LAS VEGAS (AP) Top Fuel points leader Antron Brown took the qualifying lead Friday night in the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Brown had a track-record time of 3.722 seconds at 326.95 mph. He entered the event - the fifth in the six-race Countdown - with a 132-point lead over Tony Schumacher in a bid for his second season title.
''We know what's on the line,'' Brown said. ''We know how good Tony's team is. Back in 2012 we had problems at this race and in the first round at Pomona and those guys cut down a 136 point lead and had a chance to win the championship in the final round at Pomona. We are trying to do everything possible to get this done and right now that Matco Tools dragster is running on a rail and we are going to ride that wave and take it as far as it will go.''
Brown swept the first three Countdown events and has six victories this season.
Tommy Johnson Jr. topped the Funny Car field, Erica Enders was the fastest in Pro Stock, and Jerry Savoie led in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Johnson had a track-record time of 3.931 at 320.43 in a Dodge Charger. He entered the event in third place in points behind series leader Del Worsham and second-place Jack Beckman. Worsham was seventh in the qualifying order, and Beckman ninth.
Points leader Enders set both ends of the track record with a 6.559 at 210.28 in a Chevy Camaro. With a 154-point lead over Gren Anderson, Enders is in position to wrap up her second straight season title. Enders has eight victories this year, a record for female drivers.
Savoie had a 6.876 at 194.21 on a Suzuki. He entered the week 31 points behind first-place Andrew Hines.