Driving the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, Antron Brown secured his first pole of the season during final qualifying for Sunday’s Dollar General NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
“Failure is never an option with our Army Strong Soldiers and it’s no different with us,” Brown said. “We always want to be number one whenever possible. Now, we have to focus on race day because that’s when it counts the most. We want to go rounds and grab a bunch of points. We also want to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship as soon as possible so we can take the pressure off a bit.”
Brown’s Friday pass of 3.797 seconds at 324.98 mph was never challenged on a hot, sunny day. As a result, the New Jersey native banked his 30th career pole and his third in four years at Heartland Park.
“We seem to do well here for some reason,” Brown said. “Of course, that’s always been in qualifying. I haven’t gotten a win here as yet, so maybe we can change that tomorrow.”
Brown’s first round opponent will be 16th-place qualifier Cory McClenathan, who at one time was a Top Fuel teammate at Don Schumacher Racing.
“Cory is a terrific driver,” Brown said “He’s a good friend, but we’ll be up at the starting line looking to take each other out. We can be friends again after the race.”
Schumacher, in his familiar U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, held on to the fifth starting position for the eighth round of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
The Chicago-area resident will square off with 12th-place qualifier Clay Millican in the opening round of final eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. CDT.
“It’s time to take care of business,” Schumacher offered. “We need to get rid of this (30-race) winless streak. We’re all tired of being the proverbial bridesmaid. We’re going after a trophy tomorrow.”
Despite not getting to victory lane so far this season, Schumacher came into the Kansas event sitting atop the Top Fuel standings. He’s 0-4 in finals to date with the most recent close call coming at Atlanta Dragway two weeks ago.
“I’m glad we’re leading the points and, of course, that’s where we want to be at the end of the season,” Schumacher said. “But, we are incredibly hungry for wins. Again, maybe, this weekend is our time for the spotlight. I’m certainly ready for that to happen.”
ESPN2 will provide three hours of tape-delayed coverage of the 24th annual Dollar General NHRA Summer Nationals beginning at 7 p.m. EDT.
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