Drag Racing Mentor

New Jersey-born Antron grew up with drag racing thanks to his father Albert and uncle Andre who were both, and continue to be,
avid NHRA Sportsman racers.

From then on, Antron has gone on to break many records and win a huge amount of championships and awards. Antron is the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel World Champion. Antron’s career top speed was an astonishing 328.78mph.

HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT TAKING ON THIS CHALLENGE?
I didn’t know how good he was going to be. It’s a craft and it doesn’t happen overnight. We had to throw him in about five classes above
the usual entry level because of time constraints. He didn’t start in the baby pool!

WHAT SKILLS DID IDRIS HAVE WHEN YOU MET HIM?
Idris was fresh, and green. He had to learn that drag racing is not like other motor sports. There’s no room for error. It’s about winning or losing by a thousandth of a second. He found out very quickly that when he thought too hard, he messed up. Drag racing is instinctive.

 

HOW DID IDRIS RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGE?
As an actor, he knows how to take his mind elsewhere. We probably only took about 20 practice laps. But I needed him to close his eyes and envisage the good runs, and he probably did 500 mental laps
around the track which helped. Plus, he is athletic. He looks after himself, and that came into play when we put him into the car.

WHAT ARE HIS STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

His mindset was a great strength. He was starving for information all the time. He always wanted to know the detail, and he was willing to learn. He wanted to understand everything going on around him.
His weaknesses were getting oriented with the race car. Drag racing is totally different to driving a regular car.

WHAT STRENGTHS DOES A DRAG RACER HAVE: DID IDRIS HAVE THOSE QUALITIES?
You have to really pay attention and have good reflexes. You can’t teach that. And you have to be poised, like a marksman shooting a gun, not too up and not too down. He had that focus.

DID YOUR MENTORING INVOLVE PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP AS WELL AS TECHNICAL HELP?
He couldn’t go out and say, “I’m a rookie”. He had to learn the drag racing mentality. This is our living. I wanted to make him hungry for it, like these guys were going to take away his last meal. He’s very competitive, and I could tell that from his spirit, his eyes. What I saw in Idris got me excited.

COULD IDRIS TAKE UP THE SPORT COMPETITIVELY?
He’s got the bug now! I guarantee he will be back out at a drag strip. He’s had a taste. It’s like a steak, it’s marinating on his mind and when he comes back he’ll be juicy and ready like that steak.