Qualified: No. 11 (3.753 E.T. at 326.56 MPH)
E1: 3.735 E.T. at 325.69 MPH defeated Mike Salinas 3.727 E.T. at 321.96 MPH
E2: 3.750 E.T. at 320.89 MPH defeated Leah Pritchett, Foul (Red Light)
E3: 3.746 E.T. at 320.28 MPH defeated Steve Torrence 3.744 E.T. at 315.71 MPH
E4: 3.995 E.T. at 233.48 MPH defeated by Brittany Force 3.749 E.T. at 302.14 MPH
Event runner-up Antron Brown raced to the Top Fuel winner’s circle for the first time in his career during the 2008 Baytown meet and was looking to pick up his third Houston Raceway Park Wally trophy on Sunday afternoon as he advanced to his first final of the 2019 season.
After qualifying sixth for Sunday’s elimination rounds, Antron Brown mustered a 3.735 E.T. in his Matco Tools Toyota to nab the holeshot win over Mike Salinas, the most recent Top Fuel winner on tour. Brown’s Brad Mason/Mark Oswald-guided machine made another solid lap in the quarterfinals, posting a 3.750 to defeat teammate Leah Pritchett who stood on the gas early and recorded a red light start.
In the semifinals, Brown took down the reigning world champ as he once again used his strong leaving capabilities to help him cross the finish line before Steve Torrence, earning his second holeshot victory of the day.
Brown and his final round opponent, Brittany Force, were nearly even leaving the starting line, but Force took the early lead and never trailed for the win. By setting off three win lights, Brown was able to advance three spots from tenth to seventh in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship Top Fuel rankings.
“It was a good day for the Matco Tools/Toyota/Pennzoil team today. We’ve been going through a lot of adversity and we’ve just been fighting through it as a unit together. Today, people saw what we are capable of. It feels good just to get back to what’s been the norm. We still have a-ways to go, but we’re just going to keep on working and keep our heads down and everything’s going to be just fine.
“We can take this run today and build a little momentum and go to Charlotte and start where we left off here. We just need to keep getting better. That’s the name of the game. It’s still early in the season and we want to keep making the car better and I need to keep driving better. I’m proud of my boys. They were up late Saturday night where they rebuilt the whole clutch system. Now the car is doing the things we want it to do. We’re on the road to recovery and we’re going to keep pressing. Now we need to get back to qualifying in the top five. With as tight and tough as the class is, if you can do that you’re going to have good days.”