BROWN SECURES POLE WITH POTENTIAL RECORD RUN SCHUMACHER MOVES INTO SIXTH SPOT

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Dragster
Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Dragster

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

MOHNTON, Pa., October 1, 2011 - U.S. Army NHRA Racing Top Fuel pilots Antron Brown and Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher completed qualifying here Saturday for tomorrow's running of the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Brown's final qualifying effort was done in grand style as he posted a 3.766-second pass at 325.30 miles per hour which allowed him to claim his third pole of the season and the 29th of his career.

Additionally, Brown's fourth session lap placed him in prime position to leave Maple Grove Raceway with the national elapsed time record which would mean a 20-point bonus.

"The conditions were excellent today to go for the record, so we did just that," said the New Jersey native. "When you have cool temperatures and the track offers great grip, you have to take advantage of that. My Matco Tools/U.S. Army team rose to the occasion like it has all year long. I'm so proud of everyone."

Brown will now set his sights on race day when he will face 16th-place qualifier, Bruce Litton, in the first round of eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. ET. He will start Sunday still holding second-place in the standings, but just five points behind the leader, Spencer Massey, his Don Schumacher Racing teammate.

"We have to put our game faces on now," said Brown. "Our qualifying performance won't mean much if we go out early tomorrow. We have to keep going rounds if we're going to go after the world championship."

While Brown was drawing the spotlight on Saturday, Schumacher was quietly easing his way up the ladder into the sixth starting position.

He used a 3.807-second run at 320.36 miles per hour in the third session to set up an opening round match up with 11th-place qualifier, Brandon Bernstein.

"No question, Brandon will be a tough opponent," said the seven-time world champion.

"We will definitely have to be sharp to advance. I feel very good about our chances tomorrow. We will be Army Strong and take no prisoners. It's about time we stand up and level everyone that gets in our way."

Schumacher entered the third race in the Countdown of the Championship residing in fifth-place, 72 points behind Massey.

"We have to make a move tomorrow, there's no doubt about that," said Schumacher. "Round points are starting to fade away. Ideally, we win here at 'The Grove' and then go on to run the table. At that point, there won't be a question who won the title."