COMMERCE, Ga. (May 16, 2015) – Completing a 1,000-foot run in 3.908 seconds in a Top Fuel dragster doesn’t sound like anything to brag about.
That was how long it took Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster to complete his first qualifying run Saturday in the heat of the day that was considerably slower than his NHRA national record time of 3.702 set in 2012 on a cool, fall day near Reading, Pa.
And his first of two runs Saturday was substantially slower than his pole-winning run of 3.758 on the previous night when the air was cooler and the track a mild 103 degrees.
When the Matco Tools team unleashed a 3.831 second lap in the fourth and final session, it was the fourth straight session that the team was quickest of the 18 Top Fuel teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Atlanta Dragway. It also marked the first time in Antron’s career spanning 317 events that he accomplished that.
It is Antron’s first pole of the season, second at the facility near Atlanta and the 38th of his career.
“It was good that our Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster got on a hot track today,” said Brown, who has won at Atlanta five times including three years in Top Fuel (2008, 2011 and 2013) and twice in Pro Stock Motorcycle (2001 and 2006).
When NHRA Southern Nationals championship eliminations begin at 11 a.m. (ET) Sunday race conditions will be much more similar to Saturday than Friday night.
“The track was 136 degrees when we went out the first time today, and it felt good to put down a solid run and go good from A to B. Just to go out there and run well felt great.”
It was a clean sweep of 12 qualifying bonus points for the Matco team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald that is ranked second in Mello Yello season standings.
“We tried to make it 4-for-4 to cap off a great qualifying effort and that’s what our Matco boys were able to do. It’s what we’ve been pushing to do all year and doing it here at Atlanta just makes it more special.”
Antron’s first qualifying run on Friday marked the first time this season that the team made it from start to finish under full power.
“Now we have to be ready for race day and because we have so many good laps Brian and Mark know what we need to do. It should be cooler for the first round and then get hotter for each other round.”
The following are qualifying results for Antron and his first-round opponent:
No. 1 qualifier: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.758 sec., 319.82 mph, (Session 2)
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 1
First round opponent: Shawn Langdon
SATURDAY: 3.908 sec., 313.29 mph, (Session 3); 3.831, 316.30, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 3.786 sec., 320.28, (Session 1); 3.758, 319.82, (Session 2)