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Brown excites hometown Summernationals fans with top spot; Capps, NAPA lead DSR Dodge Funny Cars with Friday’s third best run

The first day of summer won’t officially arrive for 12 days, but temperatures in the 80s under sunny skies this weekend are providing an early start for the appropriately named NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at Englishtown, N.J.

The 48th annual national event at the legendary track located about 45 miles south of New York City is where three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown started to race, and his fans and family attending from his nearby hometown of Chesterfield were able to celebrate Friday when the Matco Tools team set a track record time to earn the provisional pole with two more qualifying sessions remaining on Saturday.

Brown, crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason recorded a time of 3.713 seconds at 329.42 mph that eclipsed the mark they set a year ago of 3.725 for Don Schumacher Racing. 

“Hats off to Brian, Mark, Brad and all these Matco Tools/U.S. Army boys,” said Brown, who could earn his fifth pole at the track that includes the first two in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

“It feels so good just to put it on the track and do that here in my hometown in front of all our friends and fans. In any town, that would be a great run, but here where it all began, it’s that much more special. Let’s see if we can make it hold up and start in a great position on Sunday.

“First lap, we went down the track and it was a lot better than we thought it was,” he said of his opening run in 3.790 that ranked fourth in the session. “That second lap, we went back and the boys tuned it up a little bit and they made some adjustments on the clutch.

“We wanted to come out here and get a good lap in because we know tomorrow is going to be hotter and then Sunday’s going to get even hotter.”

 Following Brown are teammates Tony Schumacher (U.S. Army) in fifth and current points leader Leah Pritchett (Dodge Demon/Pennzoil) in ninth.

 In Funny Car, reigning world champion and points leader Ron Capps with crew chief Rahn Tobler and the NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T Powered by Pennzoil team were the quickest in the first session with a time of 3.895 and followed that with a 3.883 on the last run to hold the provisional No. 3 spot.

 The NAPA team was the only Funny Car with both runs in the 3.8-second range.

“We would always like to be No. 1 after Friday qualifying but it’s hard to do better than two 3.80s under the sun on a hot track,” said Capps, whose four-event,17-round winning streak ended a week ago in the New England Nationals.

 Capps earned four of a possible six qualifying points Friday and extended his lead to 85 over teammate Matt Hagan, who won the New England Nationals title, and the Mopar Express Lane Dodge that is seeded ninth.

DSR’s Jack Beckman (Terry Chandler’s Infinite Hero Dodge) briefly held the track record speed record at 328.30 and his time of 3.907 ranks fourth heading to Saturday. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge) is seventh with a best time of 3.945 (326.71)

 

DSR TOP FUEL DRAGSTERS                                                                                                             

Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.713 sec.-track record, 329.42 mph

 

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster                                       

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Provisional qualifying position: No. 1

FRIDAY: 3.709 sec., 324.67 mph, (Session 1); 3.713, 329.42, (Session 2)

Best time, speed: 3.667 (2017, Phoenix); 333.16 mph (2017, Topeka)

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 2, lost in second round to Tony Schumacher

Career at Englishtown: Wins 3 (TF-2015/PSM-2002, 2005), Runner-ups 2 (2009, 2010),

Poles 4 (TF-2008, 2015/PSM-2001, 2005)

 

TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster                                                       

QAUALIFYING RESULTS

Provisional qualifying position: No. 5

FRIDAY: 5.770 sec., 116.44 mph, (Session 1); 3.763, 323.19, (Session 2)

Best Time, Speed: 3.660 sec. (2017, Topeka); 332.51 mph (2016, Brainerd)

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 10, lost in championship round to Steve Torrence

Career at Englishtown: Wins 1 (2008), Runner-ups 1 (2016), Poles 2 (2007, 2009)

 

LEAH PRITCHETT, Dodge Demon/Pennzoil/Mopar Top Fuel dragster                        

QUALIFYING

Provisional qualifying position: No. 9

FRIDAY: 3.785 sec., 321.42 mph, (Session 1); 4.953, 139.83, (Session 2)

Best Time, Speed: 3.658 sec.-world record (2017, Phoenix); 330.23 mph (2017, Topeka)

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 12, lost in first round to Doug Kalitta

Career at Englishtown: Wins 0, Runner-ups 0, Poles 0

 

DSR FUNNY CARS                                                                                                                           

Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing), 3.862 sec.-track record, 331.12 mph

 

RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T                            

QUALIFYING RESULTS 

Provisional qualifying position: No. 3

FRIDAY: 3.895 sec., 323.04 mph, (Session 1); 3.883, 329.67, (Session 2)

Best Time, Speed: 3.839 sec. (2017, Phoenix); 333.58 mph (2017, Phoenix)

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 1, won in championship round over Jack Beckman

Career at Englishtown: Wins 2 (2006, 2016), Runner-ups 3 (2003, 2005, 2012), Poles 2 (2012, 2016)

 

JACK BECKMAN, Terry Chandler’s Infinite Hero Foundation 2017 Dodge Charger R/T        

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Provisional qualifying position: No. 4

FRIDAY: 3.895 sec., 323.04 mph, (Session 1); 3.907, 328.30, (Session 2)

Best Time, Speed: 3.825 sec., (2016 Pomona 2); 334.15 mph (Seattle 2016)

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 10, lost in championship round to Ron Capps

Career at Englishtown: Wins 0, Runner-ups 2 (2013, 2016), Poles 0

 

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger                 

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Provisional qualifying position: No. 7

FRIDAY: 4.312 sec., 217.60 mph, (Session 1); 3.945, 326.71, (Session 2)

Best Time, Speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 330.80 mph (Seattle, 2016)

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 5, lost in second round to Del Worsham

Career at Englishtown: Wins 1 (2007), Runner-ups 0, Poles 1 (2007)

 

MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane 2017 Dodge Charger R/T                        

QUALIFYING RESULTS 

Provisional qualifying position: No. 9

FRIDAY: 3.957 sec., 324.44 mph, (Session 1); 4.661, 174.71, (Session 2)

Best Time, Speed: 3.802 sec. (world record, (2017,Topeka); 338.85 mph (world record, 2017, Topeka)

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 2, lost in second round to Jack Beckman

Career at Englishtown: Wins 2 (2013, 2015), Runner-ups 0, Poles 1 (2013)