MADISON, Ill. (AP) - Top Fuel racer Antron Brown led a record-setting day of qualifying Friday in the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Brown and the rest of the NHRA teams took advantage of cool fall temperatures that led to track records in all four Full Throttle Series classes.
Brown powered his dragster to a track-record performance of 3.737 seconds at 326.79 mph to qualify in front of teammate and championship rival Spencer Massey. Brown and Massey entered the event tied at the top of the Top Fuel standings, but Brown holds a two-point lead by virtue of his better qualifying effort.
"This is the way you want to start," Brown said about his career-best elapsed time. "We made the third-quickest run in history on a track we haven't ran on in two years, which is a credit to the Gateway staff and the NHRA Safety Safari.
"When I stepped on the gas, the car picked up and took off with no hesitation. I felt instant wheel speed. It hunkered down after 60 feet and never stopped accelerating. I took a little peek up at the scoreboard and saw that 0.73. Underneath my helmet, I was like, `Yeah, boy!' I felt like Flavor Flav. We're just beside ourselves, and we're riding that wave."
Jack Beckman topped the Funny Car field, Jason Line had the Pro Stock lead, and Hector Arana Jr. was the fastest in Pro Stock Motorcycle at the third of six playoff races in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.
In Funny Car, Beckman had a track-record time of 4.049 at 308.85 in a Dodge Charger.
Line set both ends of the Pro Stock track record in moving to the top of the order with a performance of 6.514 at 212.76 in a Chevy Camaro. Arana Jr. had a track-record time of 6.826 at 195.19 on a Buell.