Brown Sets Early Las Vegas Pace

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Antron Brown grabbed the No. 1 spot in Top Fuel qualifying Friday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (NHRA Photo)
Antron Brown grabbed the No. 1 spot in Top Fuel qualifying Friday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (NHRA Photo)

LAS VEGAS – Antron Brown raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

Brown powered his Matco Tools dragster to a leading performance of 3.780 seconds at 320.43 mph as he continues his successful comeback following a harrowing season-opening crash in February at the NHRA Winternationals at Pomona, Calif. Brown, the defending Top Fuel world champion, won the most recent NHRA event in Gainesville, Fla. in mid-March to move into the series points lead.

“We’ve ran well here in the past so we just wanted to go for it,” Brown said. “These Matco Tools guys in the pits really stuck it to the coals. At the last couple of races when you keep on getting picked by Doug Kalitta and then we had Tony (Schumacher) and (Shawn) Langdon right behind us, so you just have to step it up. So we picked up three (points) tonight. We love this place so much and we just want to win here again.”

If Brown’s performance holds through Saturday’s two qualifying sessions (12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.), it will be his first No. 1 of the season and 33rd of his career. Sunday’s eliminations start at 11 a.m.