Competing on the biggest stage of the NHRA Camping World Series, Antron Brown scored a monumental victory Monday afternoon at the NHRA US Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. Brown secured his second victory as a team owner when he drove his Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster to a 3.706-second pass at 321.65 mph to defeat points leader Brittany Force in the final round.
“It’s unbelievable,” Brown said of his 70th NHRA win moments after stepping off his Matco Tools/Lucas Oil/Toyota dragster. “Thank God above, all the prayers, all the hard work. We are making it happen. We have been working very hard for this. Being here in Indy, our hometown, I live eight miles from the track, I’m super proud. My team did an amazing job. We did it. We brought him home.”
The final round of the US Nationals was the third time Brown had faced Force this season, and he won all three matchups. It was the fourth time Brown has won the prestigious Indy race, in addition to his 2011 Top Fuel win and two Pro Stock Motorcycle wins.
Competing with 24 other drivers vying for a spot in the 16-car field, Brown qualified as No. 6 with a pass of 3.712 at 330.55 mph. That set up a first-round matchup with Gainesville winner Tripp Tatum. A side-by-side race followed, with Brown leading the race from start to finish.
Brown again left the starting line first when he ran against four-time defending world champion Steve Torrence in the second round, winning with 3.736 as Torrence smoked the tires.
Crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald made a big step into the semifinals, where Brown ran his fastest run of the weekend and second-fastest of the season, 3.698 at 329.99, to beat Justin Ashley’s 3.714.
“It was a tough round against Brittany,” Brown said, “but it was really tough winning the semifinals against Justin Ashley and the Phillips Connect team.”
Brown was joined in the winner’s circle by Toyota Racing teammate Ron Capps, who earned his first US Nationals victory in Funny Car driving his Toyota GR Supra. Both drivers branched out to form their own teams this season after racing together at Don Schumacher Racing for years.
“We’ve always talked about it, if we can be in the winner’s circle together, it’s going to be a special moment,” Brown said. “To do it at US Nationals, you couldn’t ask for a bigger gift.”
The AB Motorsports team has made significant progress since the season began. During the offseason, Brown and the team assembled new cars and stocked new trailers with new parts and new Matco tools. The US Nationals’ win was further proof that those efforts are paying off.
“When the victory light came on, I said, ‘Man, look what this team has been through,’” Brown said. “Starting with ‘Big C’ Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald and Brad Mason, all of our guys worked hard to get those results. That’s a testament to all of our boys and girls. My wife and children are doing this as a family. They are all involved. We never lost faith. We never gave up.”
Along with his team and family, Brown praised team sponsors and partners including Matco Tools, Lucas Oil, Toyota, Sirius XM, Hangsterfer’s, Darton Sleeves, DMPE, CNC Performance and Western Tech.
Brown and his Brownsburg, Indiana-based AB Motorsports team entered the US Nationals in ninth place in points. With his win, he moved up to sixth when the points restarted for the six-race countdown to the championship playoffs.
“With Countdown right in front of us, going from being 11 or 12 three races ago to being No. 6, I think we’re going to be in that conversation,” said Brown, whose trip to the winner’s circle on Sunday was his second in three events. after winning at Topeka, Kan. last month. “We just want to go out there and compete and go after that championship. That’s our game plan right now.”
Brown’s quest for a fourth NHRA Camping World Series Top Fuel world championship continues September 15-18 at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania.