Top Fuel’s Antron Brown Looks to Keep Rolling to open Countdown to the Championship at Pep Boys NHRA Nationals

Pep Boys NHRA Nationals Logo [678]

READING, PA – September 12 2023 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Antron Brown won’t start the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs with the Top Fuel points lead. That honor goes to Justin Ashley on the strength of six wins and a series of spectacular performances during the regular season.

But nobody enters the Countdown to the Championship – and this weekend’s opener, the 38th annual Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway – with more momentum than Brown, who heads into the playoffs on the strength of back-to-back wins in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools/Toyota dragster. That includes victories in Brainerd and at the U.S. Nationals in Indy, bumping Brown up to third in points.

Looking for his fourth career world championship, Brown trails Ashley by just 44 points, with four-time world champion Steve Torrence sandwiched in between at 30 points back of Ashley. With a host of standouts right behind Brown, including Leah Pruett and defending world champion Brittany Force, the veteran and 74-time event winner knows the Countdown will be a challenge. But an immediate win right of the gates this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway – and a third straight overall victory this year – would be a strong statement to start the playoffs.

“This whole team, we’re just getting stronger, and the longer we go and the more we fine-tune it, the better we get,” Brown said. “You’re going to have to give it every ounce of what you’ve got this year. That’s what it’s going to take to win. We’re going to keep working, keep trying things to get better. We know how this Countdown works, so you’ve got to show out. We’ve lost some really close rounds (this year), but we’ve got to keep pushing and keep after it, and it’s starting to swing our way. We finished second last year and we want to do one spot better this Countdown, but it’s going to be tough.”

Austin Prock (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Joey Gladstone (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won last year’s race in Reading, which will again be broadcast on the FOX broadcast network and Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including eliminations coverage starting at either 2 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday on FOX, depending on local listings. It is the first of six playoff races, and the 16th of 21 events during the 2023 NHRA season and Brown is again peaking at the perfect time.

He won for the second straight year in Indy, but opens the Countdown to the Championship in a better place than last season, where Brown started the postseason in sixth. In the loaded Top Fuel field, that can make a major difference, especially also going against the likes of veteran Doug Kalitta, Mike Salinas, Clay Millican, Josh Hart and defending event winner Prock.

Brown, who originally hails from the New Jersey area, has also always enjoyed racing at Maple Grove Raceway. The fan-favorite facility is one of the quickest and fastest tracks on the NHRA tour and Brown has two career Top Fuel wins at the track (2015 and 2016). Both of those victories ultimately led to world championships, which certainly is the goal this year as well. Brown, though, knows it’s a tall mountain to climb, especially with the way Ashley and his team has performed in 2023.

“That team is on fire and it’s definitely the team to beat for the championship, hands down,” Brown said. “It’s an incredible team and we’ve all got our work cut out for us. But I know our team is deadly and if we keep up and keep working, we’ve got as good as a chance as anyone. We’re excited to get back to Maple Grove Raceway and we’ll have a lot of family and friends from (New) Jersey rooting us on. We’re coming off two great wins and we just want to keep that momentum going. We’re gelling at the right time of the season and we’re still hungry to chase another championship.”

Funny Car’s Ron Capps takes a 24-point lead into the playoff opener at Maple Grove Raceway, with defending event winner Hight just 38 points back. Others to watch include Bob Tasca III, J.R. Todd, John Force, Alexis DeJoria, Chad Green, Tim Wilkerson and Cruz Pedregon.

In Pro Stock, Enders will look to defend her event win and start the chase for her sixth championship on a winning note. She currently trails points leader Dallas Glenn, who has four wins this season, by 32 points, with Indy winner Matt Hartford just 25 points back. Other standouts include Troy Coughlin Jr., Aaron Stanfield and Greg Anderson.

Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Gaige Herrera enjoyed a dominant regular season, winning six times, but opens the playoffs with just a 29-point advantage over Indy winner and defending world champ Matt Smith. The rest of the talented field includes Hector Arana Jr., Angie Smith, Eddie Krawiec, rookie Chase Van Sant and Steve Johnson.

The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as action in the Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown category and Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Pro Stock. After nitro qualifying, fans can enjoy a thrilling show from “NitroMike” and his “Walking Tall” P.T. Cruiser Wheelstander.

Fans are invited to the Nitro Alley Stage all weekend, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into Nitro Alley. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets and much more. As always, fans get a pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. They can see their favorite teams in action and servicing their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food and fun.

Race fans at Maple Grove Raceway can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals event winners.

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 2 and 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 15 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 17. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday, 12:30 p.m. on Sunday on FS1, and then eliminations on FOX at 2 or 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday, depending on local listings.

To purchase tickets to the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, fans can visit All children 12 and under are admitted free in the general admission area with a paid adult. For more information on the NHRA, please visit


(includes bonus points earned in Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge)

Top Fuel

1.     Justin Ashley 2,121

2.     Steve Torrence 2,091

3.     Antron Brown 2,077

4.     Leah Pruett 2,063

5.     Brittany Force 2,053

6.     Doug Kalitta 2,046

7.     Mike Salinas 2,033

8.     Austin Prock 2,025

9.     Clay Millican 2,013

10.   Josh Hart 2,000

11.   Shawn Langdon 1,992

12.   Tony Schumacher 1,982


Funny Car

1.     Ron Capps 2,114

2.     Matt Hagan 2,090

3.     Robert Hight 2,076

4.     Bob Tasca III 2,066

5.     J.R. Todd 2,058

6.     Alexis DeJoria 2,047

7.     Chad Green 2,036

8.     Tim Wilkerson 2,020

9.     John Force 2,015

10.   Cruz Pedregon 2,000

11.   Alex Laughlin 1,990

Pro Stock

1.     Dallas Glenn 2,108

2.     Matt Hartford 2,083

3.     Erica Enders 2,076

4.     Troy Coughlin Jr. 2,067

5.     Deric Kramer 2,056

6.     Aaron Stanfield 2,048

7.     Greg Anderson 2,035

8.     Kyle Koretsky 2,024

9.     Camrie Caruso 2,011

10.   Cristian Cuadra 2,000

11.   Bo Butner 1,990

12.   Fernando Cuadra Jr. 1,980

13.   Jerry Tucker 1,970

14.   Mason McGaha 1,960

15.   Chris McGaha 1,950

16.   Fernando Cuadra 1,940

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1.     Gaige Herrera 2,113

2.     Matt Smith 2,084

3.     Hector Arana Jr. 2,076

4.     Eddie Krawiec 2,062

5.     Angie Smith 2,056

6.     Steve Johnson 2,042

7.     Chase Van Sant 2,032

8.     Marc Ingwersen 2,020

9.     Jianna Evaristo 2,010

10.   Kelly Clontz 2,000

11.   Ryan Oehler 1,990

12.   Chris Bostick 1,980


About Camping World Holdings, Inc.

Camping World Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Lincolnshire, IL, (together with its subsidiaries) is the World’s largest retailer of RVs and related products and services. Our vision is to build a long-term legacy business that makes RVing fun and easy. Our Camping World and Good Sam brands have been serving RV consumers since 1966. We strive to build long-term value for our customers, employees, and shareholders by combining a unique and comprehensive assortment of RV products and services with a national network of RV dealerships, service centers and customer support centers along with the industry’s most extensive online presence and a highly trained and knowledgeable team of employees serving our customers, the RV lifestyle, and the communities in which we operate. We also believe that our Good Sam organization and family of programs and services uniquely enable us to connect with our customers as stewards of the RV enthusiast community and the RV lifestyle. With RV sales and service locations in 43 states, Camping World has grown to become the prime destination for everything RV. For more information, visit

About NHRA

Headquartered in San Dimas, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 21 national events featuring the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports, Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown™ and Top Fuel Harley Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and NHRA Street Legal™. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street® program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League® for youth ages 5 to 17. With 120 Member Tracks, NHRA allows racers to compete at a variety of locations nationally and internationally. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services® (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. NHRA’s streaming service,®, allows fans to view all NHRA national events as well as exclusive features of the sport. In addition, NHRA owns and operates three racing facilities: Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park; and In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip in Southern California. For more information, log on to, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Source: National Hot Rod Association

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series


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