Story By: SCOTT SMITH / NHRA – CHANDLER, AZ – Three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown led the pack at the NHRA Nitro Spring Training on Thursday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park located outside of Phoenix.
The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series begins at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com on Feb. 8-11 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and the test session is key for early season success.
Brown piloted his Matco Dragster to a pass of 3.714 seconds at 328.46 mph to send him to the top of leader board. He was followed by teammate Tony Schumacher in his U.S. Army dragster with his pass of 3.717 at 330.15. Brown won four events in 2017 and is looking wins during the coming season.
“We are getting seasoned in with our two new guys on our team and with crew chiefs Mark (Oswald) and Brad (Mason) at the helm,” Brown said. “It just feels good to be back in the swing of things. We are getting back and getting better and we will see what tomorrow brings, but right now I like the direction we are going.”
Steve Torrence finished second in the 2017 points and is hungry for a different outcome for the 2018 season. During the course of the busy day, he took laps in his Capco Contractor / Torrence Racing dragster and a dragster drive by his father Billy who races at select events.
“We had a really good car the whole time last year but struggled after the wreck at Dallas,” Torrence stated. “We were able to spend the off season getting things addressed and go over everything with a fine-tooth comb. We’re coming here to try a couple of things but won’t deviate too much from our tune-up.”
Matt Hagan leads the Funny Car class with a pass of 3.879 at 330.72 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T. After finishing the 2017 season fifth in points, the two-time Funny Car world champion is looking to kick-off the 2018 season strong. Current Funny Car world champion Robert Hight is right behind Hagan with a run of 3.880 at 324.05 in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car.
In Pro Stock, Erica Enders drove her Melling Performance / Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to a 6.555 run at 210.28 and teammate Alex Laughlin tested his Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet Camaro to a pass of 6.580 at 209.10.
Testing will resume Friday morning at 8 a.m. at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.