The readers of RACER magazine and Racer.com have chosen NHRA Top Fuel champion Antron Brown as their Drag Racer of the Year in the 18th annual RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance.
Brown, perennially one of the more popular drivers in drag racing, shrugged off frustrating near-misses in recent years to win his first NHRA Top Fuel title and the first championship for any African-American in any major U.S. motorsport. Those singular achievements have also earned him a first Drag Racer of the Year accolade from RACER's readers.
For the third time in four years, Brown, driver of Don Schumacher Racing's Matco dragster, won six times. But instead of watching helplessly as a points lead built up over three-fourths of the long NHRA season slipped from his grasp in the stressful Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Brown won two of six Countdown events and held on to win the title over teammates Tony Schumacher and Spencer Massey. It was a battle that came down to the last round of the last race of the year.
Brown, a former Pro Stock Motorcycle racer who finished second in the final standings three times from 1998 to 2007, scored wins in Phoenix, Chicago, Denver and Sonoma during the 2012 regular season and was runner-up at the season opener in Pomona and again in Las Vegas, Houston and Brainerd.
Despite losing in the first round at three of the six Countdown events, including one at the Finals in Pomona that seemed to doom him to another second-place finish, Brown won back to back in Dallas and St. Louis and had a runner-up in Reading that, because he earned another 20 points for setting the national record (3.701sec), counted the same as a victory. Mission accomplished!
Antron commented: “This award makes you sit back and reflect about all the things we've gone through on our team. Being the driver, everyone says your name and that's the one on the car, and they talk about how you did this or that, but actually this is a team award. When you look at all our guys together including the ones back at DSR, that's who Antron Brown is. So when people say my name I think about all the people who work with me on the car and others back at DSR. This is a tribute to what we have accomplished together as a team. Thank you to all RACER readers.”
RACER editor David Malsher said: “My favorite stat about Antron Brown is that he's the only NHRA race winner on both Pro Stock Motorcycles and Top Fuel, a record he established back in his debut Top Fuel season of 2008. Since then, his career has just sky-rocketed, and 2012 was the third time in four years that he ended a season with six wins. Consistent excellence like that had to bring its reward eventually, and so when he clinched the NHRA Top Fuel title last November, there probably couldn't have been a more popular winner. I'm thrilled that the RACER readers – who voted in record numbers this year – have brought this proud but modest man of immodest talent yet another accolade.”
RACER Drag Racer of the Year Hall of Fame:
1995 Scott Kalitta
1996 Blaine Johnson
1997 Joe Amato
1998 Joe Amato
1999 John Force
2000 John Force
2001 John Force
2002 John Force
2003 Kenny Bernstein
2004 John Force
2005 Tony Schumacher
2006 John Force
2007 John Force
2008 John Force
2009 Tony Schumacher
2010 John Force
2011 Del Worsham
Other 2012 winners voted for by RACER
's readers include:
RACER of the Year
– 2012 IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay
Road Racer of the Year
– 2012 IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay
Drag Racer of the Year
– 2012 NHRA Top Fuel Champion Antron Brown.
Rookie of the Year
– NHRA Funny Car race-winner Courtney Force.
's editors also selected these 2012 winners:
Car of the year:
Toyota TS030 Hybrid WEC LMP1 Hybrid
Sebastian Loeb, 9-time FIA World Rally Champion
Race of the Year:
Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix
Team of the Year:
BMW's DTM squad
The Spring 2013 issue of RACER
includes full coverage of RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance, a wide-ranging interview with Hunter-Reay and the man he replaced as IZOD IndyCar Series champion, Dario Franchitti. The issue also features previews to the 2013 IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, ALMS, Grand-Am, WEC and NHRA seasons.
is beginning its 21st year of publication and is offered in print and digital editions and also in iTunes, Kindle and Android apps. It is also available at national bookstore newsstands in the USA and Canada. Visit www.racer.com for all the latest racing news and subscription offers.
● Paul Pfanner, Founder and Executive publisher of RACER
, announced that Hawk Performance is now the presenting sponsor of the annual awards that will be expanded in 2013 to also include an “Amateur Racer of the Year presented by Hawk Performance” category. Pfanner commented, “Hawk Performance is the ideal partner for our RACER of the Year, and their commitment to excellence is reflected in their high-quality products that are used by leading amateur and professional racers.”
He added: “Hawk's devotion to racers everywhere is exemplified by their 12-year partnership with the 40,000-member Sports Car Club of America. Our company has had the honor of publishing SportsCar
Magazine since 1984 and it was the Hawk team's shared passion for amateur racers that was the impetus for expanding our awards to honor their achievements.”
● THE HAWK ADVANTAGE
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