His close friends like to call NHRA Top Fuel driver Antron Brown by his initials, “A.B.”
But after the 2015 season, Brown should be referred to as “A.B.C.” – as in Antron Brown, champion.
The way Brown won last year’s Top Fuel crown may have looked easy, like A-B-C, you might say, earning a class-best and career-best seven wins and three runner-up finishes in 24 starts.
But it was anything but easy for Brown, who put his championship trophy next to the one he won in 2012.
Now, after an off-season where he basked in his second championship, it’s back to work for the driver of the Don Schumacher Racing Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster.
Can Brown make it two titles in a row and a third overall? No problem, it’s like ABC, Brown said.
“The formula hasn’t changed but we have to evolve and get even better,” Brown said in a media release. “Everybody else in the class has made adjustments to improve and that’s what we’re striving to do.
“We have to be just as efficient but even quicker. In this age, you have to be the quickest and most efficient. That’s where the level is at in this class. We just have to keep on pushing to try and make more history.
“It takes a whole team to have that strong competitive drive and that’s what makes our team so special. Each team member keeps everyone in check and that’s what it takes to be successful.”
Since switching from racing Pro Stock Motorcycle to Top Fuel in 2008, Brown has racked up 38 wins in the dragster category. Including his 16 national event wins on a motorcycle, Brown now has 54 total career wins.
But he wants more, more, more.
“When you assemble all the same people together who share that same passion, that’s when you can make unbelievable things a reality,” Brown said. “I think, as a team, we’re ready to defend this title. We have a little building to do but that will come in time. It’s important to get back on that same jell level.
“To see how we grew last year, it was very exciting. (Crew chiefs) Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) were planning to peak at the right time and we just kept getting better and better. We grew throughout the whole year and capitalized on that when we got to the Countdown. To win seven races and as many rounds as we did with the competition level in this class, it was just phenomenal.”
Brown and every other major national Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock driver is at this weekend’s season-opening 56th annual Circle K Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.
To say the least, Brown – a three-time winner at Pomona – is ready to get going – and maybe add to his initials, adding “D” as in his hopes of being equally or even more dominant than he was in 2015.
“You want to see all the work in the offseason come to fruition and hopefully we are ready to go out there and pick up where we left off,” Brown said. “With all the buzz from the fans on social media that I’ve seen, people are ready to go back out to the races.
“It’s always great going back to Pomona because it’s a historic place for our sport. Plus, we know that we can throw down there and go and run for records.”
NOTES: Ironically enough, Brown started last season with a runner-up finish in the season-opening race at Pomona, and then finished runner-up in the season-ending race, also at Pomona, having clinched the championship the week before. … Brown is one win away from tying Kenny Bernstein for fourth on the all-time Top Fuel wins list (39). … Joining Brown as defending NHRA season champions from 2015 are Del Worsham (first career Funny Car championship), Erica Enders (second consecutive Pro Stock championship) and Andrew Hines (fifth career Pro Stock Motorcycle championship). … Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) are defending champs from last year’s Winternationals. … Sunday’s final eliminations will be televised live on Fox Sports 1, starting at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.
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