The month of October has been a tough one for the sand drag racing community. Our community was hit with the loss of two major figures in our sport. We lost Charlie Brown Sr. and Richard Montiel both within the month due to non-racing related circumstances. The term “legend” tends to be overused in our society these days, but these two personified this through their whole lives. Both were great individuals as people and fierce competitors behind the wheel.
To lose two
great men of this stature within our sport within the month makes us look at
what is really important. Sure there are little things to squabble over within
the sport, but what really matters is showing up at the track to race with our
friends and comrades. That’s what these two “legends” did, and it’s our
responsibility to carry on their memories with us as we do what we love.
Charlie Brown Sr. was a huge figure in the sand drag racing world. Charlie Sr. and his son, Charlie Jr., were staples in the Top Fuel class. Charlie Sr. had a storied asphalt drag racing career and then put his mark on the sand drag racing world with his son for the past two decades. The Brown’s came to prominence with a Nitro Funny Car campaigned on sand. This was the former “Sheepherder” AA/FA that had raced on asphalt previously. The Charlie Sr. owned the car with John Aleman III tuning and Charlie Jr. driving set the Funny Car sand drag racing record at 2.69 seconds at Barona in 2000. This record still stands today. The duo moved on to dragsters with a two car team and were a force to be reckoned in the Top Fuel class from there on out. Charlie Jr. set the TF National Record in 2005 with a 2.358. Both of the Team Extreme dragsters continued on and the father-son team continued on until Charlie Sr. retired from the driver’s seat in the fall of 2006. His love of the sport never waned supporting his son and their Top Fuel program. Charlie Sr. will not be forgotten.
Montiel, much like Charlie Sr., was a man held in high regard by everyone
within the sport. Montiel set many memorable moments in his four-cylinder rides,
all aptly named “Top Dog”; including breaking the 2-second Buggy barrier in his
A/Buggy. Richard waged war in the A/Fuel class with his four-cylinder dragster,
then moved up to his final BAE Hemi Top Alcohol Dragster. This dragster
revolutionized the Top Alcohol class on sand and changed it into what it is
today. Richard’s TA Top Dog Dragster was so far ahead of the curve that he
raced in the Top Fuel class when the car was first built as it was so far ahead
of the rest of the Top Alcohol class. Richard held the Top Alcohol record from
2004 until January of 2008 with a 2.496 ET recorded at Avenal. In a quest for
getting the record back, he came very close in March at
In these times, we can all hold solace in the thought of these guys racing in the sky with the rest of our fallen heroes. RIP Charlie and Richard.
Below are a few of my favorite pics of Richard Montiel
Richard roasting the tires at WMSD in 2005.
Richard planting the wheelie bar in March of '08 at Yuma.
Richard on his way to his last TA class win at Soboba in May of '07.