While eating lunch next to the Matco Tools team, I couldn't help but notice the crowd of people starting to line up when Antron Brown was spotted (and he was working with the crew).
Even though Antron had jumped on his scooter in an apparent hurry to leave for something prior to his first Friday run, he made sure to sign each and every autograph, and to take every picture asked of him. He must have sat on this scooter for nearly ten minutes (no lie) before he could leave. And his inviting, friendly demeaner never changed to the last fan, which was this little boy whose day was made after Antron purposefully signaled him over since the lad was too shy to approach him. The man is a class act.
Honestly, the Nitro cars are ridiculous to watch. It's like going to watch a Shuttle launch or something. You don't have to be into cars, per se, or even the NHRA for that matter, to get a kick out of what transpires. Simply spectating is a thrill ride on its own.
After driving a Top Fuel Nitro car for nearly six years, even Antron Brown is still amazed. When I asked him if he gets used to it his reply was, “I never get used to it—it's a total rush every time! In a normally aspirated racecar or drag bike you get most of your rush in the first part of the track, but with these boosted cars it's endless.”
There's never a dull moment chatting with Antron, his charismatic persona is captivating. He went on to explain the feeling of when that last, secondary clutch lever locks up and you're at full power. “The G Force you feel when that happens, at that speed, is just awesome!”
This spawned the question, “well what do you like drive for fun on the street?” Antron surprised me with, “honestly, I just drive a Toyota SUV!” Puzzled by this, I set out to find out someone with some cool street cars, because how could this be? One of the fastest, adrenaline-pumping men in the world drives an SUV?
I asked assistant crew chief Brad Mason about his street cars, and his eyes lit up. Check out his two cars below.
Getting to watch the teams and cars from an up-close-and-personal view will make this one of the more memorable events I've ever been to. However, equally staggering to me was the down-to-earth, upbeat personalities of Antron Brown and the rest of the Matco Tools Top Fuel team. Because of this, they've made me more of an NHRA fan.
On behalf of MotoIQ I'd like to thank the Matco Tools team for their time and hospitality, and we wish them the best for the rest of the season!
Assistant Crew Chief, Brad Mason's street cars: the white Chevy is a '67 he's had since he was 15 years old (his for 23 years). It was originally a 6-cylinder that he converted to V8. He drove it in high school as well as on the Hot Rod Power Tour a couple of times, and has run a best 9.90-second ET in the quarter mile.
The wagon is also a '67 Chevy that Brad's owned for about 15 years, and has a 283 power glide. Brad also drove this on the Hot Rod Power Tour a couple of times.
FACT #19: I'm going to another NHRA event next time they're in town. What are you doing?