Don Schumacher Racing
Antron Brown Grabs First 2011 Pole At NHRA Northwest Nationals
Antron Brown drove his Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster on to the pole for Sunday’s 24th-annual NHRA Northwest Nationals here at Pacific Raceways.
Brown, who has three victories in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season and is in third place of the Top Fuel standings, earned his first number-one qualifier of the year with a 3.809-second pass at 321.58 miles per hour (top speed of the event) during today’s first session.
“The Matco Tools car has been running really well the last few races and I really have to take my hat off to Mark Oswald and Brian Corradi (co-crew chiefs),” said the 35-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver. “We had a good car in Denver (two races ago), then the track played tricks on us, and last week we won (in Sonoma, Calif.).
“All we’ve been missing this year is a number one, and we got one, but our real focus is on race day. What we want is to be consistent each round – consistently quick and fast!”
The New Jersey native made three solid runs in the two days of qualifying, able to get down both lanes of the track which, especially during Friday’s two runs, posed problems for many of the nitro cars.
Brown opened Friday’s qualifying with a 3.849-second lap at 318.54 mph and closed today’s program with one of 3.855 at 319.07.
“It’s great to have lane choice here,” he said. “But as we saw today, the track got a bit more even between the two lanes and, considering how good and how competitive the entire Top Fuel class is right now, you can’t take anything for granted, even with lane choice.
“We were all aggressive early in qualifying and the numbers weren’t great. The track got better today in both lanes and everyone performed better – and the field tightened up.”
When Top Fuel comes to the starting line at 11 a.m. PT Sunday Brown will face 16th-qualifier Morgan Lucas in the first round.
“Just because Morgan qualified 16th doesn’t mean we can take it easy,” explained Brown. “He’s a great driver, for a great team and has a win this season. It just doesn’t matter who you get on race day – everyone can win in Top Fuel this year!”