2012, 2015 & 2016 NHRA Top Fuel World Champion
ALL ABOUT ANTRON
- Date of birth: March 1, 1976
- Residence: Pittsboro, Ind.
- Hometown: Chesterfield, N.J.
- Wife: Billie Jo
- Daughter: Arianna
- Sons: Anson and Adler
- Height/weight: 5-foot-8, 145 pounds
- Mercer Junior College; Associate of Arts degree, business administration
- Northern Burlington County Regional High School, Columbus, N.J.
- Sponsor/car: Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster
- Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi/Mark Oswald
- World championships 3 (2012, 2015, 2016)
- Career event titles: 54 (Top Fuel: 38; Pro Stock Motorcycle: 16)
- Career final rounds: 97 (TF: 64; PSM: 33)
- Career No. 1 qualifying positions: 44
- Career best elapsed time: 3.680 sec.-national record, first ever 3.6-second run (2015, Brainerd)
- Career best speed: 331.12 mph (2015, Brainerd)
- Antron recorded a career-best seven Mello Yello titles en route to winning his second NHRA Top Fuel world championship in the past four seasons
- He became the first driver to complete a run in 3.6 seconds on what became a national record time of 3.680 seconds in August 2015 at Brainerd, Minn.
- He recorded his first run of 330 mph when he completed a run at 331.12 at Brainerd
- Equaled a career-best with seven No. 1 qualifying positions
- Antron led the Top Fuel category in 2014 by winning six Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event titles and finished seventh in the championship standings
- On Sept. 30, 2013, Antron was honored at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City along with Terry Bradshaw, James Worthy, Dave Winfield, Nick Faldo and other renowned athletes at the 28th annual Great Sports Legends Dinner to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis
- In February 2013, he was selected to NBC’s 2013 edition of “TheGrio’s 100” list that features African-American industry, sports and community leaders and was featured on a segment of NBC’s Today show to help celebrate Black History Month
- In February 2012, he was honored by African-American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey with the Circle of Achievement award
Antron, Matco Tools win second Top Fuel world championship with record-breaking season in the in NHRA Mello Yello series
Antron Brown and his Matco Tools/U.S. Army team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald dominated Top Fuel competition in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series the past two years but 2015 produced a record-shattering season and their second world championship in four years.
The Don Schumacher Racing team was the class of Top Fuel from start to finish and dipped out of the top-three in the standings once to clinch the prestigious championship with one event left in the 24-race season.
Antron won a career-best seven NHRA Wally trophies and tied his career mark for No. 1 qualifying positions with seven.
He became the first driver to ever complete a run in less than 3.7 seconds when he recorded a time of 3.680 in August at Brainerd, Minn. At the same event, he reached 330 mph for the first time with a run of 331.12.
Antron dreamed of driving one of the world’s most iconic racecars, but never truly believed that one day he would let alone win two world championships.
His vibrant personality, perseverance, intelligence, athleticism and deeply held religious convictions helped plot the course to getting a job driving in NHRA drag racing’s ultimate category of Top Fuel in 2008. And just four years later, the New Jersey native was crowned the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel Dragster world champion along with his Matco Tools teammates at DSR.
Achieving that championship milestone enabled Antron to become the first African-American to win a major U.S. auto racing season championship. That accomplishment coupled with his commitment to helping young Americans earned him two prestigious honors in 2013.
In January 2012, he was selected to NBC’s 2013 edition of “TheGrio’s 100” list that features African-American industry, sports and community leaders. He was featured on a segment of the NBC’s Today show to help celebrate Black History Month. Eight months later, he was at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City along with Terry Bradshaw, James Worthy, Dave Winfield, Nick Faldo, Shawn Johnson and other renowned athletes at the 28th annual Great Sports Legends Dinner to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.
“I never sat back and thought about it, but if I can be an inspiration for kids out there – not just African-Americans, just Americans period – and give them somebody they can look up to that’s positive who actually never settled in life for things that people told them they may not ever achieve then it makes this accomplishment even more special.
“Even some of my own family members told me that I could never be a professional racer. I even doubted myself that I would someday be a Top Fuel or Funny Car racer, because it just seemed to be so far out of reach.”
Antron lives in Pittsboro, Ind., with his wife, Billie Jo, and their three children. He is active in various community activities including church, NHRA Jr. Drag Racing, Boy Scouts and other youth-related programs.
More impressive than Antron’s second world championship and 54 NHRA event titles (38 in Top Fuel and 16 in Pro Stock Motorcycle) are commitments to God, family and helping to motivate high school and college students through about 30 speaking engagements around the country for sponsors Matco Tools and the U.S. Army.
PASSING DRAG RACING ROOTS TO FOURTH GENERATION
Antron grew up at dragstrips when he tagged along with his father, Albert, and uncle, Andre, who were – and continue to be – avid NHRA Sportsman racers. They followed the lead of
late grandfather, Albert Brown, who began drag racing in the 1960s and passed the passion to Antron’s father and uncle.
In 2013, Antron passed the sport to his oldest son, Anson, and daughter, Arianna, by introducing them to NHRA Jr. Drag Racing, which is for youngsters as young as 8 driving one-half scale dragsters.
Anson, who turned 10 in July 2014, became the first fourth-generation Brown to compete in drag racing when he began driving an NHRA Jr. Dragster. He proved to be a fast learner by winning six race titles as a rookie in 2013. Arianna, who turned 13 in November, gave it a try and is the first Brown woman to compete in drag racing. Youngest son Adler competed as a rookie last year.
TWO WHEELS AND TRAINING WHEELS
Antron first operated a motorcycle at age 4 shortly after learning how to ride a bicycle with training wheels. When he was 12, he began competing on 80-cc bikes in motocross.
His first competitive action on the dragstrip came during his senior year of high school aboard a Suzuki GSXR 1100 that Antron routinely guided to quarter-mile runs in 9.20 seconds at nearly 160 mph.
His passion for motorcycles never has waned.
TURNING PRO ON TWO
While in his college dorm, he fielded a phone call from star NFL cornerback Troy Vincent, who asked if Antron was capable of riding a Pro Stock Motorcycle. Vincent, who was married to one of Antron’s cousins, started Team 23 Racing a year later and Antron’s dream or racing professionally became a reality. Another member of the team was famed NHRA rider Dave Schultz, who mentored the animated rookie. In 10 seasons on his Suzuki, Antron amassed 16 PSM victories in 33 final rounds, 11 No. 1 qualifying awards, and twice finished second in the points standings (2001 and 2006).
GRADUATING TO TOP FUEL
After a decade as one of the premier riders in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, Antron signed with David Powers Motorsports to drive the Matco Tools dragster in 2008.
Antron made a seamless transition to the Top Fuel class, earning the pole in his first career Top Fuel race at the 2008 Winternationals at Pomona with a blast of 4.495 seconds when racing was at a distance 1,320 feet. He won in just his fourth Top Fuel start by edging three-time series champion Larry Dixon in the final round at Houston Raceway Park becoming the first driver in NHRA history to win races in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle categories.
In 2009, Antron drove for three different Top Fuel team owners, including Mike Ashley who sold his operation to DSR late in the season. That was a pivotal year for Antron because it was his first with crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, the 1984 NHRA Funny Car champion.
That year, Antron won seven No. 1 qualifying positions and six event titles after advancing to the championship round 10 times.
Antron, who had ridden a Pro Stock Motorcycle for DSR from July of 2002 through the completion of the 2007 NHRA season, was back in the DSR stable driving for the organization’s newest Top Fuel team.
Antron appears before at least 30 groups of high school and technical students around the country representing sponsors Matco Tools and the U.S. Army. At NHRA events, he speaks to hundreds of students as part of NHRA’s U.S. Army YES (Youth Education Services) program. His talks stress the importance of setting goals and working to achieve them.
Antron excelled in football, basketball and track and field at Northern Burlington County Regional High School in Columbus, N.J.
He earned an Associate of Arts degree in business administration from Mercer Junior College.
While at Mercer, he competed on indoor and outdoor track circuits in multiple events including the long jump and 100-meter dash. He was quick enough in the 100 to receive an invitation to the 1998 U.S. Olympic Trials. Antron was offered an athletic scholarship by Long Island University in 1997 but opted instead to pursue his professional drag racing dream.