"The first time I hit the throttle in that [Top Fuel] car, I thought to myself, 'What have I gotten myself into,' " said Brown, who prepared for his Top Fuel debut by taking the Top Alcohol Dragster course at Frank Hawley's NHRA Drag Racing School in Gainesville.
Brown makes Top Fuel transition look easy naturally gifted athlete excelled in track-and- Athe more successful Pro whobefore becoming one of field and motocross events Stock Motorcycle racers Drag Racing School in Gainesville. “Then as the year went on and we started to have some success, my expectations started to change. and he was unhappy about it, but he never raised his voice at me. With these cars, you have to be on your toes all the time because you never know of the last decade, Antron Brown was expected to Honestly, I knew coming into the year that we when they’re going to shake or smoke the tires. succeed when he made the had a team that was capable Sometimes, they will catch you off guard if you’re bold move to Top Fuel this of winning some rounds and not careful. Lee knows that I am not hardheaded season; however, few could finishing in the top five, but and that I’m eager to learn. We also don’t have a have predicted that he’d I just didn’t think I’d win lot of big egos on this team, so that helps.” accomplish so much so soon. right off the bat.” Learning to drive a 300-mph dragster proved to Although Brown was joining Brown lost in the first be fairly easy for Brown, and he also managed to David Powers’ Matco Tools round just four times in 24 quickly adapt to running all 24 NHRA POWERade team with highly regarded events, was never ranked Drag Racing Series events. By comparison, the crew chief Lee Beard at the lower than sixth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class competes at just 17. helm, it would have been NHRA POWERade standings “The schedule was no big deal for me because I optimistic at best to predict at any point in the season, fly to most of the races, so I actually get to spend that he would qualify No. 1 and posted a very more time at home with my family,” he said. in his nitro racing debut at respectable 36-21 round-win “When I was racing the bike with Don the CARQUEST Auto Parts record. By comparison, Schumacher, I was in the shop about six days a NHRA Winternationals in Brown’s more experienced week, and we usually worked late into the night, Pomona, win two of his first teammate, Rod Fuller, was so I wasn’t home as much as I am now.” six races, and finish the 29-23 during the season. Although Brown admits that he missed the season as the sport’s fifth- Much of the credit for thrill of riding a six-second motorcycle, one thing ranked Top Fuel driver. Brown’s achievements have he does not miss is the red-light starts that often “The first time I hit the to go to Beard, who has had decide Pro Stock Motorcycle races. For the throttle in that [Top Fuel] great success with record, Brown made 57 eliminations runs in his car, I thought to myself, experienced drivers, such as Matco Tools dragster in 2008 without a single ‘What have I gotten myself the late Gary Ormsby. red-light start. into,’ ” said Brown, who
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