JOLIET, Il. – There’s something about racing at night that seems to bring out the best in Top Fuel driver Antron Brown.
Brown, the current NHRA Top Fuel points leader, recorded an eye-popping – not to mention track record – run of 3.729 seconds in Friday’s second qualifying session at Route 66 Raceway.
As a result, Brown is the provisional pole sitter, going into Saturday’s final two qualifying sessions. The final eliminations of the Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals takes place Sunday starting at Noon ET.
“To be honest with you, I think the fans enjoy it more in the night time, and that’s what we are, in the entertainment business,” Brown said. “I think all the summer races, once it gets into June, I think all the night races should be night races all through the summer.”
Brown then broke into his noted sense of humor, adding, “This ain’t nothing but a big old, hip-hop rock concert out here. Nobody wants to see a concert in the day, they want to see it in the night time.”
He then broke into song, “You know what, the freaks all come out at night,” which cracked up the media corps, adding, “Don’t quote me on that, take that out.”
Track records were set in all four pro classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle) during Friday’s sessions, but Top Fuel was the only class that saw two track records set: Brown’s for elapsed time, while provisional No. 3 qualifier Dave Connolly recorded a new Route 66 speed mark of 328.78 mph (at 3.75 seconds)
Brown loves Route 66, and it has loved him back. Four of his 50 career NHRA wins (in Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle), have come at Route 66: two in Top Fuel — including last year’s race here — and two in PSM.
He wouldn’t be surprised to see his new track record broken Saturday.
“If the conditions are like they are now, people already have their power set up, their clutch set up. You’re going to see people be able to go quicker (Saturday) than today because they have more of a baseline. Everybody’s going to push it harder, especially the cars that are in the field deeper.”
Brittany Force is the No. 2 provisional qualifier (3.745 at 327.43), followed by Connolly, Steve Torrence (3.758 at 322.42), defending series champ Tony Schumacher (3.760 at 326.48).