Pomona: Friday qualifying report

BROWN LEADS TOP FUEL FIELD AFTER SECOND DAY OF QUALIFYING AT WINTERNATIONALS; KALITTA AND ANDERSON STAY ON TOP AFTER TWO SESSIONS POMONA, Calif. - After months of preparation and weeks of testing runs former Pro Stock motorcycle rider Antron...

BROWN LEADS TOP FUEL FIELD AFTER SECOND DAY OF QUALIFYING AT WINTERNATIONALS; KALITTA AND ANDERSON STAY ON TOP AFTER TWO SESSIONS

POMONA, Calif. - After months of preparation and weeks of testing runs former Pro Stock motorcycle rider Antron Brown made his Top Fuel debut with a huge smile on his face, and raced to the qualifying lead Friday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Scott Kalitta and Greg Anderson remained the qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event, the first of 24 events in the 2008 season.

Brown, who earned 16 victories in nearly a decade of racing on two wheels, powered his Matco Tools dragster to the best run of his early Top Fuel career, posting a performance of 4.495 seconds at 330.07 mph.

"Everyone keeps asking me the same questions: 'How's the transition? How's it going to go? What do you really expect to do," Brown said. "When I came here I just wanted to qualify in the top-half of the field because our team is very capable of that. I'm just trying to do the best that I can do at being consistent and cutting good lights and this car is just flying."

Defending world champion Tony Schumacher moved to second overall in his U.S. Army dragster with his run of 4.513 seconds at 331.53 mph from Thursday.

Kalitta remained the leader in Funny Car in his DHL Toyota Solara (4.818 seconds), but driver Cruz Pedregon posted the quickest run of the day and moved from 16th to second overall, driving his Advance Auto Parts Chevy Impala SS to a run of 4.818 at 322.65.

"That was a big pressure relief," Pedregon said. "We didn't qualify at the finals here three or four months ago so to come out to the season opener and qualify as well as we did is just really, really a relief right now."

Kurt Johnson was the only driver in Pro Stock to improve his performance from Thursday. He drove his ACDelco Chevy Cobalt to a 6.646 at 208.36 to narrow the gap between qualifying leader Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac GXP.

"We took our information from yesterday and we went in that left-hand lane," Johnson said. "It looks like that left-hand lane is probably a couple hundredths quicker."

Saturday's two qualifying sessions are at Noon and 3 p.m.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Kurt Johnson , Tony Schumacher , Greg Anderson , Cruz Pedregon , Scott Kalitta