BRAINERD, Minn. (August 19, 2023) – Antron Brown drove the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster to victory on Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals when he recorded a winning 3.840 E.T. at 292.01 MPH to defeat Brittany Force in the final round of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Top Fuel Challenge. For his efforts, Brown was awarded three championship bonus points and a $10,000 prize.
“We’ve been wanting to win this race for a long, long time, but first, you’ve got to get in,” said Brown, who won his first #2Fast2Tasty Challenge on Saturday at Brainerd International Raceway (BIR). “This was our fourth time competing in the Mission Foods race and it felt really good to get past that first round and get it done today.”
Brown and his AB Motorsports team secured a spot in the Mission Foods-backed specialty race by advancing into the semifinals at last week’s event in Topeka, Kan. The first #2Fast2Tasty elimination round featured a rematch between Brown and Justin Ashley, the Top Fuel point leader and Topeka event winner. Against one of the best leavers in the sport, Brown moved first and never trailed, taking his Matco Tools machine to the finish line stripe in 3.804 seconds at 326.56 MPH, besting Ashley who defeated Brown by just a few thousandths of a second the week prior.
“Leaving on Justin today was big for sure,” said Brown, a 72-time NHRA national event champion. “To race Justin, you’ve got to step your game up and I know what that feels like. Trust me, I don’t like getting left on. Not too many people get to leave on me. He’s done it a couple of times and it felt good to get one back today. The teachers still got some tricks up his sleeve.”
The final round of the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge featured a contest between two multi-time world champions with Brown, a three-time series champ, lining up opposite Force, a two-time Top Fuel series title holder. Once again, Brown was quick on the throttle, using a .056-second reaction time to get a head start on his competitor who lost traction early into the run.
“All these cars are just tough, tough competitors and to go into that final round against Brittany and the way their car has been running and going against Justin first round, those are two heavy hitters in the class.”
Brown will be looking to double up on Sunday at BIR, a facility where he has wins in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle. The five-time Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals event champ has already advanced to the final round three times this year, including his win from the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals. He currently occupies the No. 4 spot in the Top Fuel standings.
“The momentum is definitely building,” said Brown, who finished as the Camping World Series Top Fuel runner-up in 2022. “The Countdown is right around the corner so we’ve just got to keep going and doing what we do. And man, it feels good to get that first Mission win. Tomorrow will bring a whole different day. We want to win here tomorrow and gain some more points and gain some more momentum as we gear up for Indy. We want to try and get that No. 3 spot. Brittany is right in front of us and that’s our game plan tomorrow so we can give ourselves a better shot at this championship. I like where we’re at and where we’re headed. (Crew chiefs) Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald, and all of our Matco/FVP/Lucas Oil boys have been putting the work in, and Hangsterfer’s, Toyota, Summit Racing, and all of our partners that help us out so much. I’m just getting more pumped up, and getting more in my zone.”
The AB Motorsports team will start race day at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals from the No. 6 seed and will have lane choice over Shawn Langdon in the first round of eliminations.
Q1: 3.780 E.T. at 327.27 MPH
Q2/#2Fast2Tasty E1: 3.804 E.T. at 326.56 MPH defeated Justin Ashley 3.842 E.T. at 320.20 MPH
Q3/#2Fast2Tasty E2: 3.840 E.T. at 292.01 MPH defeated Brittany Force 4.468 E.T. at 228.46 MPH