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2014 NHRA New England Nationals qualifying: Track records fall at Epping

Antron Brown set a new track e.t. at New England Dragway Friday night
Antron Brown set a new track e.t. at New England Dragway Friday night
NHRA Media

Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all reset the track records for elapsed time at New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire, site of this weekend’s Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals.

Brown set the pace in Top Fuel with his Friday night track-record run of 3.770 seconds at 323.58 mph. He faces Todd Paton in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. Doug Kalitta qualified No. 2 with a 3.773-second pass at 323.89 mph, followed by Richie Crampton, Brittany Force and JR Todd.

“We got a lot of confidence for tomorrow,” said Brown. “It’s going to be a good race. Everybody is running so close. Everyone has their work cut out for them. We have to definitely be on our A game and attack each round.”

Hight led Funny Car qualifying with his Friday night record e.t. performance of 3.998 seconds at 321.58 mph – his first No. 1 qualifier of the season. Hight faces Mike Smith in the first round Sunday. Cruz Pedregon, Courtney Force, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Alexis DeJoria round out the top five.

“Tomorrow’s a new day, and [crew chief] Mike Neff’s the best,” Hight said. “He’ll race it one round at a time. He’s not going to go up there first round and try to set low E.T. of the round. We’re going to look at each opponent and race smart. That’s why we’ve won a lot of rounds this year.”

Gray earned his second straight No. 1 in Pro Stock with a track record 6.485-second pass at 212.79 mph, and faces Val Smeland in the first round. Erica Enders-Stevens qualified No. 2 at 6.489 seconds (213.98 mph), with Dave Connolly, Shane Tucker and Jeg Coughlin Jr. rounding out the top five.

“We will see if we can get by first round,” said Gray. “There’s always a chance that you will, always a chance you won’t. It’s always 50/50 out there.”

Krawiec set a new track record on Saturday with a 6.794-second pass at 193.32 mph, bumping Hector Arana Jr. to No. 2; Krawiec meets Justin Finley in the first round. Matt Smith, Andrew Hines and Hector Arana round out the PSM top five.

"We went back and looked at all the data last night," said Krawiec. "When we came off the truck, both bikes were running well. We were struggling a bit though, in going down the track and making good runs. ...We had to make a couple changes to make some more power.”

Final eliminations for the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals get underway Sunday at 11 a.m. ET. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.

Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.

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