BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 15, 2013) – The Brown family will enter Sunday’s Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals with one event title already in hand.

And instead of reigning Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown with a trip to a dragstrip’s winner’s circle, it was his 8-year-old son Anson, who won his first event title Friday in his rookie year competing in a half-scale NHRA Jr. Dragsters.

“It was incredible, but the hard part is you wish you could have been there to see it,” said Antron, who was at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee driving his Top Fuel dragster while Anson was with the rest of the Brown family competing at Crossroads Dragway in Terre Haute, Ind.

“I’m just real happy for him. He’s been at the racetrack so many times watching Dad. It’s so cool watching him do something he likes to do. He’s having a blast. He’s doing a great, great job. He’s sharp and he’s fearless. The boy’s just amazing. It’s so much fun watching him do what he likes to do. And Uncle Roy (Falgout) did a great job filling in for me as the wrenchman.”

While Anson’s racing continues over the weekend at Terre Haute, Antron’s focus Sunday will be on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series at Bristol.

“We have to do what Anson did,” Antron said of his Father’s Day goal.

“We’re not feeling any pressure. We’ll just go out and do what we do.”

What he wants to do most is something he hasn’t done before and that’s leave Bristol with a trophy.

“We really want to get a Bristol win. We’ve run well here but haven’t won it yet. We’re in the show and that’s half the battle.”

The Matco team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald have been trying to get the Don Schumacher Racing dragster back to the form it showed by winning two of the first seven Mello Yello events. But at the last two, the team has lost in the opening rounds.

And it didn’t improve much during Bristol qualifying when the Matco team qualified No. 12 and in the first round will face DSR and U.S. Army teammate Tony Schumacher, who has won five Bristol titles including last year.

“We’re going to relax and enjoy ourselves, and put the pedal to the metal and go after it,” Brown said.

The following are Brown’s Thunder Valley qualifying results and other notes:

No. 1 qualifier: Spencer Massey, DSR; 3.775 sec., 326.79 mph – both track records

Antron Brown, Matco Tools
Qualifying position: No. 12
First-round opponent: Tony Schumacher

Session 1: 3.972 sec., 272.83 mph
Session 2: 3.838, 317.05
Session 3: 6.315, 102.91
Session 4: 3.896, 313.73

Championship eliminations, noon (ET)

Sunday: Eliminations, 1 p.m., 11 p.m. (ET), delayed

Sunday: High 84; 20 percent chance of rain