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Antron Brown Aiming to Conquer NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

Antron Brown, the esteemed driver of the Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster, is set to compete at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, aiming to secure his first victory at the iconic Bristol Dragway. Having been a two-time runner-up at this event in 2011 and 2023, Brown is determined to turn his near-misses into a triumph.

In the 2023 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Brown qualified 15th and fought his way to the final round, defeating top competitors Brittany Force, Tony Schumacher, and Doug Kalitta before being bested by Justin Ashley. His performance last year showcased his tenacity and skill, and he hopes to build on that success this year.

Brown’s recent performance in Epping saw him qualify ninth but exit in the first round after being defeated by Tony Stewart. Despite this setback, his 2024 season statistics remain impressive, with one national event win and two specialty race wins out of seven races. Over his illustrious career, Brown has competed in 511 races, achieving 75 wins and 50 No. 1 qualifiers.

Notably, Brown has won at every track on the current NHRA tour except for Bristol Dragway and Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond. As a third-year team owner, he is eager to capture his first Thunder Valley Nationals victory. He came close in 2023, advancing to the final round for the first time since 2011, and during the same event, he claimed his 800th round win, becoming only the sixth driver in NHRA history to reach this milestone.

Fans will have the opportunity to meet Brown at two events on Saturday: the Team Toyota autograph session at the Toyota Racing Experience midway from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. and the Bristol Dragway Fanfest in Nitro Alley after Q4.

Brown is optimistic about his chances this year, stating, “We had a phenomenal race in Bristol last year against Justin Ashley in the final round. Ran in the mid-70s throughout the day. The conditions were really good and it’s looking like we’re going to have the same conditions this year. Mid-70s with some cloud cover so, we’re really looking forward to getting there. We came so close and aside from Richmond, it’s the only track where we haven’t won, so we’re just going to go there poised, head down, and the most important thing is to qualify well. We want to qualify in the top four or top five like we always shoot for if not No. 1, and we’re just going to give it everything we’ve got. But, love going to Bristol. We’ve been to multiple final rounds and qualified No. 1. We’re doing different things and we want to go out there and be a part of history at that race track and get a win there. They have a brand-new surface and I’m excited to get there and put on a great show for the fans.”

Brown’s dedication and competitive spirit make him a top contender for the upcoming NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

This story was originally published on June 6, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.