2012 NHRA Top Fuel champion Antron Brown goes into the U.S. Nationals with confidence.
Antron Brown grew up in a household that revered the U.S. Nationals, and although he never attended the event as a kid, he could sense the magnitude of the Big Go.
In a recent phone interview with Motorsport.com, Antron said his father and uncle made Indy their annual man trip. “They always came out here every year because that’s how special this race was because they wanted to go see the best of the best perform at their best,” said the 2011 U.S. National Top Fuel Champion.
(The Countdown is) going to be a battle because so many guys and teams are running so well right now
With the football season kicking off soon, Antron added an apt analogy. “You can watch a football team all year long, but when you see two teams get in the Super Bowl they do some amazing things because they have nothing to lose. They give it all they have and they know what’s on the line, and that’s what the U.S. Nationals is doing.”
Brown is in the midst of one of his best seasons on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. He has five Top Fuel victories, and is second in points to Doug Kalitta. Brown said, “We are definitely in a great position, but the perfect position is going in number one.” Antron will have an opportunity to overtake Kalitta with a win at the U.S. Nationals, and he is prepared for the Countdown to the Championship, a six-race playoff that begins after Indy to determine the World Champ.
We are competing like it’s our last race, and that’s the way I always race
“[The Countdown is] going to be a battle because so many guys and teams are running so well right now that we are all going to be bundled up tight with each other, so we are looking forward to getting after it.”
How to overcome his rivals
In order to overcome drivers such as Kalitta, Shawn Langdon, and Tony Schumacher, Brown will do what he does every week. “Honestly, the way I race, I give it that same effort week in and week out where I’m not trying to step up and do something different and special because to be elite I think that you have to bring that A-plus game each and every week to win,” said the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster.
We became a part of history as one of the few and only Top Fuel drivers to ever win Indy
“And I think that’s the reason why our team does so well because we all have that attitude. And that’s what got us five wins so far this year because we take that attitude every race that we are at, and we are competing like it’s our last race, and that’s the way I always race.”
That attitude has allowed Antron to excel at every level of racing from Pro Stock Motorcycle to Top Fuel. He won the U.S. Nationals twice on the motorcycle, and took home the Top Fuel title in 2011.
“We became a part of history as one of the few and only Top Fuel drivers to ever win Indy. ‘Big Daddy’ Don Garlits won it 8 times, Larry Dixon’s won it 4 times, and Tony Schumacher’s won it 9 times. So to be mentioned amongst people of that nature, winning the U.S. Nationals is definitely pretty special.”
Now it is Antron’s turn to become a perennial powerhouse at the U.S. Nationals (August 27th – September 1st).