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Brown is new Top Fuel dominator in town


CLERMONT, Ind. -- It's no longer the Tony Schumacher-Larry Dixon Show at the National Hot Rod Association's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

Nobody but those two had won the Top Fuel title at the Labor Day classic at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis since Cory McClenathan did it in 1999. Ah, but that was before Antron Brown got off his two-wheeler.

The former Pro Stock Motorcycle standout, who won twice (2000, 2004) on his bike at "The Big Go," carved his name in Top Fuel legend at Indianapolis by breaking the decade-long dominance of Schumacher and Dixon.

And Brown did it in style in the Matco-Aaron;s Dragster, as No. 1 qualifier, beating victory-waiting-to-happen Shawn Langdon, talk-quietly-but-hit-hard Doug Kalitta, and both of the formidable Al-Anabi/Toyota Dragster drivers: reigning champion Larry Dixon and points leader Del Worsham.

"Words cannot describe how this feels. We worked hard. We worked our tails off," Brown said afterward, surrounded by his and wife Billie Jo's three children: daughter Arianna, 9, and sons Anson, 7, and Adler, 3.

He struck a blow for the rest of the class in halting the Schumacher-Dixon run.

"That's 10 years of everybody getting their butts kicked by the same two guys," Brownsburg, Ind.-based Brown said. "It was special to be a part of that."

He also was particularly proud to beat the racetrack that switched suddenly from a scorching 130 degrees to 76 degrees in three days. "That track was hateful. It treated you like an ex-wife. I don't have one, and I don't want to."


In winning his fifth race this year, Brown earned $100,000 and gave Don Schumacher Racing its 163rd victory. He took a close one from Worsham, running a 3.813-second elapsed time at 321.73 mph on the 1,000-foot course. Worsham, of Chino Hills, ran a 3.830 / 320.43.

Worsham's consolation was that he earned the 10 extra bonus points as the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series starts its Countdown to the Championship Sept. 15-18 at Charlotte's zMAX Dragway.


With his 30th NHRA victory and 17th in Top Fuel, Brown is the No. 2-ranked dragster driver entering the six-race playoff that bounces from Charlotte to Dallas to Reading, Pa., then out West again (after the grueling Western Swing) to Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Pomona, Calif.

If the mainstream media ever were to catch on to drag racing, it might turn Brown's career success into some sort of a cause célèbre. But because this sport has long been the most diverse form of motorsports (and maybe of all sports) for years, Brown downplayed his status as auto racing's most successful African-American driver.

"I don’t look at it that way. We don't have barriers that way," he said. "Drag racing has every color in the crayon box. When I put that helmet on, it's like a day at the office. I'm going to work."

He did Monday at Indianapolis, as his Brian Corradi- and Mark Oswald-led team showed its threat to Worsham's comfort zone with a second victory and three semifinal finishes in the past five races.

In Brown's words, "It's game on."


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