Qualified: No. 6 (3.767 E.T. at 328.22 MPH)
E1: 3.800 E.T. at 327.35 MPH defeated Brittany Force 4.124 E.T. at 288.27 MPH
E2: 3.840 E.T. at 313.51 MPH defeated Leah Pritchett 4.300 E.T. at 199.29 MPH
E3: 4.206 E.T. at 254.33 MPH defeated by Tony Schumacher 3.939 E.T. at 292.96 MPH
The driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster began race day from the top half of the field with the advantage of lane choice over opponent Brittany Force. Brown’s 3.800-second pass defeated the reigning world champion’s 4.124 E.T. and pitted him against teammate Leah Pritchett in round two.
Against Pritchett, Brown navigated his 11,000-horsepower machine down the track in 3.840 seconds, setting off the win light for the 700th time in his career, while his opponent suffered an explosion in the other lane. The semifinals found Brown facing his other Top Fuel teammate, Tony Schumacher. In the intramural dragster battle, Brown hazed the tires at the 330-foot cone. He gave it a good pedal effort but was unable to chase down Schumacher, and Brown’s attempt to claim his third Maple Grove Raceway event win in four years ended with the semifinals.
“This Countdown is rough, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It was a tough road today having to race both of my teammates, but you have to beat everybody to win in the Countdown. That’s what our team has always thrived on.
“But it’s a great start to the Countdown for us. Any time you can kick off the Countdown in the top four it’s a plus. This race track was really tricky. We just need to get a couple of things leveled out. Now we’re going to keep pushing hard and get ready for St. Louis. If we keep doing what we’re doing, I think we’re going to be in the right spot. We have five races left, so we’re definitely still in it. I’m very excited to get down to Gateway. It’s always been a great race track for us. We’ll come out swinging.”