GAINESVILLE, Fla. - After a couple of weeks time to step back and evaluate the early season, Brandon Bernstein and the ProtectTheHarvest.com/MAVTV Top Fuel dragster crew are looking to do some damage at this weekend's NHRA Gatornationals at Auto Plus Raceway.
"We feel very confident going into Gainesville," Bernstein said. "My crew chief Joe Barlam has a great setup ready for this weekend. I think we're going to be in a good position to go out there and try to win that race."
"The car performed well in the first two races," Bernstein said. "We just were unlucky on race day in both Pomona and Phoenix, especially in Phoenix because we could have won that one and had a chance to move on."
If the weather cooperates, Bernstein said he expects Gainesville to be the first place this year where crew chiefs can pull out all the stops on their race cars.
"We've been there before when it's miserably hot," he said. "But if it's cool and the rains stay away, we'll easily be able to run in the 3.70 (second range) all day long. Of course, everybody else will be running in the 3.70s too.
"The competition is just so tough right now. So we have to go out there and be consistent and qualify well so we can have an easier first round."
Bernstein enters the weekend's racing action in ninth place in the Top Fuel standings, but he's just 10 points out of seventh. Bernstein said it's a key opportunity for the ProtectTheHarvest.com team to capture some momentum and charge up the standings.
"Once you get into the rhythm of going rounds, you really get the confidence you can wins some of these races," Bernstein said. "That's what we're shooting for. We want to get that comfortable feeling and start going to the semifinals and finals like we did at the tail end of last year."
Qualifying for the NHRA Gatornationals gets under way at noon EDT Friday from Auto Plus Raceway and continues at that same time on Saturday. Eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 1:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday and the eliminations show at 7 p.m. Sunday evening.