LAS VEGAS (April 2, 2016) – Antron Brown is focused on making quality runs in the 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster at this weekend’s NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason did just that on Saturday during two qualifying sessions where the team picked up four bonus points for being second best in each session.

Brown was pleased with their 3.811-second lap in Saturday’s opening session in the heat of the day that will be similar to Sunday’s championship eliminations that will air live from 5-8 p.m. (ET) on Fox Sports 1 (FS1).

“Without a doubt, that run today made us feel a lot better,” Brown said. “The second run (yesterday) was just my fault, I just lifted my foot off the gas, we didn’t put holes out like we did in the first session.

“I just hit a bump on the racetrack and it startled me so I let off because I thought something was wrong but it wasn’t. With that being said we could’ve qualified a little better yesterday but we’re just focused on making quality runs and we’re getting better and better each run and that’s what we want to do.”

The Matco Tools team stepped it up even more in the fourth and final session Saturday with a 3.760-second lap at 319 mph to move the team from seventh to third in the qualifying order.

“Race day is going to be hotter and we look forward to getting out there and being competitive tomorrow on race day,” Brown said. “We just wanted to step up. We moved up and got a little bit better position for tomorrow.”

Weighing on the minds of everyone in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series community is the unexpected death of NHRA chief starter Mark Lyle.

“We’re out here trying to be happy and stoked but we’ve all got our heads down right now because we’re missing Mark Lyle,” Brown said. “He was a brother to us and we’re just going to push on tomorrow. We’re going to have a good race which is how we would want us to have it.”

No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (CAPCO Racing), 3.728 sec., 325.30 mph

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying position: No. 3
First round: BROWN vs. Scott Palmer
SATURDAY: 3.811, 317.94, (Session 3); 3.760, 319.45, (Session 4)
FRIDAY: 3.899 sec., 308.71 mph, (Session 1); 3.777, 308.64, (Session 2)