Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Johnny Gray (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) lead NHRA Arizona Nationals qualifying following two rounds on Friday. Qualifying continues Saturday at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. MT at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona.
Brown’s fast pass of 3.765 seconds (314.83 mph) in a new dragster led Top Fuel qualifying. “I can’t say enough for my team,” said Brown. “They came out here with a brand new car, and it was planned that we made a half-lap on the first pass to make sure that everything was right. Then we came back (for the second run), and the car left good. But I had to remember, that when you go one-to-one at half-track [with the clutch lock-up], this track always makes your car sashay. And I just lifted a little bit early because I felt the car go from side to side.”
Brown returned to the track just five days after his crash at Pomona destroyed his first dragster. “I had X-rays to make sure that everything was okay with my spine, and I’m doing all right,” said Brown. “I have some bruises, but all my muscles are back to normal, my neck was never tight, and there weren’t any marks on my helmet.”
Tony Schumacher sits in second following a pass of 3.768 seconds (321.96 mph), while Doug Kalitta sits third after his pass of 3.769 seconds (325.92 mph – track record speed).
Gray currently leads Funny Car with a pass of 4.034 seconds (313.80 mph), followed by Matt Hagan (4.062 seconds/311.20 mph) and last weekend’s No. 1 qualifier and winner Courtney Force (4.064 seconds/315.71 mph – track record speed).
“(Crew chief) Rob [Wendland and (assistant crew chief) Rip (Reynolds) have really got a handle on this car,” said Gray. “In the first run it dropped a hole and (still) ran a 4.12 on seven cylinders, and so we knew that if it ran on all eight and stayed hooked up it might make a decent run. We’re happy with it.”
Last weekend’s No. 1 qualifier Edwards led the Pro Stock class with a track record time of 6.498 seconds (213.13 mph), with V. Gaines in second (6.529 seconds/212.63 mph) and last year’s Arizona Nationals champ Jason Line in third (6.535 seconds/212.56 mp).
“Hats off to Jerry Haas and all his guys back at their shop,” Edwards said. “They did an awesome job. This Camaro, it’s just fast. My guys have worked very hard all over the winter, but the other teams have too. It’s just a great all-around effort by our team.”
Follow the action this weekend at www.nhra.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
Check out Paula’s Examiner columns on motorsports:
Follow Paula on:
- Facebook – Paula Thompson Freelance and Examiner.com Motorsports
- Twitter - @paulat14
- Website – paulathompsonfreelance.com
- Flickr – Paula Thompson Freelance
Contact Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org