MORRISON, Colo. (July 16, 2023) – While Antron Brown was hoping to turn on a few more win lights at the final NHRA Mile-High Nationals, the second-year Top Fuel owner/driver found positives in the bittersweet weekend at Bandimere Speedway near Denver. He rubbed shoulders with a drag racing legend and personal hero, he put on a show for a sold-out crowd all weekend, and his new-look Matco Tools ‘Test Drive’ dragster made consistent passes to start off the three-race Western Swing.
Brown’s weekend began with a special moment on Friday afternoon when NHRA nitro icon Kenny Bernstein hopped in the AB Motorsports Matco/Lucas Oil entry for the warmup before the first qualifying session. Later that evening, Brown lit up the scoreboard with a 3.783 E.T. at 327.90 MPH to earn the provisional No. 1 spot, as well as three bonus points. He made another two clean passes in the heat on Saturday, ultimately settling into the No. 3 spot going into Sunday’s eliminations.
In the first round of eliminations, Brown started with a reaction time advantage over Buddy Hull and continued to lead through the 1,000-foot finish line. He won with his third-quickest pass of the event, a 3.823 E.T., which was also the second-quickest pass of the round. Brown was first off the line again when he raced Steve Torrence in the second round. Both drivers dropped cylinders past the half-track mark, though, and Brown’s 3.943-second effort came up short.
“We definitely wanted to go out here and go for the win at the final event here on Thunder Mountain at the Mile-High Nationals,” said Brown, a three-time winner at Bandimere Speedway. “We thank the entire Bandimere family for all they’ve done for NHRA racing and the amazing fan support at Denver. The Matco Tools guys did a great job this weekend under always tricky circumstances at this elevation. We had a really fast hot rod all weekend long.”
The Mile-High Nationals marked the debut of Brown’s new Matco Tools ‘Test Drive’ livery. The AB Motorsports machine will carry the Test Drive scheme until it switches to a pink wrap in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Matco’s Test Drive program allows prospective Matco franchise owners to take a six-month ‘test drive’ to see if franchise ownership is for them.
“We have Seattle coming up in just a few days and the guys are already working on getting this Matco Tools Test Drive dragster for Toyota and Lucas Oil and Hangsterfer’s ready for sea level next Friday,” said Brown, who was the most recent of just seven NHRA Camping World Series drivers to ‘sweep the Swing’ in 2009. “We love the new red, white, and blue colors and we’re looking forward to putting that car in the winner’s circle shortly.”
Brown leaves Bandimere Speedway sixth in the Top Fuel points standings. The AB Motorsports team will now head further west to Seattle’s Pacific Raceways for the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, July 21-23.
Qualified: No. 3 (3.783 E.T. at 327.90 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.823 E.T. at 322.65 MPH defeated Buddy Hull 4.006 E.T. at 299.53 MPH
E2: 3.943 E.T. at 292.84 MPH defeated by Steve Torrence 3.903 E.T. at 292.14 MPH
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Fuel Point Standings (Unofficial):