BROWN LEADS TOYOTA IN NHRA GATORNATIONALS QUALIFYING; JOHNSON WINS UNFINISHED BUSINESS
GAINESVILLE, FL –Antron Brown qualified fifth in Top Fuel to lead Toyota in front of a sell-out crowd Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
Brown jumped up to third on his first run on Saturday, earning one bonus point with a 3.726 run. He then followed up with a 3.728-second pass in round four to finish fifth. He’s now qualified in the top five in each of the season’s first three races.
“We struggled a little bit on Friday, but we had two good back-to-back runs today, although, we would have liked to have run a little better in the last run,” said Brown, a three-time Top Fuel world champion. “The track was really good today and it’s going to be good tomorrow. We’re just going to push hard and see what we can do. Our Matco Tools Toyota boys are doing a good job and I think we’re in a good position for Sunday.”
Brown will match-up with fellow Toyota driver Richie Crampton, who qualified 12th with a 3.777-second run. Doug Kalitta qualified 11th with a 3.760 and will face Terry McMillen on Sunday.
In Funny Car, Shawn Langdon qualified tenth, one spot ahead of his Kalitta Motorsports teammate J.R. Todd. Langdon will race Cruz Pedregon in the opening run on Sunday, while Todd faces Jack Beckman.
Warren Johnson won the title in the NHRA’s Unfinished Business that matched up eight legends of drag racing in identically-prepared Toyota Camry XSE’s, defeating Ed ‘the Ace’ McCulloch in the final.
“Toyota gave us some great cars and they ran even better than what I expected,” said Johnson, a nine-time Gatornationals Pro Stock winner. “This was strictly for the fans. We had a lot of fun. They were pretty equally developed cars and they ran pretty good.”
The two finalists swapped cars for one final run after the final with McCulloch getting the win.
“This was all about the fans,” said McCullough. “The crowd response was awesome. What NHRA did with Toyota and wrapping the cars and bringing them out here with all the drivers who participated, it was all about fun. It was good, but it was really competitive and we all wanted to win. Congratulations to Warren and let’s do it again. All I can say is I got in his black car and smoked him (laughing). Thank you NHRA, thank you Toyota and all the guys involved. The real winners were the fans.”
Sunday’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series eliminations show will be televised on FS1 beginning at 7:30 p.m. (EDT).