NHRA

NHRA’s Antron Brown: ‘We’re here to bring the pain to other teams’ this season

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With three championships in five years (2012, 2015 and 2016) and 66 career wins (50 in Top Fuel and another 16 in Pro Stock Motorcycle), Antron Brown is used to winning – and he obviously more than has the racing resume to back that up.

While the New Jersey native – he now makes his home in suburban Indianapolis – walks around with an almost constant big smile on his face and possesses a good-natured attitude, Brown is also one of the fiercest and most diligent competitors in the NHRA.

Ask most of his competitors in the Top Fuel ranks and Brown is arguably one of the last opponents they want to look over and see in the opposite lane at the starting line.

Now that the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season kicked off this past weekend in Pomona, California, Brown is ready to become one of the top competitors on the Top Fuel circuit this season.

The reason is simple: Brown is coming off a less-than-normal season for him.

In 2018, Brown suffered through one of the worst seasons he’s experienced in his drag racing career. He managed just one win (Seattle). The last time he had so few victories in a Top Fuel season was in 2010.

And while the driver of the Don Schumacher Racing Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster qualified for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs for an 11th consecutive season, Brown ended 2018 with a dismal sixth-place finish in the final standings.

He’s bound and determined not to go through that kind of season again. No way, no how.

“I don’t like to lose,” Brown said. “To be truthful, when we come in here, we’re here to bring the pain to other teams.

“We all look for a championship. That’s what we’re focused on. Last year we learned a lot of stuff. It was a good thing that we were competitive all year and we raced at a high level.”

To illustrate how much of a downturn 2018 was for Brown, consider this: In the previous seven seasons (2011-2017), he won a combined 40 races. During that same stretch, he averaged no fewer than four wins per season.

“This year, we’re looking to improve upon that and go back to the way that we used to be,” Brown said. “We are looking to give Torrence Racing a run for the championship (he’s best friends with defending Top Fuel champ Steve Torrence).

“We want to be able to go out and compete for our fourth title. Our main focus is to be in a good position heading into the Countdown to give us a chance to bring it home.”

Admittedly, Brown lost in a very close first-round battle to teammate Leah Pritchett at Pomona, but he’s ready to shake it off and move on to next weekend’s race in suburban Phoenix.

“We’re always working at getting better at Don Schumacher Racing,” Brown said. “These Matco Toyota boys have put the work in during the off-season, getting the car right.

“I’ve been working out hard and gotten myself physically right. I’m coming in with no aches or pains and in some of the best shape I’ve ever come into a season in. We’re poised and eager to go out there and compete.”

And as the late NFL team owner Al Davis used to say – and a philosophy Brown lives by every day: “Just win, baby.”

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Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

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“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

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Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

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Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

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