MADISON, Ill. (Sept. 26, 2015) – Antron Brown has proven in his lifelong athletic career that he is quick to react to either the sound of a gun or the flash of a light.

And he hopes his stellar reaction to the NHRA Christmas Tree starting system is on display Sunday at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis where he hopes to win his fourth consecutive Midwest NHRA Nationals Top Fuel title.

Antron drove Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster tuned by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to the No. 2 qualifying position for Sunday’s championship eliminations at 11 a.m. (CT) in the second of six events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoff.

Antron will carry the Mello Yello points lead into eliminations where he will be going for his sixth win of the year and 53rd of his career that includes 37 in Top Fuel.

While reaction times don’t affect qualifying performances, a quicker driver can compensate for a slower car.

In eliminations, Antron has left before his competition 32 out of 47 times this season with an average reaction time of 0.068 seconds.

And that’s where his experience as a national caliber sprinter in high school and junior college.

“Running track definitely helped me because and it is a pure reaction sport, and you had to be quiet in thought waiting for the starter’s pistol to go off,” said Antron, who turned down a scholarship to Long Island University and invitation to the 1998 U.S. Olympic Trials to begin riding a Pro Stock Motorcycle.

“We didn’t have reaction times in track but was important like ETs are in drag racing.

“You had to sit there with your mind totally focused.”

He intends to have that mindset Sunday focused on winning rounds, holding the points lead and winning a fourth NHRA Wally trophy from Gateway.

No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (Torrence Racing) 3.718 sec.-track record, 328.22 mph

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 2
First round: BROWN vs. Terry McMillen
Saturday: 3.765 sec., 322.96 mph, (Session 3); 3.736, 321.96, (Session 4)
Friday: 3.792, 321.50, (Session 1); 4.606, 165.72, (Session 2)