JOLIET, Ill. (July 11, 2015) –Antron Brown is in a good position to win for the fifth time in the NHRA Route 66 Nationals near Chicago after earning the fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the year with the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster team.
His top-ranked Don Schumacher Racing team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald will start as the top seed Sunday for the fourth time in the past seven races that have helped the 2012 NHRA world champion build a 20-point lead over teammate Tony Schumacher, who is second in the standings.
The Matco team was consistent throughout its three qualifying attempts including its Friday night run of 3.729 seconds at 323.58 mph to set a track elapsed-time record. He opened qualifying with a time of 3.755 (316.01) and started Saturday with a time of
3.755 (316.01) that was fifth best in the session.
“We’ve been focusing on getting in a good first run Friday right out of the box so we can came back in the late session and really put up a good number,” he said. “Mark and Brian did that Friday when we came out and ran a (3.775) on our first run and then stepped it up with that .72 Friday night.”
The start of the Saturday’s first session was delayed by rain for 90 minutes. More rain later halted racing again after completion of the third session. After about 30 minutes of racing heavier rain rolled in briefly and dew began forming on the track forcing NHRA officials to cancel the last professional qualifying session at 9:40 p.m. (CT).
Brown said losing the fourth run won’t affect his team’s performance in eliminations when they race for the first time in the afternoon, but the Matco team was looking forward to the ideal conditions that could have allowed them to improve their national record of 3.701 and possible become the first to tip into the 3.6-second range.
“All that last run would have been was a showoff run, so we’ll just have to wait for another night right to do it.”
It is Brown’s second pole at the track and 41st of his career.
No. 1 qualifier: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.729-sec.-track record, 323.58 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 1
First round: BROWN vs. Luigi Novelli
SATURDAY: 3.755 sec., 316.01 mph, Session 3; canceled rain, Session 4
FRIDAY: 3.775 sec., 317.94 mph, (Session 1), 3.729-sec.-track record, 323.58 mph, (Session 2)