Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), defeated Brown, pilot of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster for DSR, with his best pass of the weekend before narrowly losing in the second round to Doug Kalitta.
"This one goes back to qualifying," said Schumacher, who was only able to make two clean qualifying runs in four attempts. "This U.S. Army car is a way better car than qualifying eighth. When you do that, you just make things that much tougher on Sunday. A lot of times drivers say after winning the first round that they feel like they have it figured out. Honestly, most of the time you are just starting to figure it out. You start to figure it out, but it takes rounds to go faster and faster. We had a great race with Doug. The fans got their money's worth. Just a great drag race that we came up short in. We had phenomenal run to beat Antron in the first round and that gave us lane choice. Unfortunately, we put the guy that got down the right lane the best all weekend in the lane he likes and got beat. We're getting there. We just need to step it up in qualifying and that's what this team led by (crew chief) Mike (Green) and (assistant crew chief) Neal (Strausbaugh) will continue working towards. We have a week off and before four straight races. I can't wait to get to Bristol and get back on the track with this U.S. Army team."
Schumacher raced to victory in the first round with a run of 3.782 seconds at 325.92 mph to Brown's 3.985 seconds at 270.37 mph. The seven-time Top Fuel champion had lane choice in the second round and posted a run of 3.827 seconds at 319.14 mph down the left lane, but Kalitta's run of 3.822 seconds at 317.05 mph was enough to turn on the win light.
The opening round loss was tough for Brown, who had hoped for a better outcome at his hometown track. The Chesterfield, New Jersey native made the finals at Englishtown in both 2009 and 2010, but has now fallen in the first round the last two years.
"That's what we get for the way we qualified," said Brown, who qualified ninth for the second consecutive event. "You try look at it like it's another race, but you always want to do well at your home track. Nobody likes losing, but you have to take the good with the bad. We knew we needed to put a good time up on the scoreboard because we were racing against our teammate Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team. We were in the right lane and ready to go for it, but we just overpowered the racetrack. We learned a lot this weekend. I'm confident we'll get this Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster back to qualifying in the top-five like we're used to doing. These guys don't give up. We'll go back, regroup and get ready for Bristol in a couple weeks. We learned a lot this weekend and we'll keep on growing to be stronger."