TOPEKA, Kan. (May 23, 2015) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel team will start Sunday’s NHRA Kansas Nationals championship eliminations from the No. 1 qualifying position marking the second straight Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in which the team won the pole.
It is Brown’s 39th career No. 1 qualifier – his 28th in Top Fuel – and the fourth time he accomplished that at Heartland Park Topeka. However, he has yet to convert the top starting position into a final round appearance in nine starts at the Kansas track.
“We really want to get this in tomorrow for the fans,” said Brown, the current points leader who has been the quickest in qualifying for five of the past seven sessions going back a week ago to Atlanta where the Matco team became the first in Top Fuel to win two NHRA Wally trophies this year.
“So we’re looking forward to tomorrow. All the competition is tough out here. Everybody’s been running strong. I’m just really proud of our Matco Tools/U.S. Army team. They’re a class act. We want to get out there tomorrow, hopefully have some good weather and have some fun, which means racing hard on a really good racetrack.”
Late afternoon rain showers canceled the fourth and final qualifying session and NHRA is optimistic that thunderstorms projected for Sunday will disperse so the eighth event of the season can be completed on schedule.
“We got one run in today and we feel good if it continues to be overcast and we can actually go into Sunday just knowing what we know now and that is we feel comfortable,” Brown said of Saturday’s only attempt. “The main thing is going out there and hitting it hard. We just hurt the motor a little bit on that last run – it hurt a piston on the burnout, that’s all, and it was weak.”
Brown, who has won 49 event titles, has never advanced past the semifinal round of eliminations. If he can reach the final round, he has a chance to become just the 10th NHRA driver to earn 50 career national event victories.
He’ll start final eliminations against veteran racer Luigi Novelli, whom he is 3-0 against.
No. 1 qualifier: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.727 sec.-track record, 313.37 mph, (Session 2)
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 1
First round: Luigi Novelli
SATURDAY: 3.867 sec., 298.34 mph, (Session 3); rained out, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 3.767, 314.68, (Session 1); 3.727-track record, 313.37, (Session 2)