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Keeping Pace

Brown grabs provisional No. 1 qualifying position

Antron Brown, a five-time winner this season, has earned the pole at the last two NHRA events (Reading, Pa. and Indianapolis) and has a category-best seven poles this season.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Charlotte, N.C.-Antron Brown entered the first race in the six-race playoff Countdown to 1 atop the standings and he opened the first day of the Countdown to 1 atop the leaderboard. The 23-time NHRA winner paced the Top Fuel field Friday evening at zMax Dragway at Concord to earn the provisional No. 1 qualifying position at the second annual Carolinas NHRA Nationals.

Brown, a five-time winner this season, has earned the pole at the last two NHRA events (Reading, Pa. and Indianapolis) and has a category-best seven poles this season. The seven-time Top Fuel winner opened the day with the second quickest Top Fuel pass after powering his Matco Tools/Toyota car to a run of 3.860 seconds at 316.97. Only Doug Herbert was quicker at 3.852-seconds.

On Friday’s second qualifying lap, Brown and Herbert were the last two cars to speed down the zMax Dragway all-concrete strip. Brown used a tune-up from Corradi and Oswald to power the Mike Ashley-owned Matco Tools/SpongeTech rail to the quickest run of the day. The former college track star blasted the Matco-backed car to a performance of 3.847 at 317.87 to lead the field into the final day of qualifying for the first race in the Countdown to 1. Brown, the fastest driver in 1,000-foot racing, carded the fastest run of each session on Friday.

“With the new point’s structure, our goal is to run consistent and fast,” Brown said. “That was a good run. Actually, we made two runs and got five bonus points. That’s really important in the Countdown (to 1). This new point’s structure is mind boggling for the crew chiefs because you need to get down the track on each run, but you have to try and be in the top three. It’s very tricky.

“On the first pass, I had a bit of a brain fade. I’ve been beating myself up a lot lately. We went that 3.86 and I was back to my old self on the night run and we made a nice, solid run with that 3.84. This new point’s deal can really have an affect on who wins or loses this championship. You can earn 12 extra points if your low (elapsed time) of each session. That’s a big deal, and as tough as this Top Fuel class is, we need all the points we can get.”

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Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.

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