Antron Brown made history by winning the NHRA's Top Fuel championship, becoming the first African-American to capture a major auto racing title in the United States.
Brown lost Sunday in the first round of the Auto Club Finals at Ponoma (Calif.) Raceway, burning his hands as his dragster's engine caught fire, but he wound up edging Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher for the series championship.
"I just want to be inspirational," Brown said, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. "Not just for African-Americans kids, just Americans. I just want to be somebody that kids can look up to. If I can be an inspiration to kids, maybe the kids have something they were told they could never achieve."
As Brown watched the day progress following his early defeat, he thought Schumacher had won the title. However, Schumacher lost to Brandon Bernstein in the last round, sealing Brown's championship.
Another of their teammates, Spencer Massey, who defeated Brown in the opening round, also was in the running for the points crown. Massey lost to Bernstein in the second round.
"Tony has been my biggest supporter since Day One," Brown said, according to NHRA.com. "He's a seven-time world champ, and he's helped me leaps and bounds. Spencer came along a few years later, and our teams rose up to get better and better each year. As drivers, we press on each other and have elevated each other to another level."
Brown said he suffered first-degree burns on his hands in Sunday's run.
"It was tough outing. We were just going for it," he said, according to ESPN.com. "I don't know what went wrong with the car yet, just a rough mishap."