(WGHP) — The speedway may not be the only place William Brown and his cousin Derrick know, but it’s probably the place they know best.
They both grew up hanging around drag racing tracks because their fathers, who are brothers, spent their time at the track racing. And that was the natural place for both of their fathers.
“Back then, everybody was street racing – had their own cars,” said William about what brought his dad and uncle to racing.
As the youngest of five boys, William had to wait his turn until his older brothers turned to other pursuits before he got his chance. But once he did, he grabbed it.
“My second pass in the car was just as fast as my dad, and I have never gotten out of the car since,” William said.
The Brown cousins are now passing the mantle themselves. Derrick’s 14-year-old son Tristan has been racing for three years in dragsters designed to go more slowly.
But for Tristan, it’s plenty fast. That’s what draws him into it as well.
“The speed and the community, really,” Tristan said.
Ahhh, yes. The community. Although Brown Motorsports (Derrick’s company) and Brown Racing (William’s version) are two of very few Black-owned race teams, that’s not something any of the Browns focus on a lot. For them, they’re just part of the much bigger racing family.
“Everybody that races is family. When I’m at the track or any event…I can go into any trailer we want to and ask for something, and they’ll hand it to you. You can go into in anybody’s pit and eat, get parts, pull your car over there. Even if you’re racing that person next round, they’ll help you. You might even beat them,” Derrick said.
This can be an expensive sport. A decent race car can easily cost $250,000 to build.
“You only get 20 runs on that motor, and then you go in and put rods in it. So that means you’re tearing that whole motor down,” Derrick said.
Though the race that is most important to them is the one that lasts just a few seconds down the track, they are aware of being pioneers of sorts concerning the other definition of race.
“You think about it, and it’s a joy inside to be able to do that and also show other young Black people that are in it or want to get involved in it that it can be done,” William said.
See more on Brown Motorsports in this edition of the Buckley Report.