Antron Brown is used to travelling at high speeds given his profession as a drag racer.
But the current National Hot Rod Association Top Fuel champion, who is testing a NASCAR K&N Pro Series car on Tuesday at Virginia’s (Radford) Motor Mile Speedway, will have a leg up on his competition and buddy Clint Bowyer before the racers trade cars for an event in August.
“We have a good relationship and actually when it comes up to us having our big race at the U.S. Nationals (Indianapolis) — Clint is going to do a little ride swap where he is going to get in my Top Fuel dragster, which will be pretty fun,” Brown said. “We have a little bit going back and forth and the main deal about it is just to go out here and have fun and that’s what we’re going to do with this whole program right now."
Brown and Bowyer, who both campaign in Toyotas, are two of the top competitors of their respective series. But while Brown driven by the opportunity this new challenge presents and getting the knack of turning the car left, Bowyer doesn’t share his enthusiasm for the task.
Yes, Bowyer enjoys drag racing – as a spectator. Getting behind the wheel of a car that travels at a top speed of over 300 miles per hour is a bit intimidating for Bowyer.
“I’m nervous as hell about it,” Bowyer admits. “For years, I kind of went back and forth with Antron, with my ol’ buddy Gary Scelzi, with Ron Capps. All they got to do is go straight. Do their front wheels even turn?
“But now that I have to get behind one of those fire-breathing, 8,000-horsepower vehicles, I’m about half scared to death. But I think Antron will do fine. Antron is all focus. He’s extremely dedicated to what he does. He’s a good dude – fun guy and you take those qualities and how will he not have fun? Why can’t he have success? I think he’ll be fine. I can tell you this, his eyes will be big for a while.”
An Indy double?
Will Brad Keselowski pull off the Indy/Charlotte double on Sunday?
Maybe – but only as a spectator for the Indianapolis 500.
“I’m thinking about it,” Keselowski said. “I’ve never seen it and I want to see it. It’s definitely a bucket list item and hopefully, I can check it off. I’ll know for sure by Saturday. There’s a lot of different variables – weather, schedule – all of those things. We can’t take a chance of getting stuck out there.”
Keselowski qualified 20th for Sunday’s the Coca-Cola 600. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, who drives for 15-time Indy Car winning owner Roger Penske, has always wanted to experience “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in person.
Don’t look back
Danica Patrick is experiencing growing pains as was evident in her miserable All-Star Race debut.
Out of the 20 cars running at the end of the 90-lap race, Patrick finished 20th.
“I’m not necessarily optimistic right now about the race,” Patrick said.
If it was just the rookie Sprint Cup driver struggling at Stewart-Haas Racing, that would be somewhat acceptable. But even Patrick’s bossman Tony Stewart is outside the top 20 in the point standings and has as many top-10 finishes as his freshman racer – one. Heck, she out-qualified Stewart by one spot (24th) for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
Yet despite her struggles this season, Patrick doesn’t regret not attempting the Indy/Charlotte double this year.
“I have really fond memories,” said Patrick, who posted a career-high of third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts. “I, of course, would have loved to have won the race. I feel very fortunate as a driver to have been in a position to win a few times. Definitely two times having a really, really good chance. I feel good about that.
“It’s just one race. It is the Indy 500, but I feel like I also did good things. While Indy can kind of make a driver, I feel like it is part of what made me who I am today. So it did those things for me. I didn’t win, but it did make me who I am today.”