Antron Brown drove to his first Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier in nearly six years and claimed first place at the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway.
Funny Car’s Chad Green also qualified #1 in the seventh of 21 races during the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. Saturday’s second qualifying session, as well as the finals of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, were canceled due to the weather. No points were awarded for the challenge and the bonus prize money was split among the participating participants.
With temperatures dropping nearly 40 degrees from Friday, Brown, a three-time world champion, made one of only two three-second runs during Saturday’s lone qualifying session with an impressive 3.729-second pass at 329.99 mph in his 11,000 horsepower Matco Tools /Toyota dragster. It is Brown’s 50th career No. 1 qualifier, but the first since 2017 in Seattle, where he also won the race.
Brown, who won in Las Vegas earlier this year, has impressed this weekend in mixed conditions, with a run in the 3.80s during the heat on Friday, followed by another strong run in significantly cooler conditions on Saturday.
“It feels really good today. What it did so well is how our team adapted so well to all the different conditions,” said Brown. “Today we were able to bounce back and be one of the few cars that I made it because the track got super tight. I’m super proud of my guys. It makes me feel good to see how we can adapt to so many different conditions.”
Clay Millican and Pruett advanced to the finals of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, with Millican taking the bulk of the bonus purse after the fastest winning run in the first round of the bonus race.
In Funny Car, Green held on to the No. 1 spot on a tricky day, with his run of 4,100 to Friday’s 310.98 in his Bond-Coat, Inc. 11,000 horsepower Ford Mustang. It gave Green his first career No. 1 qualifier as he continues to enjoy a strong season in the Funny Car ranks.
After a string of semi-final appearances this season and now his first career No. 1 qualifier, Green, currently sixth in points, will aim for his first Funny Car win on Sunday.
“It feels pretty good, it’s pretty unexpected,” Green said. “When I woke up this morning I never imagined our run yesterday would hold up for No. 1 today. I am very proud of my team, navigating the track for yesterday and being able to make that run to get us in this position Tomorrow will be another day like today We’ll put our heads together and see what we come up with.
“I haven’t had the number 1 qualifier in my mind so much as winning a race. There are some really tough teams here, it’s really hard to be number 1. I’m definitely happy and proud on my boys.”
Points leader and defending champion Matt Hagan remained second with his 4.123 on Friday’s 309.13 as he looks forward to his NHRA-best fifth career win at New England Dragway. Alex Laughlin, in his first year in Funny Car, moved up to third with a run of 4.190 at 289.63.
Ron Capps and Tim Wilkerson advanced to the finals of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, with Capps taking the bulk of the bonus purse after the fastest winning run in the first round of the bonus race.
Qualifying results/Links on Sunday
NHRA New England Nationals
Sunday’s first round of eliminations for the 10th Annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway, the seventh of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Links based on results in qualifying, which ended on Saturday. DNQs listed below are linked.
Top Fuel — 1. Antron Brown, 3.729 seconds, 329.99 mph vs. Bye; 2. Shawn Langdon, 3.738, 327.66 to 13. Tony Schumacher, 9.359, 57.60; 3. Leah Pruett, 3.856, 319.37 vs. 12. Doug Kalitta, 6.711, 109.59; 4. Josh Hart, 3.902, 317.27 vs. 11. Brittany Force, 4.907, 149.88; 5. Dan Mercier, 4.024, 278.69 vs. 10. Justin Ashley, 4.807, 155.61; 6. Mike Salinas, 4.067, 229.39 vs. 9. Clay Millican, 4.497, 174.91; 7. Austin Prock, 4.075, 239.27 to 8. Steve Torrence, 4.191, 212.73.
funny car — 1. Chad Green, Ford Mustang, 4,100, 310.98 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Chevy Monte Carlo, 13.419, 72.42; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.123, 309.13 vs. 13. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 12.865, 77.08; 3. Alex Laughlin, Charger, 4.190, 289.63 vs. 12. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 9.042, 86.15; 4. Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 4.483, 199.88 vs. 11. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 8.546, 79.50; 5.Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.624, 186.74 vs. 10. Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 6.816, 102.35; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.766, 170.88 vs. 9. John Force, Camaro, 6.623, 96.42; 7. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 5.403, 136.26 vs. 8. JR Todd, Supra, 6.374, 119.51.