Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals
Brown wins in third straight final round
After racing to the No. 9 qualifying position on Saturday afternoon with a pass of 4.635 seconds, Brown defeated No. 8 qualifier David Grubnic, No. 1 qualifier Cory McClenathan, local favorite Bob Vandergriff, Jr., and Tony Schumacher to win for the second time in three races.
After morning rain showers, Brown and Grubnic were the first pair of drivers to face the Atlanta Dragway quarter mile. The drivers used nearly identical reaction times and Brown raced his Lee Beard-tuned Matco Tools/iLocate dragster to the narrow win with a pass of 4.580 seconds at 319.29. Brown edged Grubnic’s bright yellow dragster at the finish line after it posted a pass of 4.597 at 321.81. Brown and Schumacher remain the only two Top Fuel drivers to have not lost in the opening round this season.
Brown, who won two Pro Stock Motorcycle events at Atlanta Dragway, earned his first holeshot victory as a Top Fuel driver when the Matco Tools racer edged McClenathan’s FRAM dragster at the finish line in round two. Brown posted a .023 of-a-second reaction time and drove the Matco-backed rail to a run of 4.591 at 325.61 to knock off McClenathan’s times of 4.562 at 320.89. Brown is now 2-2 versus the 30-time Top Fuel winner this season.
In the semifinals, Brown raced to the wire-to-wire victory over Vandergriff to advance to his 36th career final round. Brown used Beard horsepower to blister the Atlanta Dragway strip en route to his third straight Top Fuel final round. The Matco Tools/Go Fast dragster clocked a run of 4.555 at 330.47 to hold off Vandergriff. He recorded a pass of 4.642-seconds in his UPS rail. Brown’s speed was top speed of the meet.
Competing in his third consecutive final round, Brown used a starting line advantage to score the wire-to-wire holeshot victory over the 43-time NHRA winner. Brown raced the Matco/Valvoline dragster to a pass of 4.537 at 325.15 to edge Schumacher’s quicker but losing 4.521 at 329.58. It marked the sixth time in his career that Brown has advanced to three straight final rounds.
“This is just incredible,” Brown said. “We had a malfunction on Friday night and didn’t qualify as well as we hoped, but we know we’re comfortable on race day. We just take it one round at a time and try to get down the track. Our Matco guys just work so well together; I’m just tickled to be part of this organization and drive this fast race car.
“We had a problem with the brakes today and it kept rolling, but I didn’t let it disturb me. I had good reaction times, but that affected the E.T. When you race Tony (Schumacher) you have to give it all you got. Those guys are five time champs. I didn’t see Tony, but I heard their car. When I saw the win light come on, it felt fantastic.”
The win was Beard's fourth career victory at Atlanta Dragway. Brown become the 10th different driver that Beard crew chiefed to a victory after his win at
"We're working hard, we have a great driver, a very dedicated crew, and our motto is effort equals results," Beard said. "That showed today."
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