EPPING, N.H. (June 10, 2015) – Antron Brown is known as one of the most focused drivers in motorsports, and it’s a good thing.
The popular driver of Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster and New Jersey native is coming off one of his biggest and most emotional weekends since becoming a professional in 1998 and won his first NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series trophy in 1999 while aboard a Pro Stock Motorcycle.
On Sunday he reached an incredible milestone and became only the 10th pro racer in NHRA to win for a 50th time. And he did it at Englishtown, N.J., where he watched his first drag race as a youngster only 30 miles from his home in Chesterfield.
Antron became the first Top Fuel driver this year to win for the third time after earning his third No. 1 qualifying position in nine events which ties for the most poles he’s won in an entire season.
Although he won twice on a motorcycle (2002 and 2005) in the Toyota Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Sunday was the first time he did it in a Top Fuel dragster.
“It’s a real dream come true for this Chesterfield kid,” Brown said after beating Brittany Force in the championship round for a third time. “We knew what was at stake when we came in here. I put everything of what this race means to the side. And that’s what the crew did.
“I came to this racetrack back in 1986. I remember it like it was yesterday,” he said. “We all came out here for the Summernationals. I spent a lot of hours at the track.
“I never thought I would be out here, being a professional racer. I always wanted to, but you never know if you’ll get the opportunity. I give all the glory to God.”
Antron, the 2012 Top Fuel world champion who holds a 118-point lead over DSR teammate Tony Schumacher, doesn’t have anywhere near the history at New England Dragway where the third annual New England Nationals opens Friday.
The 39-year-old driver living in Pittsboro, Ind., started last year’s event at New England by winning the pole but lost in the quarterfinals to Schumacher, who went on to win the title. Despite posting the final day’s third best time the combination of Schumacher’s near perfect reaction time (0.006 seconds) and quickest run of the day enabled him to advance and win the event title.
“Our Matco team was able to enjoy our big win at Englishtown but we put that race in the books before we even got to Epping,” Antron said.
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Last event (June 7), Englishtown, N.J.: Qualified No. 1; defeated Brittany Force in championship round
A year ago at Epping: Qualified No. 1; lost in quarterfinals to Tony Schumacher
Career at Epping (3rd event): Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 1
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2015 1st 9 3 1 2 2 1 3 0 20-6
CAREER 319 50 41 65 85 74 40 3 537-266
Best Time, Speed: 3.701 sec.-NHRA record (2012, Reading, Pa.); 328.78 mph (2012, Reading)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Through Englishtown, 9 of 24 races; DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS) POINTS BEHIND
1. ANTRON BROWN (3) 751 —-
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 633 -118
3. SPENCER MASSEY (1) 588 -163
4. Richie Crampton (2) 579 -172
5. Doug Kalitta (1) 554 -197
6. Shawn Langdon (1) 530 -221
7. Larry Dixon 508 -243
8. Brittany Force 479 -272
9. JR Todd 456 -295
10. Clay Millican 427 -324