Brown Tops The Charts In New England

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Matco Tools has signed a multi-year contract extension to continue as sponsor of Antron Brown in the NHRA Top Fuel division until 2017. (Harry Cella Photo)
Antron Brown led the way in the NHRA Top Fuel division Saturday at New England Dragway. (Harry Cella Photo)
Antron Brown led the way in the NHRA Top Fuel division Saturday at New England Dragway. (Harry Cella Photo)

EPPING, N.H. – Antron Brown will lead the Top Fuel category from the No. 1 qualifying position in Sunday’s eliminations at the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals.

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also claimed No. 1 qualifying positions and will lead their respective classes into tomorrow’s 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

Brown claimed the top seed with his 3.770-second pass at 323.58 mph on Friday night which shattered the New England Dragway elapsed time record in Top Fuel. It is Brown’s second No. 1 of the season and 37th of his career.

“We got a lot of confidence for tomorrow,” said Brown, the 2012 world champ who will race for his fourth win of the season when he meets Todd Paton in the first round. “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.”

Points leader Doug Kalitta is the No. 2 qualifier with a run of 3.773 at 323.89 in his Mac Tools dragster. He will race Terry McMillen in the first round. Englishtown winner Richie Crampton had the quickest Saturday run in his GEICO dragster and qualified third, while Brittany Force qualified fourth in her Castrol Edge dragster. Crampton will race Dom Lagana in the opener, while Force will meet Clay Millican.

Hight sped to the first three-second Funny Car run in track history on Friday with a performance of 3.998 at 321.58 in his AAA Ford Mustang and it held through Saturday’s two qualifying sessions to give Hight his first No. 1 spot of the season.

“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.”