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Brown On Early Top Fuel Pole In Brainerd

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, August 18 2018

Top Fuel driver Antron Brown won the provisional pole on Friday in Minnesota. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Garry Eller

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Antron Brown continued his late-season resurgence Friday, emerging as provisional pole-winner in Top Fuel after the first two of four rounds of time trials at the 37th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota.

Brown won the most recent national event at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., where NHRA’s summertime three-race Western Swing concluded. Brown, who posted his first win of the season at the facility outside Seattle, took over the No. 1 position during the second qualifying session with a 1,000-foot run of 3.789-seconds at 325.45 mph. Brown, who has yet to record a pole this season, is looking to notch the 50th of his career.

“We’ve been working hard for this,” Brown, of Don Schumacher Racing, said. “It’s no secret, we’ve been through our bumps and bruises but the thing about it is that’s why you go through the struggles so you have days like this and what we had in Seattle.” 

Brown also secured a spot among the top-10 in the upcoming NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship following the first session.

“The Countdown is around the corner and that’s when recess is out. Play time is over and I’m ready to just get to it,” said Brown, a three-time world champion. “Tomorrow we want to go out there and make some great runs and get ready for race day. We want to try and get some more qualifying points. We clinched in the Countdown today but there are still a lot of positions available where we could move up. We can definitely get into that fifth spot, and with points-and-a-half at Indy, if we do well here, it can set us up to maybe get into one of those top tier two-through-four spots and will give us some great momentum going into the Countdown.”

Clay Millican, who led the first qualifying session, is second with a run of 3.790-seconds at 323.04 mph.  Point-leader Steve Torrence is 12th after his best run of 4.445-seconds at 180.91 mph heading into Saturday’s two rounds. 

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock), and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also preliminary No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 17th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of an event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including live final eliminations coverage starting at 2 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday. 

Hight leads Funny Car with his 1,000-foot run of 3.971-seconds at 326.95 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro SS. The two-time/reigning world champion has one pole this season along with two wins, three runner-up finishes to stand third in points. 

“Good day, six bonus points, and see if we can get more tomorrow,” said Hight, of John Force Racing. “The goal tomorrow is to be ahead of everybody but keep going down the track. If we get six more points tomorrow, that’s big.” 

Matt Hagan, a two-time world champ from DSR, is second after his run of 3.990-seconds at 324.51 mph. Point-leader Courtney Force is 15th following her pass of 4.097-seconds at 313.15 mph. In addition, “Fast” Jack Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champion, earned his berth in the six-race Countdown after the opening qualifying session.  

Enders, third in Pro Stock points, is chasing her first pole of the season after covering the traditional quarter-mile in 6.609-seconds at 207.53 mph in her Camaro SS during the second session. Enders, a two-time world champ, has one win and five runnerup results this season. 

“We’re really excited to be No. 1 even if it’s for just Friday night; we’ll try to hold onto it Saturday,” Enders said. “Our car is running awesome, I’m definitely driving better so that’s encouraging. It was great to go to the No. 1 spot. I have a good hot rod and I’m excited.”

Chris McGaha is second with a pass of 6.613-seconds at 208.33 mph while point-leader and four-time world champ Greg Anderson is eighth following his run of 6.626 at 208.52.

Smith leads Pro Stock Motorcycle after his quarter-mile run of 6.852-seconds at a track-record 198.47 mph aboard his Elite Motorsports/Denso EBR. A two-time world champion, Smith has one pole and one win this season. 

“We debuted a new body and were low both sessions,” Smith said. “Can’t say enough about Richard Freeman from Elite Performance, Mark Stockseth, Lucas Oil, Denso, and everybody that helps me. I couldn’t do this without them.” 

Hector Arana Jr. sits second at 6.877-seconds and 197.08 aboard his Buell. Eddie Krawiec, a four-time world champion, is third with his run of 6.886-seconds at 195.45 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod. Point-leader Andrew Hines, a five-time world champ for Harley-Davidson, is fourth following his pass of 6.899 at 195.05.

FOX Sports 1 will air one hour of “Sunday Nitro” qualifying coverage at noon (EDT), followed by three hours of finals racing beginning at 2 p.m.

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Friday’s provisional qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway, 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations:

Top Fuel _ 1. Antron Brown, 3.789-seconds, 325.45 mph; 2. Clay Millican, 3.790, 323.04; 3. Mike Salinas, 3.797, 322.19; 4. Billy Torrence, 3.823, 326.48; 5. Scott Palmer, 3.834, 318.17; 6. Leah Pritchett, 3.841, 324.83; 7. Terry McMillen, 3.846, 319.60; 8. Tony Schumacher, 3.946, 308.92; 9. Doug Kalitta, 3.947, 257.43; 10. Chris Karamesines, 4.003, 305.01; 11. Brittany Force, 4.187, 210.44; 12. Steve Torrence, 4.445, 180.91; 13. Richie Crampton, 5.024, 141.59; 14. Luigi Novelli, 5.234, 140.63; 15. Terry Totten, 12.286, 72.31. 

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.971, 326.95; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.990, 324.51; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.996, 316.67; 4. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.014, 313.15; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.017, 317.42; 6. Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 4.024, 318.39; 7. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.026, 318.09; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.039, 311.99; 9. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.067, 314.75; 10. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.070, 316.67; 11. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.081, 314.53; 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.081, 305.84; 13. John Force, Camaro, 4.082, 321.42; 14. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.097, 313.15; 15. Bob Bode, Charger, 4.113, 307.72; 16. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.495, 214.93.

Not Qualified _ 17. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.529, 175.87; 18. Gary Densham, 5.222, 157.91.

Pro Stock _ 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.609, 207.53; 2. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.613, 208.33; 3. Alex Laughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.613, 207.59; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.614, 208.78; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.622, 207.88; 6. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.623, 208.23; 7. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.624, 208.71; 8. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.626, 208.52; 9. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.632, 208.01; 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.640, 207.72; 11. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.648, 207.08; 12. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.659, 207.53; 13. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.683, 207.08; 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.771, 203.80; 15. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.854, 200.59; 16. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 7.002, 197.33. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.852, 198.47; 2. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.877, 197.22; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.886, 195.45; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.899, 195.76; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.909, 193.07; 6. Mark Paquette, Buell, 6.917, 193.32; 7. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.924, 193.27; 8. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.960, 192.58; 9. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.965, 193.90; 10. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.969, 193.16; 11. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.979, 191.00; 12. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.985, 192.03; 13. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.985, 191.76; 14. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.997, 191.21; 15. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.002, 191.19; 16. Angie Smith, Buell, 7.033, 189.87.

Not Qualified _ 17. Kelly Clontz, 7.072, 190.35; 18. Cory Reed, 7.146, 185.36. 

 

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, August 18 2018
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