrow, so conditions are going to be right for some great racing. It should be a lot of fun.
“When you get a day like what you get really excited. You get to bring all your goodies to the party. Tomorrow, we’ll get to bring our strength to the starting line and drop it down.
“That’s what makes it really exciting coming to Gateway. We have always done well at this track and we just have to go out there and push hard. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The following are qualifying summaries for Brown and notes from Gateway Motorsports Park:
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
No. 1 Qualifier: Shawn Langdon (Al-Anabi Racing) 3.761 sec., 326.40 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Toyota/Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 6
First-round opponent: Billy Torrence
Third session: 4.241 sec., 200.77 mph
Fourth session: 3.855, 316.90
First session: 3.923, 306.12
Second session: 3.796, 318.24
MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES
NHRA Countdown to the Championship Standings
(Unofficial through Sept. 28 through St. Louis qualifying; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Shawn Langdon 2,297
2. Doug Kalitta 2,284
3. Spencer Massey 2,282
4. Morgan Lucas 2,252
5. Tony Schumacher 2,205
6. Clay Millican 2,178
7. Antron Brown 2,135
8. Bob Vandergriff 2,134
9. Khalid alBalooshi 2,132
10. Steve Torrence 2,115
2013 REGULAR SEASON WINNERS: Langdon, SCHUMACHER, BROWN, SCHUMACHER, MASSEY, Vandergriff, BROWN, Langdon, Langdon, Steve Torrence, MASSEY, SCHUMACHER, alBalooshi, MASSEY, Langdon, Lucas, MASSEY, Langdon.
2013 COUNTDOWN WINNERS: Lucas, Kalitta
Sunday: 11 a.m. (CT), championship eliminations
(Times are ET)
Sunday: 1 a.m., qualifying, ESPN News, delayed; 3:30 a.m., qualifying, ESPN2, delayed
Sunday: 8:30 p.m. (ET), championship eliminations, delayed
(As of Saturday afternoon)
Sunday: High 77; 10 percent chance of early morning rain