Arianna Brown Attends Frank Hawley’s, Follows Family Traditions on Track
Growing up in the shadow of her multi-time NHRA Top Fuel champion father, Antron Brown, 21-year-old Arianna Brown never had a problem finding her own light with which to shine. Now, Arianna is busy building the life of her dreams – and that life definitely includes a big dose of drag racing.
Arianna raced in the NHRA Junior Dragster program when she was young, but the Brownsburg, Indiana, native took a few years off in her late teens to focus on school as well as her competitive dance career. “I’ve always had an interest in racing,” explained Arianna, “but I know I can’t dance forever so I chased that first.”
Ready to move up from her half-scale dragster to a full-size competition vehicle and follow in both her father’s and her brother Anson’s footsteps as both previously completed courses at Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School, Arianna recently attended so that she could obtain her NHRA Super Comp license and open the door of opportunity for a future filled with fast-paced action.
Thanks to her experience in the Junior ranks, Arianna had a good handle on what to expect but still took the time to actively prepare prior to starting the 2-day Super Comp course. “I thought it would be all professionals and experienced racers, but I was happy to see it was a good mix of people – some who hadn’t touched a car ever before and some refreshing their skills, and it made me feel comfortable,” she shared of her initial experience. “Nobody realized I was Antron Brown’s daughter at first, too, which was pretty funny.”
In the classroom, Frank Hawley’s candor and comforting personality made Arianna feel right at home, too. “He made sure we knew everything before we got in the car so that we would be safe,” said Arianna. “It reminded me of how I feel with my dad.”
For her first pass on the track, Arianna was both excited as well as nervous. She related the experience to a dance routine and went through the process of completing all the steps she had learned in order, and the result was nothing short of thrilling. “It was a light switch moment for me… this is where I want to be, so why didn’t I do this sooner?” she proclaimed.
After each run, Arianna and her classmates, including Joe Maynard whose family co-owns Don Schumacher Racing’s Top Fuel team, headed back to the classroom to watch their videos and review their performances; she was surprised to see how straight she was able to pilot the dragster down the track, even while topping speeds of 160 mph.
“I remember many years ago when Antron came and drove our Alcohol dragster. He was amazingly good, considering he had never raced those cars,” reminisced Hawley. Since then, Antron has returned with two of his children and has clearly passed on his skills. “Both of them did remarkably well. Anson had immediate success, winning his first two races! I can’t wait to see how Arianna will do. I wish her well!”
Although Arianna absolutely loved the thrill of blasting down 1,320 feet of pavement and having all of the attention on her instead of on her father for a change. “I especially enjoyed Frank’s lectures on the psychology of success. I can apply those lessons and insights to all areas of my life, including dance,” she affirmed.
Looking ahead to what will assuredly be a very bright future for Arianna, the ambitious young woman hopes to both own her a dance studio and maintain a racing career on the weekends with her father’s AB Motorsports team. “I don’t think I’ll be able to die happy if I don’t try Top Fuel at least once,” she laughed. “But, for now, I’m planning to do some bracket races around the Indy area and in the Midwest with my brother.”
Written by Ainsley Jacobs.
Seats in Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School courses are limited and sell out quickly. To reserve, please call 866-480-7223! For more information on all upcoming class dates and locations, visit www.FrankHawley.com.
Written by Ainsley Jacobs
For NHRA Top Fuel legend and three-time world champion Antron Brown, there’s something even more important than the success of his career – the success of his children. Now, as his middle child, Anson, prepares to age out of Junior Dragster competition, Antron is passing the torch to the next generation of Brown family racers.
Before he got started racing in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle in 1998, Antron attended Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School to complete their Pro Stock Motorcycle class; he joined the Don Schumacher Racing team in 2002 and returned to the School with teammate Angelle Sampey in 2005 to brush up on his skills.
In 2007, Antron once again trusted Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School to prepare him for the next step in his career when he received his Top Alcohol Dragster license and went on to pilot the pinnacle of performance, a Top Fuel dragster.
Antron remembers that time at the School as if it were just yesterday, as he shifted his alcohol dragster quicker than Hawley had ever seen anyone do before. “I was swapping feet and doing everything to leave the line and shift down the racetrack,” laughed the driver, who impressed his instructor tremendously. “Frank [Hawley] said the Top Fuel Dragster would be easier for me to operate, but more difficult due to the rate of acceleration and was prepping me to understand what would happen when I moved up.”
When he finally did make the jump, Antron’s natural aptitude made others wonder if he was a true rookie or a veteran of the category. Driving the 10,000-horsepower machine was practically second nature to Antron, and he credits the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School with helping him get to that point.
“It’s more than just learning how to go down the racetrack, it’s also a mind game. Frank has all of the knowledge to give you the mental focus and preparation to be repeatedly successful,” asserted Antron. “From true beginners learning the basics to experienced professionals, Frank can take a racer of any phase and help them learn something. If you have the willingness to learn, you’ll improve.”
When Antron’s son, Anson, wanted to go racing at just 8-years-old, the Indiana-based family fully supported the budding racer’s dream and got him started in the Junior Dragster ranks. With a few championship titles of his own in the Midwest Jr. Super Series, Anson showed promising skill early on. For his upcoming seventeenth birthday in 2021, though, Anson decided he wanted to step up to a bigger car and his parents gave him the gift of a Super Comp license course at Frank Hawley’s in June at the famed Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
Thinking back to his own days at the School and the nerves that came along with the unexpected, Antron tried to reassure his son that he would be just fine – and he was. “All of the kids in Anson’s Super Comp class listened and responded well. It’s amazing to see the next generation of drivers come up all together,” shared Antron, who enjoyed seeing the kids compete on the track and cheer each other on throughout the entire experience. “I remember seeing Anson’s face and his excitement when he came back from making his first full quarter-mile pass over 150 miles per hour and thinking… wow, he’s all grown up.”
Anson was admittedly nervous at first, too, but quickly realized that he had no reason to be. “I had a great time and Frank was amazing with his instruction. I don’t think anyone could have taught me better, not even my dad,” laughed Anson, who enjoyed receiving feedback on how he could improve as a driver and hopes one day to get behind the wheel of a Pro Mod doorslammer or nitro-fueled Funny Car or Top Fuel Dragster just like his father. “The Super Comp car was bigger and faster than my Junior Dragster and was really exciting. Whenever I’m in a car, I’m happy.”
Hawley loves shaping a part of drag racing’s future through helping aspiring drivers, especially teens, to cut their teeth in a safe and controlled environment.
“Anson clearly has learned a lot from watching and listening to his dad,” affirmed the School’s founder. “Antron is a perfect example of how you can actually achieve your dreams in our sport. He has worked his way up to a champion driver and now an NHRA Top Fuel team owner. He’s one of the best drivers in our sport, and he does an incredible job for his sponsors. He is truly a perfect role model for Anson.”
Although Antron and Anson both are ready for the next phase of the young man’s driving career, the elder knows that there is no rewind button on life. Instead, he’s simply trying to enjoy the moments, memories, and time that they have in the Junior Dragster ranks while they still can.
In addition to Anson, Antron’s two other children, Adler and Arianna, are also carrying on the family’s drag racing tradition with their own endeavors. Where all of their careers ultimately take them (after college, of course), and whether that’s within the automotive industry or not, Antron and his wife, Billie Jo, will always love and support them unconditionally.
What a great year! I just got back from the Auto Club Finals in Pomona and it was a fabulous race. Our former graduates did well.
This year Erica Enders won her second NHRA Pro Stock World Championship! We first saw Erica in our S/C course several years ago. She then went on to get her Top Alcohol Funny Car license with us and just this fall Erica and I spent some time together helping Jay Leno learn to drive a Super Comp dragster for the premiere episode on his new show “Jay Leno’s Garage” which is featured on CNBC. If you missed it, you can still watch it on demand.
Antron Brown won his second Top Fuel NHRA World Championship as well. Antron came to us to get his Top Alcohol Dragster license after a great career in Pro Stock motorcycle. He is a great guy and loved by everyone who knows him. His co-crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald gave him a fabulous race car this season and Antron took advantage of it by clinching the Championship in Vegas before the final race.
And my good friend and Drag School instructor, Jack Beckman came “oh so close” to a second NHRA World Funny Car Championship when he went down to the final few rounds in a battle with eventual NHRA champ Del Worsham for the title. In my mind, second place is pretty good in a field like they had this year.
In fact 6 of the top 10 finishers in both Top Fuel and Nitro Funny Car got their start at our school…pretty impressive!
There were also many other great performances from our grads in 2015. Dina Parise won the IHRA Pro Mod World Championship! Haley James was the youngest and first female to win the NMRA Coyote Modified Championship! Jordan Pratt followed up his Division 5 Rookie of the Year by winning the NHRA Division 5 Super Comp Championship, along with the Midwest Drag Racers Association Points Championship! Emma Deuschle won her first race at the Fontana PSCA race this fall in her ’63 Corvette Split Window Top Sportsman class, and her brother Ricky also won in his ’02 Camaro Top Sportsman class, with sister Ashley taking runner-up in Top Sportsman.
After all these years I’m still amazed at the success of our students whether it’s victory on the world stage or victory at their local track. We have truly been blessed to have met so many wonderful people and we thank them so much for their kind words and endorsements of our programs.
If there is any way in which we can help you fulfill your dreams… please give us a call. In addition to the 2016 class dates we have already secured in Gainesville, Fontana and Norwalk, we will be adding dates very soon for Chicago, Indy, Denver, Maple Grove, and St. Louis. Please check our website for updates.