Hello again all my NHRA.com Nitroholics. The 2013 season has been like a Cedar Point roller coaster ride and we’re only three races in. I can’t wait to see what the other 21 races have in store and we’ll find out in a few weeks when we head back out West to Las Vegas for our first of two visits to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I'm hoping there are more races like Gainesville!
Our Matco Tools team here at DSR did a great job of moving on from a tough situation at Pomona. I’m very blessed to be driving here at DSR and to have a well-built Matco Tools dragster. I was able to walk away pretty much unscathed from a violent crash. I want to thank all the fans for the well wishes and words of support at the track, via e-mail, on Facebook and Twitter. It means so much to hear the words of encouragement, so thank you all.
It was good for our entire team to regroup at Phoenix the next weekend rather than have time to think about it. I went home to get checked out by my doctor, while my team worked away at putting our backup car together. It was like getting bucked off the horse and getting right back on it. We ran 3.76 on Friday’s second lap at Phoenix to grab the provisional No. 1 spot before Doug Kalitta got us on Saturday’s last run. We had a solid performance on race day until the semifinals when I wasn’t on my game. I was late and Tony was on it and the Army team got us and went on to the win, but overall Phoenix was a great rebound event for our Matco team; made all of us go back to work hard!
I went straight from Phoenix to San Diego for Matco’s Tool Expo at the beautiful Grand Hyatt hotel. I always have a great time at Expo. The Matco distributors and their families make me feel like an “A list” celebrity. It was such an awesome time for them to get to take pictures with the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series championship trophy. Let me tell you, after @MatcoTools Expo, my right hand got a good workout from signing autographs. Matco’s send-off dinner this year was on the U.S.S. Midway. San Diego is a fantastic military town and it was so cool to tour the Midway and for all the Matco families to get to take tours and see the fighter planes and use the simulators before heading home to sell the best tools in the business. And hey, if you’ve ever thought about a career change and want to be your own boss and join our championship team with Matco, go to www.gomatco.com
to see about becoming a Matco Tools franchise owner.
After Phoenix, we had a few off weeks, in which I worked hard in gym, spent time with the family and got to join some of the other championship winning teams and drivers based in the state of Indiana for Indiana Motorsports Day at the Indiana Statehouse on March 5. We got to stand in with the state House and Senate and then got some time with newly elected Gov. Mike Pence. DSR presented Gov. Pence with a special NHRA “Wally” trophy for his office in the State Capitol building.
Gainesville was another busy race for the brothaman. I met Scott Smith of NHRA on Wednesday and we did a media tour in Jacksonville before driving down to Gainesville. Let me tell you, I didn’t get a ticket driving through Waldo or Starke on 301 this year! Both John Force and I have gotten tickets on that darn road. LOL On Thursday, I joined “Fast Jack” and DSR’s Sr. Vice President Mike Lewis for an event with Sandvik’s mining division in Alachua, Fla. What a great group of people who love NHRA racing. That night, I attend my first-ever Don Garlits Drag Racing Hall of Fame dinner at the Paramount Hotel. I was asked to present inductee Louis Senter. It was so cool to meet a pioneer of drag racing and hot rodding. Louis was one of the people that helped form SEMA. I even got to spend some time with Louis family when I was in California for Toyota Motorsports Day last week. They are my new extended Cali family.
The Gators was another good event for us. We qualified second, again, after Doug Kalitta got us again on Q4, again. Racing from the No. 2 spot, Brian and Mark and the Matco boys gave us a 3.7-second bracket car. We held off DSR teammate Spencer Massey in the semis to race up against my buddy Clay Millican, who’s going to be a force all season long over there at Vandergriff’s. With Johnny Gray in one half of the Funny Car final, we had a chance to get DSR’s 200th win. After Johnny knocked off Del, DSR had win No. 199. We put down low ET of the day at 3.761 in the finals and grabbed the win light and win No. 200 for DSR. It was such a special day for many reasons. Don got win No. 200 at his home track in Gainesville with many of his Florida friends in attendance. I won my first-ever Gatornationals “Wally” after many years. I’ve been trying to win the Gators since 1998. The ’98 Gators was my first career NHRA race. And Johnny got to put his beautiful Pitch Energy Funny Car in the winner’s circle to celebrate his father’s memory. Johnny and his sister, Terry, were very emotional. Can you believe Johnny and I have double-up three times?
We flew home from Gainesville Monday and I was back on the road on Wednesday night. I flew to LAX for Toyota Motorsports Day at Toyota USA headquarters in Torrance, Calif. All the Toyota Racing drivers gather for a few hours to sign autographs and lunch. That night, I met up with Louis Senter’s family Rodney, Marsha and grandson, Shane, for dinner and I got to meet NFL icon Jim Brown. I now call him Uncle Jim now. Joking aside, what a great opportunity to meet a great legendary person. We also got to see Bruce Meyer’s private car collection where I saw famous Greer, Black & Prudhomme bright yellow dragster. All I can say is amazing! They even had Terry Vance's leathers there. The next day, I drove to Fontana to attend the STEM program for Toyota and then hung out in the NASCAR garage for a few hours before flying home. I got to sit in Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 Camry. Maybe, just maybe, Clint will sit in my Matco Tools dragster later this year. We’ll see…
I came home on Friday night before we got hit with a big winter storm on Sunday. We got 8 inches of snow, which isn’t the way for the kids to start spring break, but let me tell you, they did have some fun playing in the snow on Monday. It’s Easter this weekend, so have a great weekend and remember the reason for the holiday. It’s not to eat Reese’s eggs. LOL
I head out again Monday for our annual visit to Western Technical College in El Paso, Texas before getting into Vegas on Wednesday. If you’re coming to Vegas, stop by our annual NHRA Fan Fest at DSR’s Vegas home New York-New York Hotel & Casino at 6 p.m. in the Staten Island Room. There were be a ton of NHRA stars there. We’re going to try and keep our momentum going strong. All the best and thanks for reading.
Until next time, a little love, peace and hair grease, and I’m out like shout.
Happy 2013 to all of my NHRA.com blog readers! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that your 2013 is off to a great start.
Let me go back a few weeks and get you caught up on what the Brothaman has been up to since I last blogged. We had the DSR Christmas party and championship celebration on Dec. 21 at the JW Marriott in downtown Indy. It’s always a great way for everyone at DSR to get together and wrap up our incredible season. Everyone lets loose and has a good time. I won’t name any names, but I spied some crew guys doing Gangnam Style on the dance floor. Whoop whoop! Did any of y’all check out Psy and Hammer on New Year’s Eve? Seeing Hammer makes me feel old, Can’t Touch This.
My wonderful wife Billie Jo managed to get the kids and me standing still long enough to capture a great family photo for our Christmas cards. In a lot of the pictures my future star Arianna was trying to steal the show. We’re not a bad looking bunch when you get us all cleaned up and my daughter will let you know that. LOL
Santa found the Brown house and delivered goodies to my kids including video games, Spiderman and even a mermaid outfit for my daughter Arianna. Let’s just say there’s no shortage of things to do for the kids. They love those iPads, let me tell you.
Mother Nature dumped more than 13 inches of snow on us and the kids were loving that too. We took the family up to Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Ind. and went tubing. The cold weather wasn’t kind to the Brown’s tough. Both Billie Jo and Arianna both got colds.
The boys at the shop are hard at work getting things ready to go testing in just a couple of weeks in West Palm Beach, Fla. If you live in the area or just want a winter escape, come see us for the PRO Winter Warm-up on Jan. 18 and 19. The Matco Tools dragster will have a new look along with the canopy like “the Sarge” had last year. They are getting fixed up at the DSR shop as I write this. In fact, our freshly painted body just got back from Olson Paint & Body today.
While the off season has been great, I’m ready to climb back in my dragster and get things started in 2013. I’ve been working hard and staying right and tight in the gym and playing basketball with the boys. We had 18 guys last night including a bunch from DSR. A few of my Matco boys played, and even three of Ron Capps’ NAPA crew showed up. I had to give them a little NAPA Know How on the court though.
Have a great weekend and we’ll check back in soon and let you know how testing is going. Time for some love, peace and @Valvoline NextGen grease. I’m out… like a shout!
The family at Palermo’s in NJ. #tomatopie
The brothaman is back on the blog. I know it’s been a long time and we have a lot of catching up to do. Where should we start? How about with a big THANK YOU to all of our great NHRA fans for their support not only throughout the entire season, but for all of the congratulatory messages for me and my Matco Tools boys on our 2012 TF championship.
It’s been a busy start to the off season so far. We celebrated on Monday night after Pomona at the NHRA banquet and then I flew straight to Louisiana to relax and race my RC boats. I cleaned up at the event, bringing home eight trophies. Baby, my nickname for my wife Billie Jo, won’t let me keep them in the house. They are in the garage with my boats. She’s not a big fan of my RC boat hobby. Speaking of Baby, I planned a surprise party for her in Louisiana with all of her friends and family for her birthday. She turned the big 4-0, so I had to do it up right.
Once we got back to Indy our team and their loved ones joined us for the Brownsburg Holiday Parade of Lights. I never thought I’d be hanging with Santa in a parade. LOL It was really nice to see all of the support from our home base. There were a ton of people lined up on the streets of Brownsburg on Dec. 1 as our black Matco Tools team Toyota Sequoia was decked out in lights.
After the parade everyone headed back to the Brown household to celebrate. It was really great to be able to hang with my guys and celebrate such an incredible 2012 season. I can’t thank them enough for all of their hard work and we really need to thank Kyle “Happyham” Cunningham at DSR for the fantastic season-long recap video he did of our team. All those still photos from Auto Imagery and the GoPro video footage came in really handy.
Last week I went to downtown Indy for the IMIS show before heading off to New Jersey to celebrate with all of my family. Our pink Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” dragster was on display along with “Fast Jack’s” Valvoline NextGen Funny Car at the IMIS show. More about the pink dragster shortly. It was a great weekend and so many of my Jersey friends and family came out to see me. Check out the mini Matco Tools dragster they put on the cake! It’s missing the wing though. I’m gonna have to try and hook up with Buddy from Cake Boss next year at Englishtown. Now, I bet he could make an awesome dragster cake.
You all remember when the brothaman sported a pink dragster, fire suit and helmet for Matco’s “Tools for the Cause” breast cancer awareness campaign back in October at Reading and Las Vegas? Well the boys that run the DSR eBay store at @shoeracing just put up all of the pink gear for auction. All proceeds go to directly to Susan G. Komen For the Cure. My helmet and firesuit are up for bid along with crew shirts, hats and an awesome 1/16th scale pink die cast done up by my boy Jim Ledbetter in Cali. Happy bidding! http://www.ebay.com/sch/shoe_racing/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=25&_trksid=p3686
The Brown family will be spending the holidays here in Indiana. I wish you all a very blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! Time for some love, peace and @Valvoline NextGen grease. I’m out… like a shout!
Riding horses with the family
My kids at Dinosaur World.
Greetings NHRA.com Nitroholics! I’m in Indy and getting ready to head down south to Texas on Wednesday morning, and I mean early. My flight leaves before 6 a.m.
We are coming off a strong outing in Charlotte where DSR finished 1-2-3 in the Top Fuel class. We’re also 1-2-3 in the Top Fuel standings with my two teammates ahead of me by a few points. Let’s see if we can’t put this Matco team back atop the standings and the place of my first Top Fuel win. Houston will always be special to me for that reason, 2008.
The Brown family has been keeping busy. After Vegas, we went to Cave City, Ky.,and had a blast. My oldest son, Anson, was fascinated by the caves and we even hit up Dinosaur World while we were there too. It was a fun learning experience for everyone, including me. We even rode horses….let’s just say I’m used to a little more than one horsepower. It was a great Spring Break trip for the Brown’s and we didn’t have to get on an airplane or drive for days.
On Saturday morning at Charlotte in the DSR hospitality area we hosted a charity breakfast for Speedway Children’s Charities and Doug Herbert’s organization, B.R.A.K.E.S. I can’t say I’m great at flipping pancakes but it was a lot of fun. I told everyone that if I wasn’t already married to my wonderful wife and had my three kids, that John Force better watch out ‘cause I’d be after Courtney. LOL Baby, that was a joke baby. That got Force’s attention and then he took over the microphone. Imagine that! We had a lot of fun and John says he might even be my real father. LOL We need to thank everyone who came out to support such a good cause. It can’t be a bad thing to piggyback of John’s fame, right?
Practicing before eliminations at Charlotte
We qualified third for the Four-Wide Nationals, but that doesn’t mean we had it easy. The opening round was against my teammate Spencer Massey, Morgan Lucas and Hillary Will. Talk about a tough way to start the day. It was the Nos. 1-2-3 in the points squaring off in the first round. That’s just crazy. Both Spencer and I advanced out of the opening round and went on to win the next quad as well.
Doug Kalitta was in a Don Schumacher Racing sandwich in the final quad against Spencer Massey, Tony Schumacher and myself. DSR came up 1-2-3 in the end and that was pretty cool to see. Have to give it up to those FRAM boys, they are on fire with three wins and that jaw-dropping 332-mph speed in that final. Spencer roared by me at halftrack like I was standing still. That was impressive. I’m not sure who’s No. 1 on NHRA’s hot list, Spencer or Robert Hight. Both of those guys are on fire.
I’ve been hitting the gym hard with my wife, Billie, and chilling out around the house. My daughter Arianna was in a play, Aladdin, over the weekend and I’m very proud of her. She’s a natural on the stage. I wonder where she gets it from?
I head into Houston on Wednesday for a U.S. Army school visit and then our annual Thursday night Matco Tools track dinner with my boy and Matco distributor Bryan Robinson and the “Off The Chain” racing team. Brian beat cancer and he has a great cause and you can learn more on Facebook.
If you’re on my Twitter (@AntronBrownTF) or Facebook page (Antron Brown - Top Fuel Pilot) you probably saw me answering fan questions last week. There were some great technical questions and some funny ones too. We have a lot of fun doing stuff like that, so look for more of that later this year. We started doing DSR driver social media chats, so check out @shoeracing on Twitter for more info and to see who will chat with you fans at Houston this weekend.