Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Antron's wild ride

Just a few months ago US drag racer Antron Brown left the Pomona drag strip in California on top of the world. In a dramatic finish to the NHRA Top Fuel Dragster series, he was crowned champion, the first African-American  driver to win the title.

On Sunday (US time), the 2013 NHRA Series began as it always does with the Winternationals right back at Pomona. And Antron Brown was lucky to leave Pomona at all; check this out:

Brown's 6000hp motor absolutely grenaded as he cross the finish line at 308 miles per hour after beating Australian opponent David Grubnic. The force of the explosion was so great that both the huge rear tires on Brown's dragster shredded, leaving him to hang on for the wild ride.

That Antron Brown was helped from the wreckage of his car shaken but uninjured is testament to NHRA's rigorous safety standards. The combination of the roll cage construction, safety harness and HANS device (mandatory in the class) led to Brown being able to work away.

But Antron Brown's team is also trialling another safety innovation. The driver is protected by a canopy, effectively placing him in a safety cell. And even though his dragster exploded in flames, Brown reported that no fire found its way into the cockpit of the car.

Antron Brown will be back in his spare car when the NHRA series moves to Arizona this weekend. That in itself is a miracle after his miraculous escape at Pomona.

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