Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brown takes Top Fuel at Gatornationals

Antron Brown wins in Gainesville a month after a scary wreck.

Antron Brown wins in Gainesville a month after a scary wreck.

GAINESVILLE — Antron Brown still has lingering back issues after a fiery crash at last month's NHRA opener.

Celebrating victory Sunday at Gatornationals surely helped ease the pain.

A month after a harrowing wreck sent Brown sliding across the track in Pomona, Calif., with little left of his dragster, the defending class champion found his way back to the top of the field at Auto Plus Raceway.

Brown, 37, used the fastest pass of the day to edge Clay Millican in the Top Fuel final, covering 1,000 feet strip in 3.761 seconds at 318.77 mph.

"No, there were no thoughts (about Pomona)," Brown said. "What you do is you have to treat each run as its own run. … You can't think about what happened in the last run, whether it's a world-record run or you flipped upside down.

"If you don't, these cars go so fast that if you're thinking about something that you're not supposed to, you put yourself in a serious, dangerous moment and the other people that you're racing against."

It was Brown's 22nd Top Fuel win and the 200th for Don Schumacher Racing. Only John Force Racing (218) has more NHRA wins.

Just a few minutes earlier, Johnny Gray gave Schumacher Racing win No. 199 by beating Del Worsham in the Funny Car final. It was Gray's fourth career victory and first in his final season. Gray, who turns 60 Wednesday, is retiring at the end of 2013.

"It's very grueling just to come do all the races and all the traveling that's involved," Gray said. "There's a lot of other things I want to do. Anybody my age will tell you it's fun to kick a kid's (butt). … But it's time to go play with the kids and the grandkids."

Schumacher donned a red hat commemorating his 200th victory and broke down while talking about how he couldn't celebrate class titles in Top Fuel and Funny Car last November because his mother died the day of the NHRA banquet.

"I haven't had joy really since then," Schumacher said, pausing to compose himself.

Allen Johnson edged Jeg Coughlin to win the Pro Stock final. Coughlin had the faster quarter-mile time, but Johnson beat him off the line and down the track. Hector Arana Jr. won Pro Stock Motorcycle, besting his father in the semifinals and Steve Johnson in the final.

Brown takes Top Fuel at Gatornationals 03/17/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 17, 2013 9:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70


    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
  2. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.
  3. Rays morning after: Steven Souza Jr.'s status is a major concern


    The Rays will know more about the status of RF Steven Souza Jr. later today after reviewing results of a scheduled MRI and exam of the left hip he strained in Wednesday's game on an awkward slide into second.

    Steven Souza Jr. strained his left hip in Wednesday's game on an awkward slide into second.
  4. Lightning's Ondrej Palat happy with new deal, new talent

    Lightning Strikes

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) works to play the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Tuesday evening (01/03/17).
  5. 2008 playoff thoughts in bloom for Rays; Souza injury not expected serious in loss to A's

    The Heater

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Before the 7-2 loss to the A's and Steven Souza Jr.'s hip injury, or at least scare, Wednesday started with good vibes in the Rays' clubhouse.

    Rays rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. hurts his hip after an awkward slide into second base during the first inning.