Anson Brown is a long ways away from following in his father’s footsteps.
The older Brown is the pilot of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing. And the younger Brown, who will be 9-years-old this year, is the pilot of the ZMax Jr. Dragster, which is a smaller version of his father’s hot rod.
“I never know [if Anson wants to drive a Top Fuel dragster],” said Antron. “Whatever he wants to do — right now, we’re in the fun stages, as we’re just having fun. As long as he’s having fun and is willing to learn more about the sport, that’s what it’s all about. You never know, he’s getting a lot of training now, as he’s young. Maybe one day, you’ll see him out here.”
If that does happen, it would be a long-time from now. There are so many levels between driving a Jr. Dragster and driving an 10,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster. Plus, Anson would have to complete high school and potentially college before a ride would become available.
“That’s the game plan,” said Antron. “If that’s what he chooses to do, Daddy will be 100% behind him.”
Presently, Anson has raced in nine Jr. Dragster events with his first event coming on June 8th, 2013 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois. He has been to two final rounds, with one win and one runner-up finish.
Much like his father, Anson has been in the winners circle. Anson won a race in his Jr. Dragster. And his father, Antron has 39 career wins with 23 wins in Top Fuel and 16 wins in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
“He’s really stoked,” said Antron. “But I don’t want him to know all this information right away. But in reality, he’s doing really well. I couldn’t be more happier for my son for the way he’s taken to it. He’s a very safe driver, and he’s very cautious.
“He’s also very aggressive on the [Christmas] tree, and he drives the car in a perfect straight line. That’s something you can’t teach — you either got it, or you don’t.”
It has apparently taken Anson only a short time to learn how to drive a Jr. Dragster, as this was his Easter gift this year. And besides getting advice from his father, he has also received advice from other NHRA drivers, including Tony Schumacher, Shawn Langdon, among others.
“I think what it shows to Anson, as well as the other Jr. Dragsters, that it is a very good way to start,” said former Jr. Dragster driver and current rookie Dote Racing Top Fuel Dragster pilot Leah Pruett. “It is a way to learn the fundamentals of drag racing and sportsmanship that comes with the races and the family atmosphere. The Jr. Drag Racing League is the best way to start out, but it may not lead to a ride until years later.
“Most people misconstrued that there are so many different leagues in between to get to this point [driving a Top Fuel dragster], and a lot of it is sacrifice and dedication, as well. You also have to learn how to promote yourself that when I do talk to a Jr. Dragsters, I don’t sugarcoat it for them — one of your main focuses should be to go to college, as education is something that will help your racing career.”
It could be 10-to-12 years, or longer, if everything pans out, before Anson Brown could be driving a Top Fuel dragster. And if Antron is still racing in 12 years, Antron would just be 49-years-old. There are many drivers on the NHRA circuit right now racing above that age.
And if they are both in the Top Fuel division, there’s a very good likelihood that the Brown’s could race against each other. And they could be like the Force family, as John Force races against his daughter, Courtney Force, on a regular basis in the NHRA Funny Car division.
John also faced another daughter, Ashley Force-Hood, when she was racing, before stopping to have a family.
“That would be pretty cool,” said Antron. “But I don’t think my son would want to race me. It would be the coolest deal if that would ever happen. I’m still young, and he’s going to be nine-years-old this year, so 12-years from now, I’ll be 49 and towards the end of my career. I don’t want to be driving until I’m 60 or 65, so when I get around 55, I would like to call it a day. That would allow these young bucks the opportunity to do what they love to do.”
Antron has been racing professionally since 1999 in the NHRA’s top circuit, and it took 13-years later for history to be made, as Brown became the first African-American Motorsports Champion. That gives hope to Anson and other African-American drivers that they could win a championship, as well.
And Anson has taken notice to his father’s special wally for winning the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel Championship.
“Well, he looks at it, and know what it means,” said Antron. “But he’s very humbled, yet I can see his desire in his eyes, as he hates to lose. It doesn’t even cross my mind, because I know he will be out here, and I’m sure he’ll be competing for a championship, like I’ve done. Whether he wins it or not, time will tell. It would be nice if we could both do it.”
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