Antron Brown set the bar as high possible for himself after winning NHRA Top Fuel world championships in 2012, 2015-16.
This past season, the Don Schumacher Racing pilot finished sixth in the points standings in a season that saw plenty of ups and downs for him and his team.
The biggest change for his team was co-crew chief Brian Corradi leaving in the 2017 offseason to join Courtney Force’s nitro Funny Car team at John Force Racing.
With Corradi’s departure, Mark Oswald remained as co-crew chief for Brown and he was joined by Brad Mason.
“This is the thing that a lot of people don’t realize,” Brown said. “We lost Brian Corradi and he and Mark did everything together so when we lost Brian, we brought an entry level guy in and moved guys up on our team. With our team we used to have Brian, Mark and Brad who would go over everything on the race car and look over all the data. Then, we went to Brad and Mark looking over all the data and then Brad was teaching our cylinder head guy Kyle (Weekley) to be the car chief where he could start looking over stuff on the car. When you look at it that way, we actually lost a senior personnel person from our race team. Then, Kyle had to learn his position and he was responsible for every crew guy on the team and the job they do, which Brad used to do.
It was normal stuff you go through and we fared quite well. We only got better and more comfortable and we are only going to be that much stronger.”
Meshing the new pieces together also wasn’t the only thing keeping Brown’s team on its toes.
“We had some mechanical parts failures on our car in (2018) that were out of our control that came from vendors,” Brown said. “We already had one hill to climb and then we had all this stuff stacked on our back, stuff that never normally happened.”
Brown believes last season will be a springboard for success in 2019.
“I thought we were really on to something really, really good because when we went there and won Seattle and then we were runner-up in Brainerd (Minn.),” Brown said. “We started going rounds and the car was running good and going down the track and I beat Steve-O (Torrence) two races in a row in the semifinals and then his dad (Billy) beat me in Brainerd to stop us from doubling up. Our team was starting to get on a roll. With that being said, I know what we are capable of and I know what we have got and that is what makes me feel real good going into 2019.”
Steve Torrence won the 2018 NHRA Top Fuel world title, the first of his career.
Brown also plans to be in the best shape of his life when the 2019 season is unwrapped at the Winternationals Feb. 7-10 in Pomona, Calif.
“I have got a lot of stuff personally off my back,” he said. “I’m not building a new home. I’m not traveling across the world and I’m not doing a whole bunch of different TV shows and different stuff like that. Now, in 2019, I’m fully focused on racing. I just can’t wait. I’m just excited because I’m going to get rested and rejuvenated and I’m in shape and I’m going to get in even better shape and we’re going to come out swinging hard in 2019.”