Brown sees continued progress
Antron Brown drives the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster into this weekend’s 31st annual NHRA Southern Nationals here at Atlanta Dragway looking to improve on the solid results already accomplished in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
Arriving in Georgia holding third place in the Top Fuel championship standings, trailing Del Worsham and Larry Dixon and just ahead of Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher and Spencer Massey, the New Jersey native talked about building for the long term, but still shooting for individual race wins.
“Everything has been good so far this year,” said the 35-year-old former Pro Stock Motorcycle driver. “But we want to be consistent, like we were in Vegas; consistent like that and fast like that.”
The Matco Tools team won the Las Vegas race last month, its first win of the 2011 season. In addition, Brown has made it to a semifinal and three quarterfinal rounds. He would like to return to the winner’s circle here, a place he has visited three times: 2001 [defeated Matt Hines] and 2006 [Andrew Hines] riding a Pro Stock Motorcycle and 2009 [Schumacher] in a dragster.
“I look forward to racing here in Atlanta,” Brown said. “I seem to run good, but I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s kind of a “backyard track,” like the ones I grew up on, but maybe it’s just the ATL spirit.
“Thinking back on those three wins, it’s amazing – each time I beat a champion.”
Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team have their eyes on their own Top Fuel championship.
“We’re building for the finale, for the playoffs,” he said. “We would like to keep improving, getting more consistent and we would like to end the regular season in the top three going into the playoffs.”
According to Brown, the hunt for both more consistency and improvement, though, has challenges.
“We’re making more power than ever before and maybe the tracks can’t hold this power,” he explained. “Our speeds are way up, but when records fall, it is by thousandths of a second. We might have to really work on harnessing the power to get down the track.
“A few years ago, speeds of 319 miles per hour were huge; today, we’re topping 320, 323 at many tracks. This means we have to keep re-evaluating our approach, but Brian and Mark (Corradi and Oswald, co crew chiefs), as well as the other talented crew chiefs at DSR, are up for the challenge.”