Three-time NHRA Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown raced to victory for the 72nd time in his career Sunday at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Brown used consistency in his Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster to collect his fourth Las Vegas spring race win, though it’s his first four-wide triumph at the facility.
Brown started race day from the No. 9 position after posting a best run of 3.769 seconds at 333.00 MPH in the third qualifying session. In an ultra-competitive first-round quad with fellow world champions Brittany Force and Tony Schumacher, Brown advanced with a 3.780-second effort at 321.65 MPH to beat Schumacher’s 3.789 E.T. by .009 seconds, finishing .004 seconds behind Force. It was Force and Brown advancing in the second round too, as Brown left the starting line first and posted a 3.769 E.T. to move on over Leah Pruett and Rob Passey. Brown finished second behind Force by just .009.
Brown was the first to the finish line when it mattered: in the final round. He was the first off the starting line and laid down his best run of the weekend, a 3.760 E.T. at 319.75 MPH, to beat Steve Torrence’s 3.774 E.T., Force’s 3.769 E.T., and Josh Hart’s 3.791-second effort.
“Man, (Force) beat us in the first round by four-thou, second round by nine-thou, but we got ‘em on the third try,” Brown said. “Third times a charm. We knew we had to step it up against them because that car has been so consistent, it’s a Xerox machine; that’s why they’re the defending champs.”
Aside from third-year Top Fuel driver Hart, the finalists represented the last eight Top Fuel world championships. Together, the four drivers gave the Las Vegas fans an exciting side-by-side show to end the weekend.
“When you’re racing four-wide, everything is crazy,” Brown said. “It’s kind of a battle royal, and the final round was no exception. Every round was a tough match-up. Look at the final today – you’ve got the four-time champ in Steve; Brittany, a two-time champ; myself; and Josh Hart; it was a battle royal. To come out with that win, that was definitely a statement for our Matco Tools, Lucas Oil, Toyota, FVP, FDC, Hangsterfer’s, SiriusXM team. That was a heck of a win. I’m just super pumped, super proud.”
The former Pro Stock Motorcycle star now has six overall wins at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He also has the most final quad appearances among the pro categories in the ‘four-wide era,’ with 10 appearances between the Las Vegas and Charlotte events. That includes two wins and a runner-up finish at the Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte.
Last season, Brown won his first event as a team owner late in the regular season at Topeka in August. He realizes the advantage he has after winning in just the fourth event of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series season, and he’s motivated to find continued late-round success to put his AB Motorsports team back in championship contention. After entering the race ranked ninth, Brown is now tied for fourth with Mike Salinas on the Camping World Series Top Fuel leaderboard.
“The more laps we get, the more we learn, and the more we learn, the better we get,” Brown said. “So, that being said, if we go into the Countdown and we go in there as a top-tier team, we don’t have to play catch-up and that’s the game plan. We want to go in there as a top-three team. We’re going to work our tails off to make that happen, but so will many of our competitors. There are 12 cars that can win on any given Sunday; it could be anybody’s race, so our main focus is to keep improving, turn on win lights, and if you can do that, you’ll be in a good spot going into the playoffs. Who gets the most laps and learns from them will be the ones left standing at the end.”
Brown now heads East seeking a second consecutive four-wide win at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 28-30 at zMAX Dragway, where he last won at the NHRA Carolina Nationals last September.
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