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CatSpot racer Scott Palmer being tested at every turn as regular season winds down

BRAINERD, MN – Drag racers always tend to enjoy the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, but this year’s event is proving to be a test of Scott Palmer’s mettle as the driver of the CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster tries to secure his place in the Countdown to One.

With just tomorrow’s eliminations rounds and one more national event in Indy over Labor Day weekend until the 10-car playoff fields are set, Palmer finds himself in a tight three-way fight for the last two spots with veteran Richie Crampton and upstart Mike Salinas. As it stands, Crampton is in ninth place, just 10 points ahead of Palmer, who in turn is 28 markers in front of 11th-ranked Salinas.

“We’re going to have to earn a spot, for sure, because no one is giving an inch,” Palmer said. “We got Leah and everyone knows that car is usually at the top of the sheets. Salinas is running an (Alan Johnson) combination now and that guy has won more championships than anyone else. Richie is with Kalitta Motorsports.

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ROBERT HIGHT POWERS AUTO CLUB TO SECOND NO. 1 OF THE SEASON

BRAINERD, MN — Robert Hight and the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team raced to the No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Funny Car teammates, Courtney Force and John Force, are No. 10 and 13, respectively, and, in Top Fuel, Brittany Force jumped to the No. 6 position.

Hight, who now has two No. 1 qualifiers this season, his first in Houston, was quickest three of the four sessions earning 11 valuable bonus points. He came out of the trailer to run a 3.971-second pass at 326.95 mph that earned him the provisional No. 1 on Friday and then a 3.989-second pass at 324.83 mph in the second session.

Saturday, Hight and the Auto Club team had a stellar 3.959-second pass at 324.67 mph to wrap up the third qualifying session during the warmest conditions of the weekend. They continued the theme of three-second runs with a 3.994 pass at 324.59 mph to close out the day and were second quickest of the session.

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DSR Brainerd Qualifying Report from the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd – by the Numbers

Brainerd, MN – DSR Brainerd Saturday Qualifying Highlights:

All three DSR dragsters qualify in the quick-half of the Top Fuel field
Ron Capps, Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr. will start from the top-half of the Funny Car field
Capps closed out the day by powering to the quickest pass of Funny Car Q4
Tony Schumacher and Tommy Johnson Jr. also made ‘top three’ runs on Saturday

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN

Driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 3 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 14 Luigi Novelli

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BROWN, LANGDON TOP TOYOTAS IN BRAINERD NHRA QUALIFYING

BRAINERD, MN – Antron Brown qualified third in Top Fuel, while Shawn Langdon was sixth in Funny Car to lead Toyota in preparation for Sunday’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

Brown, who won the most recent Top Fuel event in Seattle, led the field after Friday’s qualifying, but slipped to third overall – just .005 seconds off the pole. It marks his third straight top-five qualifying effort – two of those in the top three.

“It is no secret that we have been through our bumps and bruises this year, but we’re starting to peak at the right time,” said Brown, who will race Luigi Novell in the first round. “I couldn’t be more proud of our Matco Tools/Toyota boys. We came in looking to qualify in the top three and now we need to stay focused and go out tomorrow and do what we did in Seattle.”

After running a pair of 4.013-second passes in his Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry on Saturday, Langdon is a clear contender for his first Funny Car victory on Sunday. He placed third in the day’s first session and fourth in the final round of qualifying. In placing sixth overall, the 2013 Top Fuel world champion has now qualified in the top half of the field in six consecutive races. He will meet Bob Tasca in the opening round of eliminations.

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U.S. Army NHRA Racing NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Final Qualifying Report 

The U.S. Army driver trio of Antron Brown and Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and Leah Pritchett wound up third, seventh and eighth on the elimination ladder, respectively, after the final two rounds of qualifying Saturday for this weekend’s 37th annual NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway.

Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, a three-time Brainerd Nationals winner, three-time runner-up and six-time No. 1 qualifier, bettered his Friday provisional qualifying time with his opening run today, an effort of 3.818 seconds at 326.87 mph that was second-best for the session. It bumped him up temporarily to fifth on the ladder, but after his closing, late tire-smoking run of 4.225 seconds at 202.30 mph, he fell to No. 7. Schumacher will face No. 10 qualifier Terry McMillen in Sunday’s opening round of eliminations.

“I like this racetrack – to win this race, you have to be everybody and this is a good place to race,” said Schumacher, who’s Brainerd victories came in 2000, 2004 and 2008. “We were pushing it there a little bit that last run. When you see someone put up a big number ahead of you and go number one, you don’t want to be out there just being average.

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Racers Slone Jr. and Fallon Jr. Open Pro Hose Connections 

Racers Jackie Slone Jr. and David Fallon Jr. have partnered to open Pro Hose Connections in Belleville, Michigan.

Slone Jr., who races in NMCA Xtreme Pro Mod and works for General Motors, and David Fallon Jr., who races in Outlaw 632 and owns Fallon Construction, bring extensive experience to fabricating custom hose assembles for race cars, show cars, street rods, boats and most automotive and engine-driven applications.

Their focus is on dry sump oiling systems, fuel lines, coolant hoses, nitrous lines and brake hoses, and their business offers fuel pumps, water pumps, fuel filters, oil filters and more.

In-house pressure testing and tagging with a quick turnaround is available, and Slone Jr. and Fallon Jr. work with a variety of suppliers, including XRP, Inc., Fragola Performance Systems and Brown and Miller Racing Solutions (BMRS) to secure products as well as competitive pricing.

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ROBERT HIGHT NO. 1 AFTER FRIDAY QUALIFYING AT BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

BRAINERD, MN — Robert Hight leads John Force Racing as the preliminary No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway on Friday evening. Brittany Force is in the 11th spot in Top Fuel in her black and green Monster Energy dragster and John Force and Courtney Force are looking to improve from the No. 13 and No. 14 spots respectively in Funny Car.

Hight, who set the Funny Car national elapsed time record at 3.793-seconds at Brainerd last season, earned six bonus points throughout Friday qualifying. His 3.971-second pass at 326.95 mph from the first session landed him in the No. 1 spot for the night and his 3.989-second pass at 324.83 mph was the quickest of the second session.

“To be honest with you, that 3.97 first run, I was pretty happy. I honestly thought if we screwed up tonight, that would only be fifth. For some reason nobody stepped up tonight and we actually slowed down a hundredth,” explained Hight. “On that second run (crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) said it needed more power. Maybe the track was a little better than we anticipated and the changes we made, the track ate up. You have to stay ahead of the racetrack and obviously we didn’t.

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