ANTRON BROWN EARNS FIRST POLE OF 2010 NHRA SEASON AT GATORNATIONALS, ALSO RUNS CAREER-BEST SPEED AT 321.04 MPH GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 12, 2010) - Antron Brown returned to the form that saw him win a category-best six races last season Saturday...
ANTRON BROWN EARNS FIRST POLE OF 2010 NHRA SEASON AT GATORNATIONALS, ALSO RUNS CAREER-BEST SPEED AT 321.04 MPH
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 12, 2010) - Antron Brown returned to the form that saw him win a category-best six races last season Saturday afternoon at Gainesville Raceway as the 24-time NHRA winner earned his first pole of the 2010 NHRA season and 22nd of his career. The former college track star paced the Gatornationals field in his Don Schumacher-owned Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster at 3.803-seconds.
After racing to the provisional No. 6 qualifying position on Friday's only qualifying attempt, Brown used a tune-up from crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to power the bright blue Matco Tools/U.S. Army car to its quickest and fastest lap of the 2010 NHRA season. Brown clocked a run of 3.819 seconds at a career-best speed of 320.89 mph to earn three bonus points and race to the top of the 16-car order. That was Brown's first official 320-mph pass at 1,000-feet.
After DSR and U.S. Army Racing teammate Tony Schumacher claimed the top spot at 3.805-seconds on his final qualifying attempt in the black U.S. Army car, Brown quickly returned the favor to earn his 11th career No. 1 qualifying award. The Matco Tools flagship driver used Corradi/Oswald horsepower to clock a performance of 3.803 at 321.04, the fastest run of Brown's. Brown also has 11 career Pro Stock Motorcycle poles, including the 2001 Gatornationals. The Matco Tools team earned six bonus qualifying points on Saturday by making the two quickest runs of the day. Schumacher qualified second, while current Top Fuel points leader and FRAM driver Cory McClenathan qualified fifth on Saturday.
"The track came around really nice today," Brown said. "The Safety Safari always does a great job preparing the track and it held up perfect with the sun out today, which was great to see with all the rain we've had here this week. We should see some really good racing on Sunday.
"I have to say hats off to this DSR Matco Tools team. It's been a challenging season so far for us with all that we've been through. To come out here and make two great runs today is a blessing. We're just going to take things one step at a time and today was great to get the pole for our Matco team. These two solid laps give us a lot of confidence going into race day."
Brown will face off against No. 16 qualifier Todd Paton in the first round of eliminations at 11 a.m. (ET) on Sunday at Gainesville Raceway. Brown has never faced Paton during eliminations. Brown, who made his professional debut at the 1998 Gatornationals, has 309 career round wins.