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Antron Brown guns for drag racing's loftiest prize

September 6, 2011 | 11:22 am

Can Antron Brown break the Dixon-Schumacher stranglehold on drag-racing’s crown jewel?

Brown Brown on Monday captured his fifth win this season in the premier top-fuel class of the National Hot Rod Assn.’s Full Throttle Series, where the cars routinely top 300 mph as they roar down the 1,000-foot drag strips.

Brown also is second in the point standings behind Del Worsham, who Brown defeated in the finals of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals on Monday at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind., near Indianapolis.

“Words cannot describe how this feels,” said Brown, a New Jersey native who switched from racing motorcycles to top-fuel dragsters three years ago. “To come here and win at Indy, the biggest stage in drag racing, means so much.”

Now the series moves to the NHRA’s six-race “Countdown to the Championship” playoff, starting Sept. 15-18 in Charlotte, N.C., and ending Nov. 10-13 with the season finale at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.

And the question is whether Brown, 35, can win the top-fuel championship over reigning title holder Larry Dixon and seven-time champion (and Brown teammate) Tony Schumacher. Both also qualified for the playoff.

Dixon won his third title last season to go along with his championships in 2002 and 2003. Between Dixon’s titles, Schumacher won the top-fuel title six consecutive years.

So the last time a driver not named Dixon or Schumacher won the top-fuel championship was in 2001 when Kenny Bernstein captured the title.

“Now it’s time to get down to business in the Countdown,” Brown said. “The competition is going to get that much tougher.”

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Antron Brown celebrates after winning the top-fuel division of the U.S. Nationals NHRA Full Throttle Series event at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire