Brown tests at LVMS with eyes on 2020 season, new business venture
Antron Brown has piled up a long list of accomplishments during his time in drag racing. He's a three-time Top Fuel world champion and has 66 career wins between Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle racing.
Brown is entering his 23rd season of NHRA competition, but there is a new buzz surrounding him and his team as he tests his dragster at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.
Brown has created his own company - AB Motorsports - and is beginning the long transition to becoming a team owner.
"We're still in the process of it, and right now this is still all Don Schumacher Racing," Brown said. "We're putting our head down and working, and hopefully in the near future we can keep doing this new team as a satellite, with DSR as the backbone. I can't thank Don Schumacher enough for letting this happen. Also, Matco Tools - they've been the rock for me for over 12 years now and they're fully on-board, along with Global Electronic Technology."
In addition to the multitude of experience he's earned on the race track, Brown says he's learned just as much about the business side of what it takes to run a racing team from being around Schumacher. While this isn't a completely new frontier for Brown - who operated his own race team during his Pro Motorcycle days - he realizes this is a different ballgame.
"It's nothing new for me, but it's going to this high level where the dollars spent are astronomically different than racing motorcycles," Brown said. "That's where you start pulling your hair out, but the good news is I don't have any hair left to pull out.
"I'm pinching myself because it feels like a dream, but I know there's a whole bunch of hard work still laid out that we have to do to achieve what we want. I learned from watching the people in front of me - I see what Don does day-in and day-out and how this organization is run."
Brown has his former crew chief Brian Corradi back on his team, joining longtime crew chief Mark Oswald. Brad Mason has also returned to the fold to assist with management of the car. Brown equates this as his dream team.
"We have Batman back with Robin. We have Brian, Mark and Brad and all the boys behind me and we all work well together and know what each other are thinking," Brown said. "We have that brain trust back, which makes me feel good because I can focus on driving the cars and making them go fast."
After finishing ninth in the world standings due to sputtering in the final six races - after being in the top three for most of the 2019 season - Brown was excited to get back out to LVMS and test his car.
"I love coming out here to this great racing facility, The Strip; it's a first-class facility," he said. "To come out here and knock off the cobwebs with this great weather has been phenomenal. The track has been great, and you can see all the energy in the guys, including myself. We're ready to get after it, and testing here really sets the tone to go to Pomona."
Brown was pleased with the way his testing went over the weekend. He was focused mainly on his car and its performance - and also on a certain pizza place.
"My focus is on this race car - and on Pizza Rock in Old Vegas," Brown said with a smile. "I'll be going there for sure - that's as exciting as it gets for AB. I'm not staying on the (Las Vegas) Strip - the only Strip I'm coming to is the drag strip. I'm keeping my money in my pocket, and I can't afford to gamble because I'll have a lot more bills to pay now pretty soon."
Brown will return to Las Vegas April 3-5 for the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Tickets are available here.