ENGLISHTOWN, NJ – June 5, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – The chance to compete at his hometown track never gets old for Antron Brown, a Chesterfield, N.J. native who grew up racing at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, the site of this weekend’s 48th annual NHRA Summernationals. But the race also seems to invigorate Brown to do something great the rest of the season.
Brown has won back-to-back Top Fuel championships, winning 10 of his 14 races in that span either at Englishtown or after the event. It’s an impressive sign that Brown only seems to get better in his 10,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster as the season progresses, and the 63-time event winner believes the boost he gets at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park is a big reason why.
“When I get to come home, I start thinking about the big picture about why I do what I do,” said Brown, who is second in the Top Fuel points standings. “I just don’t go out there and act like I’m happy to be out there. I go out there to compete because of how hard we’ve worked to make this all happen. When I come back here, it’s a pure reminder that I can’t be idle and take it all for granted. I want to put the work in and get better, and this race ignites me for the rest of the year.”
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including finals coverage starting at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, June 11. It is the 10th of 24 events during a 2017 season that has been just as impressive as the last two for Brown, a three-time world champion. Brown has two wins and four final round appearances in 2017, including last weekend’s runner-up finish in Epping.
But Brown refuses to be satisfied in a class loaded with championship contenders, including Don Schumacher Racing teammates Leah Pritchett, the current points leader, eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher, two-time 2017 winner Steve Torrence, Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force, who topped Brown in Epping. For Brown, it’s all about continuing to raise the bar on what he’s done.
“The driving force, not just for me but for my entire team, is that we want to compete,” Brown said. “The harder the challenge, the more it forces us to evolve and get better, and become greater than before. Over the last several years it’s just getting tougher and tougher, but the challenge is to continue to elevate your game. Can we be a champion again? Do what have what it takes to do it again when the stakes are even higher? That brings out the best in our team. When it gets to that, it pushes us into a corner and I feel like we do our best when we feel that pressure.”
Brown has proven that time and time again, and the start to his NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season indicates he’s answering that bell yet again in 2017. Brown and his team, led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, have worked incredibly well together, performing almost impeccably in pressure situations. But reaching that level of success wouldn’t have come without his early days at Englishtown, something Brown will reflect on this weekend.
“I just look forward to coming back to my roots, being with my dad and my uncle, and reminiscing about where I got the first love for the sport and where it’s gotten to me today,” said Brown, who won in Top Fuel at the track in 2015. “It’s a lot of fun to come here and just think back to when this was all a childhood dream, thinking about all the good times and bad times to get there.”
Funny Car’s Matt Hagan won for the third time in 2017 last weekend in Epping, snapping a four-race win streak by defending event winner, reigning world champ and current points leader Capps.
Greg Anderson’s seventh Pro Stock win at Englishtown came in 2016 and he is after his third straight victory at the track against the likes of points leader Bo Butner and rookie Tanner Gray.
Angelle Sampey’s first Pro Stock Motorcycle victory since 2007 came at last year’s race, but she’s chasing points leader Eddie Krawiec and L.E. Tonglet, who has won two straight events in 2017.
The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series makes its sixth of 12 stops in the 2017 season in Englishtown. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport. After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can watch the spectacular Larsen Motorsports jet dragsters sponsored by Florida Tech and Matrix System. Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 3:45 and 6:15 p.m. on Friday, June 9 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 10, at 1:45 and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 11.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at (732) 446-7800. Tickets also are available online at www.racewaypark.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association