About Antron Brown
2012 NHRA Top Fuel World Champion
ALL ABOUT ANTRON
- Date of birth: March 1, 1976
- Residence: Pittsboro, Ind.
- Hometown: Chesterfield, N.J.
- Sponsor/car: Matco Tools dragster
- Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi/Mark Oswald
- Career event titles: 37 TF: 21 PSB: 16
- Career final rounds: 73 TF: 40 PSB: 33
- Career No. 1 qualifying positions: 32
- Career best elapsed time: 3.701 seconds
- Career best speed: 328.78 mph
- Wife: Billie Jo (married Feb. 3, 2001)
- Daughter: Arianna Celeste (Nov. 14, 2001)
- Sons: Anson (July 4, 2004) and Adler (March 8, 2008)
- Height/weight: 5 feet, 8 inches; 145 pounds
- Mercer Junior College; Associate of Arts degree, business administration
- Northern Burlington County Regional High School, Columbus, N.J.
Antron makes history in 2012 by winning NHRA Top Fuel world championship for DSR
Antron Brown dreamed of driving one of the world’s most iconic racecars, but never truly believed that one day he would.
His vibrant personality, perseverance, intelligence, athleticism and deeply held religious convictions helped plot the course for not only getting a job driving in NHRA drag racing’s ultimate category of Top Fuel Dragster in 2008. And just four years later, the New Jersey native would be crowned the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel Dragster world champion along with his Matco Tools teammates at Don Schumacher Racing.
Achieving that milestone enabled Antron to become the first African-American to win a major U.S. auto racing season championship.
“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.”
The first of what he intends to be several world championships was earned on Nov. 11, 2012, in the final event of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif.
Brown lives in Pittsboro, Ind., with his wife, Billie Jo, and their three children. He is active in various community activities including church, Boy Scouts and other youth-related programs.
More impressive than Antron’s first world championship, six NHRA event titles in 2012 and 37 in his career are his 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.
DRAG RACING ROOTS
Antron grew up at dragstrip when he tagged along with his father, Albert, and uncle, Andre, who were – and continue to be – avid NHRA Sportsman racers. So it’s only fitting Antron developed into a drag racing champion.
TWO WHEELS BEFORE 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 in high school aboard a Suzuki GSXR 1100 that Brown routinely guided to quartermile runs in 9.20 seconds at nearly 160 mph.
His passion for motorcycles never waned.
TURNING PRO ON TWO
While in his college dorm, he fielded a phone call from star NFL cornerback Troy Vincent, who asked if Brown 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 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, Brown 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, Brown signed with David Powers Motorsports to drive the Matco Tools dragster in 2008.
Brown made a seamless transition to the Top Fuel class, earning the pole in his first career Top Fuel race at the 2008 Winternationals at historic Pomona, Calif. with a blast of 4.495-seconds. He won in just his fourth Top Fuel start by edging two-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.
In 2009, Antron drove for three different Top Fuel team owners, including Mike Ashley who sold his operation to Don Schumacher Racing 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 won six event titles after advancing to the championship round 10 times.
Antron, who had ridden a Pro Stock Motorcycle for Don Schumacher Racing from July of 2002 through the completion of the 2007 NHRA season, was back in the DSR stable driving 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. His talks stress the importance of setting goals and working to achieve them.
On Feb. 18, 2012, Antron was honored at the African-American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey’s second annual Circle of Achievement Awards Gala at New Brunswick, N.J., for contributions he has made to the community and accomplishments as an athlete.
Others receiving the honor that night were: Dr. George A. Pruitt, President, Thomas Edison State College; Paula Dow, New Jersey Attorney General; and Fredrick S. Humphries Jr., Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft Corporation.
Antron excelled at 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-meter dash at Mercer 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.