Pomona: Saturday qualifying report

BROWN ENTERS FIRST TOP FUEL RACE IN NO. 1 SPOT; WILKERSON, ANDERSON ALSO NO.1 AT CARQUEST AUTO PARTS WINTERNATIONALS POMONA, Calif. -- Former Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Antron Brown raced to his first No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the...

BROWN ENTERS FIRST TOP FUEL RACE IN NO. 1 SPOT; WILKERSON, ANDERSON ALSO NO.1 AT CARQUEST AUTO PARTS WINTERNATIONALS

POMONA, Calif. -- Former Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Antron Brown raced to his first No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Tim Wilkerson and Greg Anderson also were the No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event, the first of 24 events in the 2008 season.

Brown, who earned 11 No. 1 qualifying awards in nearly a decade of racing on two wheels, was able to stay at the top of the field after a competitive day of qualifying. His run of 4.495 at 330.07 from Friday in his Matco Tools dragster was good enough to lead the 16 car field.

"It's just an unreal deal out here right now," Brown said. "For a kid out of Chesterfield, N.J. to come out here, race Pro Stock Motorcycle in NHRA drag racing, then get the chance to race all of the different (Top Fuel) drivers that I look up to is just unbelievable. And then to go out there and run a 4.495 is even better."

Former two-time world champion Larry Dixon drove his U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company dragster to the second spot in the field, posting a 4.497-second run at 325.14 mph during the last session of qualifying.

Wilkerson took the No. 1 spot on the final Funny Car qualifying session of the event. Wilkerson drove his Levi Ray & Shoup Chevy Impala SS to a 4.790-second run at 325.22 mph. It's Wilkerson's second No. 1 qualifier at the Winternationals and 11th of his career.

"We left a lot on the table after the morning run today and really had our backs against the wall coming into the last run," Wilkerson said. "We had about three different timing scenarios made up on my graphic editor depending on whether or not we were in the show and after the morning run when we were still in we decided to stick the top one in there and go for the throat and it just happened to work."

Melanie Troxel qualified third in her first Funny Car race, and John Force qualified fifth in his return to racing.

Greg Anderson remained the leader in Pro Stock, driving his Summit Racing equipment Pontiac GXP to a track record run of 6.629 at 209.39.

"We knew we didn't make a real clean run on Thursday so we thought as the week went and the track got better we should be able to make a better run, and we did just that," Anderson said. "Thankfully we were right on that."

Final eliminations for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals begin Sunday at 11 a.m.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , Greg Anderson , Tim Wilkerson , Melanie Troxel