Brown could become first African-American to win major American auto racing season championship at Las Vegas
BROWNSBURG, Ind. – It’s already been an amazing year for New Jersey-native Antron Brown, and it could become history making.
He will arrive in Las Vegas next week with a commanding points lead when the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals begins Friday.
And he is poised to become the first African-American to win a major American auto racing season championship. He can mathematically clinch the world championship at Las Vegas.
It certainly has been 10 months to remember.
Just what his three children have done to entertain him and wife, Billie Jo, at their home in Pittsboro, Ind., would fill volumes.
Not to mention his guest appearance on the hugely popular “Storage Wars” on the A&E cable network in May where he provided an estimate on high-performance part from a storage locker bought by series star Barry Weiss, with whom Brown has become good friends.
However, Brown’s accomplishments on NHRA dragstrips across the country this year could fill a book.
The 36-year-old is nearing the end to his best season in five years driving Top Fuel Dragsters and the past three for Don Schumacher Racing. It can get even better after the upcoming last two races of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
Brown already has won six event titles this year marking the third time in his five-year Top Fuel career and second consecutive season he’s done that. He also has advanced to championship rounds in 11 of 21 events this year in his Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster with crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, and their crew nicknamed the “Wolf Pack.”
He has battled with DSR teammates Spencer Massey and seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher all season for the points lead. But Brown pulled out to a 104-point lead after setting a national elapsed-time record of 3.701 seconds and advancing to the championship round in his pink Matco “Tools for the Cause” dragster on Oct. 8 near Reading, Pa.
“We’ve just been very fortunate, and I’m just staying humble,” Brown said. You’ve just got to be humble because, if not, the sport will humble you and make you cringe. You go from zero to zero in our sport, and that’s why I just keep the same attitude I always have.
“We’re basically going to the last two races keeping our head down, and we want to stay on the offensive side, keep attacking. We have got to keep attacking if we want to have the hopes to actually bring this championship home. And that’s the way we’re looking at these last two races is that they’re do or die. We’ve got to go in and not leave one “i” un-dotted and one “t” uncrossed. We’ve got to go in there and just keep digging and digging, and hopefully we can be there at the end and contend and try to bring this championship home.
“You’ve just got to appreciate the guys that make it happen because you can look at our (organization), Tony, Spencer and myself have confidence in ourselves because we know we can in our cars and get a job done. All three of us would be nothing if we didn’t have the stout teams we have.
“We go out there and we push each other, and our crew guys do the same thing. The thing about it is they don’t want to lose. We don’t want to lose a race no matter who we’re racing. But when we do lose to a teammate, it makes it a little bit easier because you lost to a teammate, because you know what they’re capable of and how great that team is.”
ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” Top Fuel Dragster
Standings: 1st (+104 points)
Pink dragster, pink firesuit and pink helmet will be used for the second event to raise awareness and funds for the Susan G. Komen Fight for the Cure campaign against breast cancer.
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 1 (2011-Apr.), Runner-ups 3 (2001-Oct./Pro Stock Motorcycle, 2008-Apr., 2012-Apr.,), Poles 1 (2010-Apr.)
2012 April at Las Vegas: Qualified No. 12, lost to Spencer Massey in final round
2011 October at Las Vegas: Qualified No. 5, lost to Del Worsham in semifinals
2012 Pts Races Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
1st 21 6 5 3 0 49-15
Career Races Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
260 37* 36 32 2 443-221
*21 Top Fuel
NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship standings
TOP FUEL Pts. Pts. Behind
1. ANTRON BROWN 2,491 —
2. SPENCER MASSEY 2,387 -104
3. TONY SCHUMACHER 2,355 -136
4. Shawn Langdon 2,351 -140
5. Brandon Bernstein 2,314 -177
6. Morgan Lucas 2,267 -224
8. Doug Kalitta 2,228 -263
7. Steve Torrence 2,212 -279
9. David Grubnic 2,193 -298
10. Bob Vandergriff 2,149 -342
Friday: 1, 4 p.m., qualifying
Saturday: 12, 3 p.m., qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., eliminations
Friday: High 72, 0 percent chance of rain
Saturday: High 77, 0 percent chance of rain
Sunday: High 79, 0 percent chance of rain
ESPN2 SCHEDULE (subject to change):
Sunday: 4-5 p.m. ET, qualifying
Sunday: 8-11 p.m. ET, eliminations