JOLIET, Ill., (July 9, 2016) – Antron Brown knew that his Matco Tools team would have to give it all they had during qualifying at the 19th annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.

It appears they did just that when the 10,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald posted their best elapsed time of the weekend in the fourth and final session on Saturday evening.

The 3.733-second, 323-mph pass moved Brown and company from seventh to the fourth starting spot for Sunday’s eliminations that will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

“We are definitely getting better and getting to where we want to be,” Brown said. “This track can get the best of you if you don’t give it enough. We made it down the track every run in qualifying and that’s what we’re looking to do. We just want to get to where we know we’re capable of being. In Norwalk we got to where we wanted to be. The car performed where we wanted it to, it ran like we wanted it to. We were running low of the session and we didn’t do that this weekend but we did sneak in to be third best of that last session. We have to get there to set ourselves up for race day. It’s going to be a battle royal gladiator style here at what I like to call the Coliseum. We love winning especially here in Chicago.”

All four qualifying sessions at Route 66 Raceway were completed in the late afternoon and evening but tomorrow’s championship eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. (CT).

“This Route 66 track has some teeth to it and the thing about it is that we haven’t gotten aggressive enough to take advantage of it. All in all our Matco Tools/U.S. Army team did a good job. This track has always been like this. We just got to pony up and do what we do.”

Brown is seeking his third Mello Yello title of the season and third Top Fuel title and fifth overall title on Sunday at Route 66.

“(The success) comes when it comes,” he said. “It’s always been a great racetrack for us and we just want to continue that and give it all we’ve got and have fun doing it. We like winning. That’s what we come here to do. We don’t come out here to just be out here, we come out here to be at the highest level and we’re not happy until we get to that level.”

No. 1 qualifier: Brittany Force (John Force Racing) 3.692 sec.-track record, 325.69 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army
Qualifying position: No. 4
First round opponent: Clay Millican


FRIDAY: 3.821 sec., 315.12 mph, (Session 1); 3.753, 319.37, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.815, 320.05, (Session 3); 3.733, 323.50, (Session 4)