CHANDLER, Ariz. (April 7, 2024) – Antron Brown is pleased with the strides his AB Motorsports team made during the NHRA Arizona Nationals as they continue to learn a new clutch combination, which Brown credits to helping his team score a top-seeded qualifying position and quarterfinal finish during their outing at Firebird Motorsports Park.

Aboard the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster, Brown opened the weekend with a solid 3.738-second at 329.34 MPH run on Friday evening to provisionally place him fourth in the qualifying order. On Saturday, he backed up his strong performance with another great run of 3.771 seconds. Although the Q2 pass didn’t allow him to move up on the timing sheets, it did hold up to be the quickest of the round, earning him three bonus points. He closed out qualifying with a tire smoker in the third session. Starting from the No. 4 position, Brown faced his NHRA Winternationals opponent, No. 13 qualifier Clay Millican in the opening round of eliminations.

Brown staged his Matco Tools Toyota alongside Millican on Sunday morning, looking to avenge the first-round loss he suffered to his fellow nitro veteran in Pomona, California two weeks prior. This time, the race went Brown’s way. The three-time world champ nabbed the starting line advantage and never trailed for the win, lighting up the scoreboards with a 3.804 E.T. to Millican’s 3.898-second effort. The quarterfinals pitted Brown against Shawn Langdon. Once again, Brown had the quicker reaction time but his hopes for a fourth Firebird Motorsports Park trophy immediately went up in smoke as his machine lost traction as soon as he stood on the throttle while his Toyota teammate made a clean pass in the opposite lane to advance.

While Brown had hoped for a longer race day at the Phoenix-area facility, he’s happy with the progress his team made as they continue to fine-tune their new combination.

“Second round today, we backed it off, but we just didn’t quite back it off enough,” Brown explained following the second-round exit. “We’ve got a new program that we’re learning right now. We made some big strides coming into this weekend. We have a car that’s quick in the early numbers. We had the quickest 60-foot of the whole weekend with a 0.824 in Q1. We looked at that and said, ‘Now we know how to make our car go,’ and that’s what our team’s brain trust of Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald, Brad Mason, and our Matco Tools boys have been working so hard on. We achieved that and now we’ve got to learn how to harness it back. It bit us a little bit. We backed it off a whole bunch that round thinking it should go down, especially after we ran that 3.80 first run. We made some big moves as to where it should go.

“We’re going to test here in Phoenix tomorrow, and we’re going to get some more laps with our new combo and see if we can get it to do the things we want it to do. We get to compete in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge at the Vegas four-wides. It’s going to be a little hot on Friday there but then it should be nice and cool for the rest of the weekend. I’m super pumped. I love the direction we’re going in. We’re looking to peel off some wins here soon. We want to get some rounds wins and some race wins, and hopefully, we can do that next week in Vegas.”

With 74 NHRA national event victories, Brown is right on the cusp of achieving his milestone 75th. He will attempt to do just that when the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series continues to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend, April 12 – 14, for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals where the Matco Tools team returns as the defending event champions. Brown will open the first of two consecutive four-wide events ranked fifth in the Top Fuel standings.

Qualified: No. 4 (3.738 E.T. at 329.34 MPH)

Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.804 E.T. at 327.35 MPH defeated Clay Millican 3.898 E.T. at 271.35 MPH
E2: 9.059 E.T. at 85.10 MPH defeated by Shawn Langdon 3.823 E.T. at 322.88 MPH

NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series Top Fuel Point Standings (Unofficial):

1 Shawn Langdon   295
2 Justin Ashley   259
3 Steve Torrence   225
4 Billy Torrence   212
5 Antron Brown   167
6 Doug Kalitta   166
7 Tony Schumacher   165
8 Brittany Force   146
9 Tony Stewart   134
10 Josh Hart   116