CLERMONT, Ind. (AP) — Defending Top Fuel season champion Antron Brown took the No. 1 spot in NHRA qualifying Sunday in the U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Brown, 16th before the final session, powered his 8,000-horsepower dragster to a 3.811-second run at 320.58 mph for his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 34th overall. He will face Morgan Lucas in the first round of eliminations Monday.
“It was a struggle for everybody on our team and we really had nothing to lose going into that run,” Brown said. “We weren’t scared, we got after it and we stepped up to the plate. This class has some big-name players and you can’t be afraid to go after things. We had been tip-toeing it and you can’t do that.”
Matt Hagan topped the Funny Car field, Mike Edwards was fastest in Pro Stock, and Hector Arana led the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. Hagan and Edwards lead the season standings.
Hagan stayed atop the Funny Car lineup with his track-record run of 4.007 at 319.22 from Friday.
Edwards jumped to the No. 1 qualifying position Saturday with a 6.621 at 208.20. He has 13th No. 1 qualifiers this season and 54 overall. Arana had a 6.938 at 193.88 on his Buell.
Also Sunday, there were two specialty eight-car shootout races in Top Fuel and Funny Car that awarded the winners $100,000. Defending Funny Car champion Jack Beckman won an explosive final round against Cruz Pedregon, going 4.086 at 310.77. An engine explosion launched the body off Beckman’s car at the finish line, though he was uninjured. Points leader Shawn Langdon won the Top Fuel portion, knocking off Steve Torrence with a 3.821 at 320.85 in the final round.