ENNIS, Texas (October 15, 2023) – Antron Brown was on his way to a fifth consecutive 3.60-second pass in the quarterfinals of the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals when the engine let go in his pink Matco ‘Tools for the Cause’ Top Fuel dragster. The three-time world champion dropped a close race with fellow Toyota driver Steve Torrence, marking the end to Brown’s weekend at the Texas Motorplex. Brown maintained his fifth-place position in the points standings at the fourth of six Countdown to the Championship races.
Before Friday night’s second qualifying session began, Brown was recognized as a Texas Motorplex Legend, an honor that came with one-of-a-kind ‘Legend spurs.’ The New Jersey native turned Indiana resident claimed his first career Pro Stock Motorcycle victory in 1999 at the Motorplex when the NHRA tour came to the Dallas area track twice per season. Brown went on to win the Fall Nationals in Top Fuel in 2012 and 2016, making him one of five drivers to have won at the Motorplex in two different pro categories.
Brown was quick and consistent through four rounds of qualifying, beginning with a 3.716-second effort on Friday. He stepped up to a 3.679 E.T. in the second session to end Friday as the provisional No. 7 qualifier. A pair of 3.68-second passes followed on Saturday, with Brown settling into the No. 9 spot in a field that saw 12 of the 16 drivers dip into the 3.60-second range.
Race day kicked off with Brown facing Austin Prock in NHRA’s Top Fuel marquee matchup. Brown moved first and maintained the lead over a tire-smoking Prock, recording a 3.682 E.T. to move on. The AB Motorsports team owner and driver was first off of the line again in the second round against Torrence, a fellow multi-time world champion, but Brown’s lead started to slip away down track as his engine expired, allowing Torrence to get the win with a 3.684 E.T. to Brown’s 3.736 E.T. at 311.76 MPH.
“All in all, we had a very good, consistent car this weekend,” Brown said. “We were working really hard and we had a part failure there. We were out front, and that’s the worst way you can lose. All of our team – Brian (Corradi), Mark (Oswald), and Brad (Mason) – made the right calls. I left on (Torrence) and had three hundredths on the tree. It was really our race to win this week. I felt really good this whole weekend. But you know what? We’re going to lick our wounds, get ready for the next race, and take some fury into Vegas with us.”
Brown and the AB Motorsports team will compete again in two weeks at the NHRA Nevada Nationals, Oct. 27-29, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It will be the third and final race for Brown’s Matco ‘Tools for a Cause’ livery, which is a part of Matco Tools’ annual initiative to raise funds and awareness for the Breast Cancer Research Fund.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.679 E.T. at 335.62 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.682 E.T. at 329.00 MPH defeated Austin Prock 5.861 E.T. at 132.99 MPH
E2: 3.736 E.T. at 311.76 MPH defeated by Steve Torrence 3.684 E.T. at 333.19 MPH
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Top Fuel Point Standings (Unofficial):