Antron Brown will enjoy the offseason as much as anyone after breaking a long dry spell with his first Top Fuel victory in more than a year and a half. Brown won the season-ending Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil by upsetting his good friends, freshly recrowned three-time world champ Steve Torrence in the final round on a 3.75 to 3.74 holeshot.
Brown, the three-time world champ who had been winless since the Seattle event in the summer of 2018, reached his 124th career final, a total split over a successful career in Pro Stock Motorcycle and an even more successful run in Top Fuel.
“This was medicine today. We’ve been so close at a lot of races, but just in the wrong spot at the wrong time," said Brown. " Sometimes, you’ve got to have a little luck on your side. We just stayed poised. It really started about three races ago and it paid dividends this weekend. We’re just going to keep our heads down, work harder and smarter this off-season. We’re going to be that much farther ahead next year. We’re going to pick up where we left off this year. Winning here is a great motivator for the guys."
“It feels great and it was a whole team effort,” Brown said. “Everyone is working hard and we’re looking forward to next year. Everybody stuck with us and it’s a process. We just never gave up when the chips were down. We stayed persistent.”
Brown, who reached the final round twice in 2019 and was defeated by Torrence in his most recent final that year in Richmond, Va., reached the final round from the No. 4 qualifying spot by defeating his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher in round one, then defeated another former world champ in Shawn Langdon in round two. Brown’s biggest hurdle to the final came in the semifinals against low qualifier Billy Torrence, but Torrence’s machine faltered early and Brown took a fortunate victory despite a cylinder-dropping 4.04 pass.
Torrence reached his seventh final round in 10 starts this season, beating fellow Texans Kebin Kinsley and Troy Buff in the first two rounds, then earning the final-round berth by putting a holeshot on the year’s holeshot king, rookie of the year Justin Ashley. Torrence’s red and black Capco Contractors machine left with a superb .037 reaction time, which is usually Ashley territory, but the first-year pro picked the worst time to have one of his worst lights of the year, .078, and Torrence won on a holeshot, 3.75 to 3.72.