St. Louis: Antron Brown Saturday notes

BROWN QUALIFIES DIRECTV/MATCO TOOLS DRAGSTER IN NO. 7 SPOT SATURDAY AT ST. LOUIS MADISON, Ill. (May 2, 2009) - Antron Brown, who owns the Gateway International Raceway track speed record at 331.94 mph, qualified his Mike Ashley-owned...

BROWN QUALIFIES DIRECTV/MATCO TOOLS DRAGSTER IN NO. 7 SPOT SATURDAY AT ST. LOUIS

MADISON, Ill. (May 2, 2009) - Antron Brown, who owns the Gateway International Raceway track speed record at 331.94 mph, qualified his Mike Ashley-owned DirecTV/Matco Tools dragster seventh Saturday afternoon at G.I.R. The fan-favorite used a qualifying-best elapsed time of 3.906-seconds in his DirecTV rail. Brown has now qualified in the top half of the field at all seven races this season.

A day after losing Friday's two qualifying sessions to afternoon rain showers in the St. Louis-area, Brown and the DirecTV/Matco Tools Top Fuel team took to the track under overcast skies Saturday afternoon at G.I.R. The 19-time NHRA winner used a tune-up from crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald to power the blue and white DirecTV dragster to a lap of 3.949 seconds at 283.67 mph. That placed the Matco Tools flagship driver seventh in the 16-car order with one qualifying session remaining.

Brown's quickest pass of the rain-shortened qualifying came on his final attempt when the three-time Top Fuel winner used Corradi and Oswald horsepower to blast his DirecTV/Matco car to a performance of 3.906 at 298.67 to finish seventh in the qualifying order. There were 18 cars attempting to make the field for the 13th annual O'Reilly Midwest Nationals. Brown's average qualifying position this season is now 3.71. The former college track star has earned two poles this year (Pomona 1 and Houston). Morgan Lucas earned the No. 1 qualifying award Saturday afternoon at Gateway at 3.881-seconds.

"We got our two runs in today to make up for yesterday and this MAR/DirecTV/Matco dragster made two consistent runs," Brown said. "Now, we're looking to race day and we're very confident. Our car continues to be very consistent.

"We know it's going to be a tough first round against Doug (Kalitta), but we wouldn't want it any other way. They got us at this race last year, so hopefully we can make up for that this time."

Brown will face off against No. 10 qualifier Doug Kalitta in the first round of Top Fuel eliminations at 11 a.m. (CT) on Sunday at Gateway. Brown is 1-1 against the 31-time Top Fuel winner this season and 3-3 in his career. Brown fell to Kalitta in the quarterfinals last May at G.I.R. Brown's next round win will be the 270th of his career. He needs two round wins to reach 50 in Top Fuel.

-credit: mar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Doug Kalitta , Morgan Lucas , Mike Ashley