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Brown qualifies eighth at NHRA Kansas Nationals as Matco Tools team works on improvements for heart of NHRA Mello Yello season

TOPEKA, Kan. (May 21, 2016) – The Matco Tools team with two-time world champion driver Antron Brown used Saturday at the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals as an opportunity to strengthen their Top Fuel program to better defend their 2015 championship.

After qualifying with a 3.743-second pass at 323 mph in the opening session at Heartland Park Topeka, Brown and the Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason, suffered a part failure during Friday night’s ideal conditions.

“Absolutely I was happy with that first run out of the box Friday,” said Brown, who is seeking his Heartland Park event title. “We’re just happy to be back here at Topeka. The facility is definitely one of the best ones we have on the circuit track-wise, and it’s really showing out there.”

The Matco Tools team set a game plan to use Saturday’s two qualifying sessions as a test to make gains in areas that will be beneficial for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs that will begin in September.

“Everything went good,” Brown said. “We made a good halftrack pass in the first session today and then this afternoon, we got what we were looking for and got a really solid, full run. We have a baseline and now we can make some more improvements and adjustments to get it where we need it to be.

“With all that being said, we are working toward that championship run. We know what it takes to win a championship and you have to be right in the Countdown. Right now, these conditions out here in Topeka are really awesome. We are actually making great gains in the areas that we need to make our package more efficient. Today was a good day for testing, we made some gains.”

The Matco Tools team qualified eighth for Sunday’s eliminations that will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 2 p.m. (ET) and will race Kalitta Racing’s J.R. Todd in the first round.

“We have a tough first round matchup with JR (Todd) and we will give it our best shot,” Brown said. “We’re just going to keep working towards our goal and that’s getting better each weekend.”

TOP FUEL

No. 1 qualifier: Brittany Force (John Force Racing) 3.676-national record, 325.45

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster

Qualifying position: No. 8

First round opponent: JR Todd

FRIDAY: 3.743 sec., 323.120 mph, (Session 1); 3.877, 242.50, (Session 2)

SATURDAY: 3.875, 259.96, (Session 3); 3.773, 317.60, (Session 4)

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