Indianapolis - Brandon Bernstein won a round in the ProtectTheHarvest.com/MAVTV Top Fuel dragster and moved up a spot in the points on Sunday at the 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at Lucas Oil Raceway.

"We got some help from our teammate Morgan Lucas," Bernstein said. "We knew if we got around Doug Kalitta, we'd help him and if he beat David Grubnic, that would help us. That's cool and we wanted to move up.

"Every little bit extra helps when you are ready to start the Countdown."

When the NHRA's playoffs get under way next weekend, Bernstein will start from the No. 8 position and be 90 points behind leader Antron Brown when the points are reset.

Bernstein did get around Doug Kalitta in the first round before falling to Shawn Langdon in the second round.

"It's a little disappointing," Bernstein said. "We knew we could run with these guys, but we had been plagued all weekend with the blower belt not staying on the car all the way down the track.

Brandon Bernstein
Brandon Bernstein

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

"It kept pitching the belt off right before the finish line and losing that last push of power hurts you."

Bernstein made a quick, clean pass against Kalitta, running a lap of 3.809 seconds at 316.97 mph as Kalitta smoked an slid his way down the track with a 7.167 second pass at 111.72 mph.

Before his second round pass, the ProtectTheHarvest.com car had an air line pop off, which caused the crew to scramble around Bernstein before he even had a chance to make his burnout.

"As a driver, when something like that happens you think, 'Oh man, this is crazy,'" he said. "Everybody was working on it, but once you work through that initial shock, as a driver, you take that out of your mind.

"Then you just focus on the job you have at hand, knowing the guys did everything they could to fix the problem. They're not going to send me down the track if there's something drastically wrong or unsafe."

Langdon got out first and ran a 3.793 at 325.61 mph to Bernstein's 3.838 at 313.80 mph.

"It's unfortunate that the car would pitch the belt out right before the finish," Bernstein said. "But it's something we'll get fix and have ready when the Countdown gets started next week."

The NHRA postseason gets under way starting Friday at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Charlotte.

Source: Brandon Bernstein