EPPING, N.H. (June 4, 2016) – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team saved their best for last during NHRA New England Nationals qualifying Saturday to earn their first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and second at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.
The Matco Tools/U.S. Army team clocked a track record 3.701-second pass at 319.07 mph to earn the 45th career pole of Brown’s career in the fourth and final qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.
“It was just a great job,” Brown said. “Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald and all of our Matco Tools boys, did a great job. We just wanted to go out there and do what we can do, and we are starting to make those gains where it’s showing on the racetrack.
“Today, we just came out with the mindset that they wouldn’t back up,” Brown said of crew chiefs Corradi and Oswald. “They would just run what the track would hold and today we made a really good lap in the first session with that 3.76 and we just stepped the car up and the car responded. We didn’t get all of it like we wanted to. That could’ve been a 3.68 run. We just have to keep working on it.”
Brown, the reigning and two-time Top Fuel world champion, also earned a bye-run to start Sunday’s eliminations.
“There’s a lot of good competitors out here and we just want to make sure we can compete at a high level. We expected that we would’ve had a couple more No. 1’s. This one being the first and we are a third of the way through the season. We just want to make sure that we peak at the right time, during the Countdown (to the Championship) and we’re heading in that direction.
“We are starting to make those gains that are showing on the racetrack.”
The Matco Tools team has reached at least the semifinal at the past five straight NHRA Mello Yello Series events. They have one event title (Las Vegas) in three final round appearances.
“You always want more race wins and that’s what we are striving for,” he said. “The competition right now is just ridiculous. It’s at an all-time high. There was never any gimmies, but the competition has raised the bar each year.
“To defend our title, we have to push ourselves to another limit. That’s what we’ve been working on, to be better than what we were last year. We just have to take it one round at a time and give it all that we’ve got each time.”
No. 1 qualifier: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.701 sec. (track record), 319.07 sec.
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army
Qualifying position: No. 1
First round opponent: BYE
FRIDAY: 3.764 sec., 293.60 mph, (Session 1); 7.723, 80.09, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.760, 317.34, (Session 3); 3.701, 319.07, (Session 4)