Qualified: No. 6 (3.704 E.T. at 329.50 MPH)
E1: 3.720 E.T. at 331.12 MPH defeated Doug Kalitta 3.727 E.T. at 325.85 MPH
E2: 4.159 E.T. at 200.62 MPH defeated by Brittany Force 3.687 E.T. at 333.00 MPH
Three-time world champion Antron Brown faced Doug Kalitta in round one as he began his campaign to collect his fourth Auto Club NHRA Finals event win. Brown had the holeshot start over Kalitta and navigated the Matco Tools Maximus 3.0 dragster down the track in 3.720-seconds for the win.
Against his quarterfinal opponent Brittany Force, Brown once again had the starting line advantage, but Force was able to chase him down by half-track as Brown’s machine slowed to a losing 4.159-second E.T.
“We actually hurt the engine in E2 when we were out front, and that’s the bummer about it. We’d just been having that type of year where we’d been giving it all we’ve got and just coming up a little short with little mishaps happening. Our main focus is that we learned a lot this year and next year we just need to do it better. We know qualifying is key, getting into those top-three spots, and we’re going to work on that in the off-season. We’re just going to make our whole program better as a group and get ready for 2019. I know one thing, and that is we like racing for championships and we want to make sure we come into this last race with a shot to win the championship. That’s going to be our focus all year, to run better, run stronger. If you win rounds, you win races.”