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Career-Best E.T. in Qualifying Highlights Antron Brown’s NHRA Carolina Nationals Weekend

Though Antron Brown didn’t go back-to-back at the betway NHRA Carolina Nationals, the four-time event champion did celebrate multiple career milestones at the second of six races in the Countdown to the Championship. Racing in his 500th professional event, Brown set a new career-best E.T. in his Matco Tools ‘Test Drive’ Top Fuel dragster before bowing out in the second round of eliminations Sunday at zMAX Dragway.
 
Brown was the provisional No. 5 qualifier after Friday’s lone qualifying session, where he recorded a 3.703-second pass at 332.10 MPH. Dropped cylinders in the second session on Saturday forced Brown to let out early. His career-best 3.655 E.T. in the final session was the second-quickest pass of the session, giving Brown two bonus points. The pass also moved Brown up to the No. 2 spot, setting up a first-round match with Spencer Massey.
 
With the confidence boost from a career-best performance in the final session, Brown kept the momentum going in the first round of eliminations when he posted a 3.686 E.T. at a huge 337.24 MPH to defeat Massey and his 3.745-second effort. That was the quickest pass of the round, giving Brown lane choice in his second-round pairing with fellow championship contender Leah Pruett. Brown grabbed a starting-line advantage over Pruett before losing traction and coasting through the finish line behind Pruett.
 
“All in all, it was a good weekend,” Brown said. “We made some huge leaps and gains in every department, especially in the performance department. The track just bit us in the second round. It got a little tricky. We backed it down and backed it down, and it was still trying to haul the mail.”
 
The second-round race with Pruett had major points implications, as Pruett passed Brown in the Countdown standings. The second-year team owner dropped to fifth with four races left to claim points towards a fourth world championship and the first for AB Motorsports.
 
“The good part is, we’re going to St. Louis, where it’s going to be a little hot and warm,” Brown said. “We’ve just got to keep our eyes on the prize. We’re still in the hunt. This race is over, so we’ve got to keep our eyes forward, and keep ourselves motivated and keep pushing forward.”
 
Brown and crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald will take what they’ve learned at Charlotte and move on to the NHRA Midwest Nationals, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill.

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