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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