ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 11, 2016) – Antron Brown is filled with reminders of his childhood every time he returns to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., to compete in an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.
He remembers being pushed around in a stroller at the track while his father, Albert, and uncle, Andre, raced in NHRA Sportsman categories, which they still do.
He graduated to the motorcycle motocross mounds at the track as a youngster before he started to drag race motorcycles.
That led to a professional career that continues Sunday after the driver of Don Schumacher Racing’s U.S. Army/Top Fuel dragster qualified No. 2 and will face Terry Haddock in Sunday’s first round when he will begin defense of his 2015 title in the Summernationals that he has won two other times.
And this fall when he returns to visit his family in Chesterfield, N.J., he can see a tribute to the contributions he and his family have made to the Chesterfield.
Chesterfield Mayor Jeremy Liedtka presented a street sign for “Antron Brown Way” to the two-time and reigning Top Fuel world champion during a press conference on Wednesday. The new street will be located just off of Old York Road within a new neighborhood under construction in Chesterfield.
Liedtka knew what he wanted to do when the opportunity came up.
“The Brown family has been an asset to our community for four generations and more than 60 years,” Liedtka said. “Everyone here is very proud of what Antron and his family have accomplished. This is a way to show our gratitude.”
The popular racer was nearly speechless when he saw the sign.
“Through the championships and through all the great deeds that we do on and off the racetrack, no award could compare to the honor of having a street named after you,” said Brown, a standout athlete and student at Northern Burlington High School and later at Mercer County Community College.
“Every time I think about it, I think that presidents get streets named after them. And I have a street named after me, and I’m like, ‘Am I worthy?’ I’m just honored and humbled all at the same time.”
While Antron Brown Way awaits pavement, Brown will concentrate on the Englishtown concrete and asphalt dragstrip on Sunday when he tries to win his third title of the season and second in less than one week.
He was the No. 1 qualifier and won during Monday’s completed rain-delayed New England Nationals.
“Nothing is better than winning in front of your family and friends you grew up with,” said Brown, who has won 40 Top Fuel and 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle titles. “We want a big celebration in the winner’s circle tomorrow.
“It’s been a great weekend qualifying effort, we’re No. 2. Today was hot and muggy, so it threw us a few kinks trying to get down the racetrack. Tomorrow’s going to be a new day, it’s going to be a little bit cooler, and a little bit drier.
“We’re happy that we’re still making strides as we’re making changes and we’re seeing a response, and we’re always learning each and every run.”
No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (CAPCO Contractors) 3.735 sec., 325.06 mph
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tool/U.S. Army
Qualified: No. 2
First round: Terry Haddock
FRIDAY: 5.830 sec., 113.99 mph, (Session 1); 3.742, 317.94, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.927, 267.75, (Session 3); 3.870, 286.62, (Session 4)