ANTRON BROWN TAKES 'RIDE OF HIS LIFE' IN F-16 WITH FAMED THUNDERBIRDS LAS VEGAS (MAY 18, 2010) - Antron Brown is accustomed to speed. The former college track star and 24-time NHRA winner has built a career around forward momentum. Whether on...
ANTRON BROWN TAKES 'RIDE OF HIS LIFE' IN F-16 WITH FAMED THUNDERBIRDS
LAS VEGAS (MAY 18, 2010) - Antron Brown is accustomed to speed. The former college track star and 24-time NHRA winner has built a career around forward momentum. Whether on his own two feet or two or four wheels, Brown has etched his name as one of the more successful drivers in NHRA drag racing.
On Tuesday, April 20, Brown traded his 8,000-horsepower Don Schumacher Racing-prepared Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster for a flight suit and a ride in a Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon made famous by the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds. The former rider of the U.S. Army Pro Stock Motorcycle Suzuki took the ride of his life with Capt. Kristin "Mother" Hubbard, Advance Pilot/Narrator of the #8 Thunderbirds F-16.
"It was an incredible experience to fly with the Thunderbirds and Kristin (Hubbard) aka Mother," Brown said. "When we took off, it was slower than my dragster, but once we pulled back and went straight up in the air and pulled 6 Gs, I had never felt anything like that in my life. I felt pressure all over my body even wearing the G-suit.
"Kristin did an awesome job of flying us and keeping me right and tight during the flight. We flew upside down and did turns and went straight up and all these maneuvers that I couldn't even imagine. When I was a little kid growing up, I always wanted to race Top Fuel cars and fly a figther jet, and now I can say I've done both. I feel very fortunate and want to thank (TSgt.) Randy Redman for making my dream come true."
After completing his pre-flight physical and safety briefing with Hubbard, Capt. and Flight Surgeon Thomas Bowden and Flight Equipment Technician TSgt. Sang Lee, the Matco Tools flagship driver and Hubbard took off from Nellis A.F.B. in Las Vegas. Brown's Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster reaches nearly 5 G-Forces during a 1,000-foot blast, and during his ride with Hubbard the duo hit 9.5 G's or the pressure of nearly 10 times the weight of their bodies.
"When we did a 90-degree, banked turn and pulled 9.5 Gs, I did everything in my power to stay conscious," Brown said. "I did all the proper breathing techniques they taught me and it worked. No, I didn't throw up, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I was nauseous. It really felt like I did 500 straight sit-ups.
"I would have to say that it was one of the best experiences I've done in my life. That's the closest thing that gives me the same type of rush as racing our DSR Top Fuel dragster. It's right up there with jumping out of an airplane with the Army's Golden Knights. I did that a few years back, and that was awesome too."
Brown, 34, pilots the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster for Don Schumacher Racing. He currently ranks fifth in the 2010 NHRA Top Fuel standings with two No. 1 qualifiers and three final-round appearances this season. Brown has 24 career wins, eight in Top Fuel and 16 in Pro Stock Motorcycle, and 23 career poles. He is the only driver in NHRA history to win races and lead the standings in both Top Fuel and PSM.
"I have a current relationship with the U.S. Army and a 'hooah' to all our Army Strong Soldiers," Brown said. "It's great to represent the Army and all our current brave active duty military and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces. All of us at DSR thank them for everything they do and have done for our great nation. After flying with the Thunderbirds, I have a newfound respect for what they and the Air Force do and the skill and physical attributes it takes to pilot an F-16. And not just the pilots, but the entire 130-person support staff for the Thunderbirds."