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Antron Brown eager to take next step in NHRA with AB Motorsports

Rick Peterson

Antron Brown Atlanta ties Joe AmatoThree-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Antron Brown will launch his own team, AB Motorsports, in 2022. [Rebilas Photography] 

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown is quick to admit that he has had a pretty sweet deal with Don Schumacher Racing.

And because in large part of all the success he's had, the relationships he's built and the things he's learned at DSR, Brown is ready to take the next step in his career in 2022, launching his own team in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

"That's been something that I've been after for a long time,'' said the 45-year-old Brown, who is racing the Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster in this weekend's Menards NHRA Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park. "It's not something new, it's something that I've thought about for years and years and years and it's finally come to fruition.

"It was literally staying after it and it's been a dream. Covid slowed it down and it's one of those deals where I'm very excited, but the other side of it is that I'm also very nervous. There's nothing to lean back on so what we have to lean back on is each other.''

Antron BrownAntron Brown will be looking for his second career Top Fuel win at Heartland Motorsports Park this weekend in the Menards NHRA Nationals. [Rebilas Photography]

Brown's new venture, AB Motorsports, will be backed by many of his longtime sponsors, including Matco and Toyota, and Brown, third in Top Fuel history with 52 wins, will continue to purchase parts from DSR.

"What really is making this dream a reality, honestly, is all our partners,'' said Brown, who began the weekend second in Top Fuel points. "Matco Tools has been with us a long, long time and Toyota has always been behind us since Day 1. Whenever we needed something they always had our back. That's a big deal, a tremendous big deal.

"The partners have stuck with us through the thick and thin of this deal. It would have been really easy for partners to drop out during Covid, but our partners and our distributors stayed strong and always have our back. You have to have great people around you and I have a great family and my team.''

Brown, who will continue to drive in '22, said one of his major motivations in starting his own team is the prospect of tackling a new challenge.

"Being at Don Schumacher Racing for all these years I've learned tremendous things from Don, his whole organization and all the teams he had around us,'' Brown said. "It's a great place to be, but anybody knows in life that if you want to grow you have to get yourself uncomfortable.

"I've been comfortable for way too long and that's not like me to sit back. I've always wanted to move forward, to grow. I look at our sport and Don Schumacher picked that torch up a long time ago for his son (Tony) and built this championship organization. I've been very fortunate, very blessed to be a part of that and always grateful. I'm very, very, very grateful.''

Brown said he looks at his new venture as an opportunity to help the sport he loves move forward.

"I just looked at our sport as a whole and said, 'How can our sport grow?' '' Brown said. "Now Don can flourish and bring some new talent in, younger talent in, at DSR and then I can grow in my landscape and not just be a driver but be an owner and our team could bring in other talent underneath of us and maybe cultivate a second team down the road and maybe go to a third or four-car team and maybe other people can do the same thing.

"If we can keep doing this and building, our sport is only going to grow and go to new heights and new levels.''

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PGA star Woodland No. 1 on TSN Best of the Best men's golf list

Rick Peterson

 

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

There's been a lof tough calls for the No. 1 spot in TopSports.news' Best of the Best Shawnee County Top 25 lists.

Men's golf wasn't one of those.

Shawnee Heights product Gary Woodland all but assured himself of the top spot when he made it on the PGA Tour back in 2007 and the four-time Tour winner cemented that position when he won the 2019 United States Open.

Gary WoodlandGary Woodland [PGA Tour]

Coming off a tie for seventh last week, the former basketball All-Stater and two-time Class 5A state champ for the T-Birds, is currently 45th on the PGA Tour's all-time career money list with more than $29 million in career earnings.

But while the 37-year-old Woodland is the unquestioned headliner, the TSN Top 25 list is loaded with other county stars who have carved out their own niche in the game.

AndrewBeckleraction 2Andrew Beckler [Washburn Athletics]

 Justice ValdiviaJustice Valdivia

Former Washburn Rural state champ Andrew Beckler, who received the 2021 Jack Nicklaus Award as the NCAA Division II Player of the Year holds down the No. 2 spot on the Top 25 local legends Frank Rose and Bill McDonald sit in the next two spots, followed by former Rural two-time state champion Parker Beal and multi-sport Silver Lake product Mark Elliott.

Three-time Washburn University All-American Matt Ewald and local stars Ben Moser, Bill Mosimann and Gary Lucas round out the top 10.

Former Hayden state star Justice Valdivia, a state individual and team champ and multi-time All-MIAA honoree topped Woodland for the Readers Choice award, with former Rossville state champ and four-time state medalist Garrett Donovan earning the third spot in reader votes. 

 Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S GOLFERS

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