GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 10, 2012) – While Antron Brown was signing autographs for a long line of fans Saturday afternoon, the NHRA Top Fuel points leader’s uncle Andre Brown stood nearby and wondered “what if?”
What if Antron’s grandmother Dolores didn’t overrule his parent’s wishes and go out and buy him the dirt bike he wanted when he was 5 years old?
“That’s what got him started with racing,” Andre said.
It also helped fuel Antron’s passion that his father Albert and Andre are lifelong, avid NHRA Sportsman racers, a passion they inherited from their father, Albert Sr.
Antron, who qualified seventh for Sunday’s Top Fuel dragster championship eliminations, still delivers memories to his uncle.
“That’s how he was,” Andre said as he watched Antron sign an autograph for a youngster. “He had that same look in his eyes that these kids do.”
Antron, 36, is off the best start of his pro career. He was runner-up at the Full Throttle series opening race, and three weeks ago won near Phoenix to earn the 32nd NHRA event title, the last 16 of which have been in Top Fuel.
Andre headed south from his home in New Jersey to be with his nephew this weekend for the NHRA Tire Kingdom Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com at the fabled Gainesville dragstrip in Florida.
Andre and Albert, who still race a 160-mph Super Comp dragster, had their hands in shaping Antron’s desire to race.
“He would help us work on the race car and he also loved racing his dirt bike and then motorcycles,” Andre said.
Andre and Albert took over their father’s septic service business and that prevented them from achieving a goal of drag racing professionally.
“We’re just so proud of what Antron has accomplished,” Andre said. “He’s fulfilling our dreams and we’re living those dreams through him.
“We’re just riding his coattails.”
And Antron is thrilled that he has been able to deliver that dream to them.
“My dad and uncle have worked so hard for us and no words can explain what it means when they’re out here,” Antron said. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and my grandparents.”
Especially his grandmother.
Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
QUALIFYING POSITION: No. 7
FIRST ROUND OPPONENT: David Grubnic
Session 1: 4.750 sec., 160.77 mph
Session 2: 3.861, 314.97
Session 3: 3.854, 317.94
Session 4: 3.832, 320.43
Sunday: Championship eliminations begin 11 a.m.
** Move clocks ahead by one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday for Daylight Savings Time.
4-5 a.m. (ET) 1-2 a.m. (PT)
5-6 p.m. (ET) 2-3 p.m. (PT)
6-9 p.m. (ET) 3-6 p.m. (PT)
Weather.com reports a high of 77 degrees with a 30 percent chance of rain on race day.
About Matco Tools
Matco Tools manufactures, distributes and services premium quality automotive equipment, tools, and tool storage for the professional technician. The company has more than 60 years of national brand experience in the automotive equipment industry and a vast product line of more than 13,000 of the highest quality, innovative tools and accessories. The company’s franchise offering has no franchise, royalty, or advertising fees. Initial corporate and ongoing local training create and build outstanding value for the franchisee’s business. For more information on Matco Tools products or franchise opportunities, visit www.matcotools.com.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 176 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.