Heading into last year’s AAA Texas Fall Nationals, the second race of the Countdown to the Championship, Antron Brown wasn’t exactly feeling confident.

Not only had he just lost the NHRA Top Fuel points lead after a less-than-impressive effort in Charlotte, N.C., but he was heading to a track where he had never been able to move past the semifinals. 

“Yeah, we had had some good runs at the Motorplex but for whatever reason we just weren’t able to get it done -- until last year,” said the defending Top Fuel champ.

And now that Brown has broken through with that initial win in Ennis, he feels sure he can make it happen again during this fall’s Sept. 19-22 event.

“It’s going to feel great being back at the Motorplex,” said Brown. “I love that place and we always run good times there; if we have good weather we could put down some great runs. And, if it’s hot we can still make some good runs because it is such a good track. 

Brown got off to a slow start in last year’s event, but he and the team kept working on the car and it kept getting better and better.

“We had some trials there last year – it wasn’t easy,” he said. “But we kept pushing and pushing and we kind of snuck through the first round, had a little tire-smoker and ended up getting the win. Then, we had Shawn Langdon in the second round and we were able to take him out. We had a really good run in the semis (against Morgan Lucas) and in the finals against Spencer (Massey) we just took it from A to B and were able to get the win, which was really gratifying.

“That place was crucial in us going after, and winning, that championship. We had come out of Charlotte third in the points after we had been leading. That race really got us back into the game and set us up for the next race. It definitely built the morale on the team, and it really set us on the path to the title.”

Brown currently sits fifth in the Top Fuel standings, behind leader Langdon, Tony Schumacher, Massey and Doug Kalitta. Still, he’s upbeat about a return trip to Texas

“I absolutely feel like I can win it again this year,” he said. “It’s always been a good track for us and this year we know what it takes to win.”

Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are available now, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5.  

For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.

Gates open at 10 a.m. , Sept. 19 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.