Antron Brown

Photos courtesy Antron Brown Racing

In anticipation for this weekend’s 30th Annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, we asked 2012 Mello Yello Top Fuel champion Antron Brown about his strategies for this year, how to best handle tire smoking and who he thought was his toughest competition.

Read Antron’s answers below, exclusively on The Burnout.

You were champion in 2012 and had a fantastic 2013. What new strategies will you be trying out this year to maintain your performance?

We have been working on making our entire package more efficient and consistent. So, just trying to squeeze every drop out of our package that we can, including me. That means reaction times and driving the car as straight as possible along with physical conditioning. I want to step it up to the next level.

Tire shake/smoking is one the biggest enemies in Top Fuel drag racing. When managing this, how much of it is driver input and how much is mechanical setup?

Tire smoking is caused by the tune-up and driving the car out of the groove. The driver can drive the car out of the groove and cause tire smoke too. The groove varies per track, some are wider, so I need to be on my game. Like everything else, it’s a team effort from tuning and driving to make a run straight and smooth without any mishaps.

There are a lot of talented drivers and teams this year. Who do you think will be your toughest competition?

Our toughest competition is the Al-Anabi team with AJR. They are the world champs and have been multiple times. That’s who we all are going after with (Shawn) Langdon and (Khalid) (al)Balooshi. But our DSR cars aren’t shabby either. The championship goes through those two teams.

Based on your experience, how has the sport of drag racing changed over the years?

The sport has grown in technology and competition. Just like most sports, there’s more parity. It used to be a handful of teams in each class that could win and now you have more than 10 teams that can win races and compete for a championship. It’s better for the fans.

In addition to Top Fuel dragsters, you’ve also been a world-class runner and pro-stock motorcycle driver. What’s your favorite way to go fast?

My favorite way to go fast is pressing the pedal down in my Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster, trust me. There is nothing like 10,000-hp. The bikes were fun, but there’s no comparison to the fastest accelerating vehicles on the planet.

Watch Antron Brown race his Top Fuel dragster this weekend at the 30th Annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals and follow him via his official website at AntronBrown.com and on Twitter @AntronBrown.