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Top Fuel Star Antron Brown Ready to Throw Down at NHRA New England Nationals

Antron Brown has done a little bit of everything during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season, winning the Pep Boys Top Fuel All-Star Callout, a Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge event and, in Chicago, his first event race win of the year.

It’s a diverse array of success this year for Brown and he’ll look to keep rolling at this weekend’s 11th annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway, where the three-time Top Fuel world champ looks for his second straight victory this season.

His triumph in Chicago gave the veteran his 75th career victory, a tremendous milestone for Brown and his team. The group performed well in warm conditions in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools Toyota dragster and with ideal conditions expected for Epping this weekend, Brown and his team are prepared to throw down against a talented and full Top Fuel field at the historic track.

“That’s always been a great track for us,” Brown said. “We’ve got to go out with the same gameplan we had in Chicago. I like where we’re at with this team. We’ve got a lot of data and know what to do and what not to do. We know where we need to be and we’ve got a lot of momentum coming off our victory. I like our chances, but you’ve got to qualify well. We’ll look at doing well there, take it one round at a time and see what we can do.”

A year ago, Justin Ashley (Top Fuel) and Bob Tasca III (Funny Car) won the New England Nationals, though the race finished in Bristol the following week due to weather. This year’s race will be broadcast on FS1, including eliminations at 1 and 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, and also includes the return of Pro Stock to the event. It is the seventh of 20 races during the 2024 season and Brown continues to make strong progress.

Brown’s Chicago win bumped him to fifth in points in the loaded category and the victory also means he’ll take part in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge on Saturday with Steve Torrence, Shawn Langdon and Dan Mercier. That presents a chance for a double-up victory in Epping, which is what Brown is after. On Sunday, he’ll also have to get past reigning world champ Doug Kalitta, Top Fuel rookie and racing legend Tony Stewart, Clay Millican, Tony Schumacher and Ashley, the defending event winner and current points leader.

Brown continues to be impressed with how his team has performed all year, and the one-time Epping winner (2016) remains the ultimate competitor, rising to the occasion against the best in the category, including Ashley.

“To see how our team goes through adversity and come through, it’s great to see,” Brown said. “Justin and I, we’ve had some monumental matchups, but I love racing him. The (starting-line) tree is my game and I love being there, but I stay humble and I stay hungry, and with Justin, he just raises the game. I race the way I qualify and I guess that’s the veteran in me. You can’t get scared of what you can’t control.”

New England native and Funny Car veteran Bob Tasca III collected his first New England Nationals title last season when he defeated NHRA legend John Force in the final round, which took place in Bristol due to weather. To go back-to-back – and to win for the first time at his home track – he’ll need to get past Funny Car newcomer Austin Prock, Gainesville winner J.R. Todd, former champion Ron Capps, and reigning champ and points leader Matt Hagan, who is the winningest driver at New England Dragway.

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Returning to the New England Nationals this year is the Pro Stock class. The loyal fans of the New England area will be treated to the performance the 500 cubic-inch factory hot rods. Stars like reigning champion Erica Enders, multi-time champion Greg Anderson, Jeg Coughlin Jr., and standouts Aaron Stanfield and points leader Dallas Glenn will be on track and ready to return to New England Dragway.

Also slated in Epping is the special Drag and Drive exhibition event featuring HOT ROD Drag Week competitors in eight-second cars. This special feature marks the first time Drag Week competitors have attended the historic facility in Epping. The selection of cars includes boosted and naturally aspirated engine combinations of varying power levels, from 700 hp to over 2,000 hp. The weekend also includes competition in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the Congruity NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by LearnEV+.

Fans will also be invited all weekend long to the Nitro Alley Stage, which is the main entertainment hub in the pits, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets, music and much more. Race fans at New England Dragway can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the event winners.

As always, fans get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Epping. Fans get a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. They can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series qualifying features two rounds at 5 and 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, May 31 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 1 at 12 and 2:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, June 2. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, 7 p.m. on Saturday, along with a special Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge epside at 8 p.m. on Saturday, and then eliminations action from 1-2 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. ET on Sunday.

To purchase tickets to the NHRA New England Nationals, fans can visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Children 12 and under are free in general admission with the purchase of an adult ticket. For more information about NHRA, visit www.nhra.com.

This story was originally published on May 29, 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.