NHRA: Brown (TF), Pedregon (FC), Anderson (PS), Ellis (PSM) all No. 1 at Englishtown

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When you’re hot, you’re hot – and Antron Brown has been burning of late.

The 2012 Top Fuel champion earned his third consecutive No. 1 qualifying position for Sunday’s final eliminations of the Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

A native of nearby Chesterfield, N.J., Brown earned the top spot with a run of 3.725 seconds at 317.57 mph. The current Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points leader is the first driver to earn three consecutive No. 1 qualifying positions since Shawn Langdon did so in 2012.

Not only is it Brown’s 40th career No. 1, it sets up a potential monumental day for him on Sunday. If he wins the event, it would be Brown’s 50th career triumph in the NHRA ranks.

“We’re very excited, especially being back here at the Toyota NHRA Summernationals here in Englishtown,” Brown said in a NHRA media release. “It feels good to be back in front of all of our family and all of our friends and right now our car has been running exceptionally well.

“We’re getting the bugs worked out of it and we’re still growing with our combinations. We’re looking forward to tomorrow and we’re ready to get after it.”

J.R. Todd was the No. 2 qualifier (3.727 seconds, 319.52 mph), while Tony Schumacher will start No. 3 (3.736, 323.66).

In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon jumped to the top of the charts, earning his 60th No. 1 spot and sixth in his career at Raceway Park with a run of 3.967 seconds at 306.53 mph.

The two-time champ is also seeking to repeat last year’s win at Englishtown.

“It never ceases to amaze me how much you have to change the set-up of the car when the sun’s out on the track and there’s not as much grip,” Pedregon said. “It’s a double-edged sword to have a car that runs a 3.96. It takes a lot to do that and on the other hand, it takes a lot to slow it down. We have to find it tomorrow because tomorrow is the real deal.”

Chad Head is the No. 2 qualifier (3.996 seconds at 308.78 mph), while last year’s Englishtown runner-up, Del Worsham, qualified No. 3 (3.998, 314.53).

In Pro Stock, veteran driver Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) somewhat went back in time, earned his 76th career No. 1 qualifying spot – but his first since August 2010 (Seattle) – with a run of 6.479 seconds at 214.76 mph.

Anderson is looking to extend his Englishtown track record of five wins to six in Sunday’s eliminations. If victorious, it would be his second win this season.

“I’m just thrilled,” Anderson said. “It’s been four years since I’ve had a No. 1 qualifying spot. My car just keeps getting better every race we go to.”

Drew Skillman is the No. 2 qualifier (6.486 seconds at 214.38 mph), while defending champion and points leader Erica Enders (6.500 seconds at 213.60 mph) will start Sunday No. 3.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Chip Ellis (6.801 seconds, 197.16 mph) will start eliminations from the No. 1 spot for the 14th time in his career – and his first No. 1 since 2008 (Memphis).

“From the very first run I made on the bike I knew it had a lot of horsepower,” Ellis said. “The competition is so tough out here, if you look at what you have to run to even qualify this weekend, it’s crazy. It’s tough.

“We were just keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that PiranaZ bike pulled us through and it did. So we’re ecstatic.”

Jerry Savoie qualified No. 2 (6.804 seconds, 197.13 mph), while Hector Arana Sr., who won two weeks ago at Atlanta, qualified No. 4.

SUNDAY’S FIRST-ROUND PAIRINGS:

Top Fuel: 1. Antron Brown, 3.725 seconds, 319.52 mph  vs. 16. Jenna Haddock, 4.200, 307.02; 2. J.R. Todd, 3.727, 324.05  vs. 15. Terry McMillen, 3.956, 311.49; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.736, 323.66 vs. 14. Morgan Lucas, 3.857, 303.30; 4. Leah Pritchett, 3.736, 321.04  vs. 13. Dave Connolly, 3.813, 313.80; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.737, 324.12  vs. 12. Larry Dixon, 3.805, 313.07; 6. Brittany Force, 3.747, 322.50  vs. 11. Richie Crampton, 3.784, 320.89; 7. Spencer Massey, 3.751, 321.88  vs. 10. Clay Millican, 3.769, 320.36; 8. Steve Torrence, 3.765, 318.92  vs. 9. Doug Kalitta, 3.766, 322.73.

Funny Car: 1. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.967, 309.98  vs. 16. John Hale, Dodge Charger, 5.556, 303.09; 2. Chad Head, Camry, 3.996, 308.78  vs. 15. Dom Lagana, Toyota Solara, 5.049, 263.62; 3. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.998, 314.53  vs. 14. Jeff Diehl, Solara, 4.321, 266.85; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.999, 315.05  vs. 13. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.086, 305.49; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.003, 315.27  vs. 12. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.081, 307.37; 6. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.003, 310.63  vs. 11. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.070, 312.13; 7. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.004, 313.73  vs. 10. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.046, 302.75; 8. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.005, 305.84  vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.015, 313.58.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 10.104, 119.32.

Pro Stock: 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.479, 214.76  vs. 16. Val Smeland, Chevy Cobalt, 6.744, 206.39; 2. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.486, 214.38  vs. 15. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, 6.642, 209.79; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.500, 213.60  vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Avenger, 6.615, 210.50; 4. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.502, 213.91  vs. 13. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.566, 211.10; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.504, 214.04  vs. 12. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.554, 212.76; 6. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.512, 214.14  vs. 11. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.534, 212.69; 7. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.521, 213.23  vs. 10. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.525, 212.83; 8. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.521, 212.23 vs. 9. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.524, 213.27.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Randy Peters, 6.821, 201.52.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.801, 197.16  vs. 16. Angie Smith, Victory, 6.946, 189.47; 2. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.804, 197.13  vs. 15. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 6.930, 194.83; 3. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.815, 199.35  vs. 14. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.908, 195.45; 4. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.820, 196.36  vs. 13. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.906, 193.60; 5. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.835, 198.41  vs. 12. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.891, 195.62; 6. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.846, 199.37  vs. 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.877, 196.44; 7. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.856, 194.07  vs. 10. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.871, 195.00; 8. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.862, 197.05  vs. 9. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.864, 193.63.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Chaz Kennedy, 7.013, 188.81; 18. Lance Bonham, 7.611, 180.91.

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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III