Antron Brown grabs pole for 57th-Annual U.S. Nationals
INDIANAPOLIS, September 4, 2011 – On the strength of his third qualifying run from Saturday night, Antron Brown earned the No. 1 qualifying position, his second of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, for Monday’s 57th-annual U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
The 35-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster posted a 3.818-second elapsed time with a weekend top speed of 322.96 miles per hour to gain his second number-one starting position (2009) at his sport’s premier event.
We thought we would run a bit better this afternoon, but maybe we over tuned it.
Shawn Langdon, the 16th qualifier, will provide the first-round opposition in final eliminations.
“Tomorrow is race day, a whole new deal,” said Brown, putting qualifying in perspective. “This is the one race everyone wants to win, so they bring their A-game, so we’re going to put our heads down, dig deep and go after it, because we want it just as much as they do, if not more.”
A Labor Day win would be Brown’s first at the “Big Go” in a Top Fuel dragster after two previous victories (2000 and 2004) as a Pro Stock Motorcycle driver.
“We’re ready for tomorrow,” he said. “We expect conditions on Monday to be even better than they were today, cooler and drier than it has been all weekend.
“We thought we would run a bit better this afternoon, but maybe we over tuned it.”
Air temperatures during the first two days, and three rounds of qualifying, hovered close to 100 degrees, with track temps breaking 130, challenging crew chiefs to find the right setup for the greasy surface.
The Matco Tools hot rod smoked its tires in today’s first session, producing a 5.004-second lap, and was sixth-quickest in the final round at 3.870, leaving his Saturday evening effort as his run of record heading into race day.
“But like I said, tomorrow is a whole, different deal and we will be ready!”