Joliet: Series Friday qualifying report

BROWN, PEDREGON, EDWARDS AND HORNE LEAD QUALIFYING AT UNITED ASSOCIATION ROUTE 66 NHRA NATIONALS JOLIET, Ill. -- Antron Brown raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals. Tony Pedregon,...


JOLIET, Ill. -- Antron Brown raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

Tony Pedregon, Mike Edwards and Doug Horne also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.

Brown posted a performance of 3.826 seconds at 317.94 mph in his Matco Tools/DirecTV dragster to take the top spot at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago, while local favorite Tony Schumacher, winner of three of the last five events, was second in his U.S. Army dragster with a 3.848 at 311.34.

"That was an incredible run," Brown said. "I let go of the brake and both bulbs came on. Luckily, I staged shallow. We kept our cool and it was a real smooth, consistent run. We continue to run those big speeds. There's a slice in the groove in the right lane and I saw a few Funny Cars steer around it and I followed their lead. (Crew chiefs) Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) got what they wanted and the run looked great on the computer. The team is stoked. There were some good cars behind us like Tony (Schumacher) and Larry (Dixon) and we knew they're capable of running some stout numbers. We weren't sure if it would hold. This is awesome though. It should be cloudy tomorrow, so we may be able to go even quicker, but we should stay in the top three and that's always our goal."

Last week's winner, Dixon, was third overall in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster, while Rod Fuller and J.R. Todd, both making their season debuts, qualified seventh and 11th respectively.

Pedregon led qualifying in Funny Car, posting a 4.089 at 304.39 in his Q-Horsepower Chevy Impala.

"These were very good conditions," said Pedregon, who also was the No. 1 qualifier at Las Vegas in April. "I'm actually surprised more cars didn't adapt to them. I've had a couple of butt kicking's the last couple of races, and it has reminded me that we can't be too conservative. Last year, we'd already won a couple of races by this point and we maybe got a little spoiled.

"I really like this track. In the heat, it does not deteriorate, which is one of the reasons why I'm really excited about coming back here. As for the No. 1, I'm just going to enjoy it for now and if it holds, great. If it doesn't, I still made a pretty good run."

The Ford Mustangs of Mike Neff, John Force, Bob Tasca and Ashley Force Hood held down positions two through five in the lineup.

Edwards topped the qualifying order in Pro Stock with a track record performance of 6.587 at 209.88 in his ART/Young Life Pontiac GXP.

"I was shocked it ran that fast, I really was," said Edwards, who has been the No. 1 qualifier at five of the nine races so far this season. "I knew it was good, but I didn't know it was that good. Tomorrow is another day and conditions are going to change all around. That .58, no telling, that might be eighth or ninth in the pack. I'm going to come out here tomorrow, and I'm going to race the track and see what we can do and where we wind up."

Greg Anderson was second in his Summit Racing GXP, while series points leader Jeg Coughlin was third in his Chevy Cobalt and Topeka winner Allen Johnson was fourth in his J&J Racing/Team Mopar Dodge Stratus.

Pro Stock Motorcycle rookie Horne, a two-time runner-up this season, was quickest in the two-wheel category, powering his Horne Racing Buell to a leading time of 6.936 at 191.84.

"It was good to come right off the trailer and put that kind of lap on the board," said Horne, one of the top contenders for the 2009 Auto Club Road to the Future Award. "We've done some testing in the four weeks we've been off with (crew chief) Rick Maney and Junior Pippin, working on the fuel maps and did something different with the clutch, and it seems to have really paid off. It gives us all the confidence in the world. The weather should be cooler tomorrow, and so I think everyone will run better tomorrow. I wish could put some bigger numbers on the board for Junior Pippin and DragStar and go some rounds Sunday."

Gatornationals winner Hector Arana was second on his Lucas Oil Buell and Karen Stoffer was third on her GEICO Powersports Suzuki.

Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at noon and 3 p.m.

-credit: nhra

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Tony Pedregon , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Greg Anderson , Karen Stoffer , Ashley Force , Allen Johnson , Rod Fuller , J.R. Todd , Mike Edwards , Mike Neff