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Antron Brown powered his dragster to the Top Fuel qualifying lead Friday evening at the 48th annual NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Courtney Force (Funny Car), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional qualifying leaders at the tenth of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Brown set the track elapsed time record with a 3.713-second run at 329.42 mph in his Matco Tools dragster during the second qualifying session, narrowly missing the track speed record of 329.91. He has yet to have a No. 1 qualifier this season, despite his two victories in 2017.
“The track was a lot better than everyone thought it would be, and we just wanted to come out here and get a good lap in before it gets hotter tomorrow,” Brown said. “Tomorrow we want to be the best in every round we can, especially being at a track like this that has created so many memories for me.”
Steve Torrence landed in the No. 2 spot of the Top Fuel qualifying with a pass of 3.725 at 326.40 mph in his Capco Contractors car as he aims for his second No. 1 qualifier of the season. Doug Kalitta qualified third with a run of 3.733 at 329.75 in his Mac Tools dragster.
Force leads the Funny Car category with an elapsed time track record run of 3.862 at 331.12 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro during her second session of the day. She currently has four No. 1 qualifiers on the year, with all four coming in succession between the Las Vegas and Atlanta events.
“Going to the top spot is always great, especially since we’re running a spare car,” Force said. “It’s going to be tough to run the same qualifying numbers because of the hotter temperatures, but it will be important to make sure our car can make two solid runs so we make the most of those qualifying sessions.”
Teammate Robert Hight had the second-quickest pass of the day with a 3.880 at a track speed record 332.43 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro, one week after earning his first No. 1 qualifier of the season in Epping. Defending Funny Car World Champion and current points leader Ron Capps qualified third with a 3.883 at 329.67 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger.
Butner holds the Pro Stock top spot after driving to a 6.551 at 211.59 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro during the second session. He is looking for his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and first since the Topeka event.
“Today is a great day for us since we ran low times twice, and we are happy with the outcome and ready to get out there again tomorrow,” Butner said. “We hope our position holds up but I know we can improve upon our times tomorrow.”
Rookie Tanner Gray earned the No. 2 spot with a 6.555 pass at 211.59 in his Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro as he chases his second-consecutive top qualifying position.
LE Tonglet finished atop the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying order with a 6.800 at 195.62 in his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki during his second pass of the day. Tonglet is aiming for his fourth career No. 1 qualifier and his first of the season.
“The success comes from my racing team, and to be able to be a part of a championship race team means a lot to me,” Tonglet said. “It’s been awhile since we have qualified No. 1 so we are going to do whatever we can to make sure we stay in that spot tomorrow.”
The Arana family rounded out the top-three of the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, with Hector Arana Jr. coming in second with a 6.810 at 196.36, while his father Hector Arana had a 6.823 at 196.67 to qualify third.
Qualifying at the NHRA Summernationals continues at 1:45 and 4:15 p.m. on Saturday at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.