As the driver of the Matco Tools ‘Test Drive’ Top Fuel Dragster, Antron Brown is no stranger to speed and triumph. The upcoming Pep Boys NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pennsylvania, could mark another golden feather in his cap as he aims for a milestone 75th victory.
Brown, a two-time event champion (2015, 2016), has an impressive history at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals. In addition to his championships, he has finished as a runner-up thrice—twice in Top Fuel (2012, 2013) and once in Pro Stock Motorcycle (2004). He has also held the coveted No. 1 qualifier position on three occasions.
During the 2022 Pep Boys NHRA Nationals, Brown showcased a phenomenal performance. After qualifying eighth, he made it to the semifinals, defeating formidable competitors like Josh Hart and Brittany Force. However, he fell to Austin Prock in round three of eliminations.
At the last event in Indianapolis, after qualifying 15th, he emerged as the 2023 U.S. Nationals champion. With victories against top competitors such as Brittany Force, Clay Millican, Justin Ashley, and Steve Torrence, Brown has proven his mettle time and again.
Brown isn’t slowing down. Having clinched victories in Indianapolis and Brainerd, Minnesota, he is now aiming for his third consecutive event win this weekend. If successful, it will mark his 75th national event win, a significant milestone that includes his 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle wins.
“As for our Matco Tools/Toyota/Lucas Oil dragster, excited is an understatement,” he said. “We’re coming off those two great wins at Brainerd and Indy and we just want to keep that momentum going. Our main priority is to qualify well and take it one round at a time on race day. The team with Brian (Corradi), Mark Oswald and Brad (Mason) and all the Matco boys are doing such a great job. We’re gelling at the right time of the season and we’re hungry to chase another championship. It’s the first race of the Countdown, there’s a lot at stake. We finished second last year and we want to do one spot better this Countdown, but it’ll be tough. It’s a gauntlet of competition in this Top Fuel class. The competition has never been stronger and it’s going to be a major battle and whoever comes out on top at Pomona (Calif.) in November will have earned it.”
Reading signifies the commencement of the 2023 NHRA Countdown to the Championship. Seeded at No. 3, Brown is on the hunt for his fourth series title and the first under the banner of AB Motorsports. After ending the 2022 Countdown in the second spot with 12 Countdown round-wins, the stakes have never been higher.
For Brown, a New Jersey native, Reading is more than just another race—it’s a homecoming. Supported by Hangsterfer’s, headquartered in Mantua Township, N.J., and Streamlight of Eagleville, Pa., the upcoming event is personal. Brown said, “We’re excited. Excited for the start of the Countdown. Excited for fall weather. Excited to get back to the East Coast and race in front of a home crowd at Maple Grove Raceway, one of the race tracks I grew up going to near New Jersey. We’ll have a lot of family and friends from Jersey rooting us on, and great support from our great ABM partners. Matco Tools always has a strong group at Reading (Pa.), Streamlight, whose home office is less than an hour from the track in PA, our Hangsterfer’s friends who are headquartered in New Jersey, and Factory Motor Parts and the FVP brand will have a big presence as well. Our Pit-Side Experience hospitality tent will be the hot spot in the pits at Maple Grove.