This past Sunday Antron Brown became the first African American to win a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), championship in any of the four major categories (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock Car & Pro Stock Motorcycle). Antron's title is in the biggest and baddest category which is Top Fuel, but previously (prior to 2008), he competed in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class.
Antron's championship is obviously significant for minorities as well. In a sport with a handful of women (Courtney Force, Alexis DeJoria, Hillary Will, Karen Stouffer & Angie Smith), and with only handful of minority men (Tony & Cruz Pedregon, both hispanic and both former champions as well as Khalid AlBalooshi, JR Todd, Micheal Phillips and not to forget Hector Arana Sr. & Jr, with the elder being a past champion), Antron's win is a big deal. Especially for us fans of color, but drag racing is the most diverse of any major motorsports.
Antron's car owner is none other than racing legend and local business owner Don "The Shoe" Schumacher his original business is Schumacher Electric based in Mount Prospect. His racing team is among the biggest and best in all of drag racing but Antron competed week in and week out in a category with unbelievable competition, even from his own teammates which includes Don Schumacher's legendary son, seven time world champion Tony Schumacher.
Antron has quickly become a fan favorite for his outgoing personality, excellent record of racing yet disciplined (or "dig deep" as he always says), to concentrate on winning and never give anything but his very best on the race track and be a true professional in and out of the drag race car.
Antron hails from New Jersey and lives in Brownsburg, Indiana (where Don Schumacher racing is based), and has often involved his family (including fan favorite Grandma Brown), in ESPN interviews, NHRA.com web interviews, his Facebook page and allows the fans to truly get to know him.
See drag racing is a little different than other types of motorsports in that if you buy a ticket to a NHRA drag race, your ticket is a pit pass, so you can go to the garage area where the cars are worked on and where the drivers prepare and strategize. In most other forms of racing such a pass costs extra and even then the access to your favorite driver is limited.
So most fans feel like they know Antron because he (like many other drivers), gives you all access to his operation. And he's funny and keeps it light despite the high level of competition that is in NHRA drag racing.
He's the epitome of who you want to cheer for in motorsports, a guy who gives all he has at every race, doesn't make excuses, is a professional on and off the track and such a good guy, you want him to do well. The fact that he is African American is simply who is he is, just like after Sunday's race you now can call him NHRA Top Fuel champion.
Tags: Alexis DeJoria, Angie Smith, Antron Brown, CA, Courtney Force, Cruz Predregon, Don Schumacher, Drag Racing, First African American, Hillary Will, Karen Stouffer, Khalid AlBalooshi, NHRA, Pomona, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Tony Pedregon, Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel Drag Racing