Las Vegas II: Team Valvoline/Eagle One preview

Krisher, Russell defending winners at Las Vegas. Both Ron Krisher and Darrell Russell are defending winners at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Krisher's Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier won the Pro Stock class in April's SummitRacing.com ...

Krisher, Russell defending winners at Las Vegas.

Both Ron Krisher and Darrell Russell are defending winners at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Krisher's Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier won the Pro Stock class in April's SummitRacing.com Nationals at Vegas. He qualified No. 1 and defeated Darrell Alderman in the final round. Russell won last year's inaugural AC-Delco Nationals at Vegas, driving his Valvoline/Keystone Automotive Top Fuel dragster to victory over Kenny Bernstein.

Pro Stock: Krisher's Qualifying Streak Hits 68

Ron Krisher has qualified for 68 consecutive NHRA Pro Stock events going into this weekend's race at Las Vegas. Since Warren Johnson failed to qualify at Somona, ending a 303-race consecutive qualifying streak, Krisher's effort in the Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier tops the Pro Stock class. Krisher has eight poles this season -- including the most recent race in Texas -- and won at Las Vegas.

Krisher's qualifying streak dates back to the year 2000 season-opener at Pomona. Pro Stock may well be the most competitive racing series in the world, with between 34-37 cars typically trying for the 16 qualifying positions. Krisher was one of only four drivers to qualify for all 24 NHRA events in 2001.

Krisher owns his own drag racing engine development company, KRJ, located in Newark, Ohio. His company supplies engines to Pro Stock competitors Tom Hammonds and V. Gaines. Before entering Pro Stock, Krisher raced sports cars on road courses and sprint cars on dirt, and he's a self-made entrepreneur.

Top Fuel: Amato Counts Down to Bernstein Farewell

Joe Amato, owner of Darrell Russell's Valvoline-backed Bilstein Engine Flush Top Fuel dragster, is a longtime friend of retiring NHRA legend Kenny Bernstein. Amato recorded five Top Fuel titiles and 52 wins, both NHRA records, during his career. He retired following the 2000 season due to eye injuries.

Amato on Bernstein's retirement: â^À^ÜWeâ^À^Ùve talked a lot about it (retirement). One nice thing about it is he has a son (Brandon) he can stick in the car. I think heâ^À^Ùs comfortable and accomplished what heâ^À^Ùs wanted to do. Heâ^À^Ùs beat up pretty good from being in the car and racing all these years, his neck and his back. I think heâ^À^Ùll be OK because heâ^À^Ùs a pretty tough character. Heâ^À^Ùs ready. His mind is ready to get out of the car, but it will probably be pretty emotional at the end, but once he gets there, heâ^À^Ùll be happy.â^À^Ý

Russell has three victories this season and is fifth in Top Fuel points. At a U.S. Nationals news conference, it was announced Russell and crew chief Wayne Dupuy signed three-year contract extensions with owner Joe Amato -- through 2005. Bilstein Engine Flush will continue as primary sponsor, with Valvoline and Keystone Automotive as associate sponsors.

Continuing one of the most successful partnerships in modern motor racing, Valvoline returns in 2002 for the 19th season as a sponsor of Joe Amato's Top Fuel team. From 1984 through his retirement after the 2000 campaign, Valvoline's technical, product and financial support helped Amato to five Top Fuel championships and 52 victories, both NHRA records. Darrell Russell added to the record in 2001, with two wins, and NHRA Rookie of the Year honors in Amato's dragster. Bilstein Engine Flush is Amato Racing's new primary sponsor.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Hines No. 1 Qualifier at Texas

Three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Matt Hines put his Eagle One Suzuki on the pole at the most recent NHRA POWERade series event, Oct. 13 at the Texas Motorplex. In a friendly family feud, however, he lost to brother Andrew in the second round.

-tv/eo-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Warren Johnson , Joe Amato , Ron Krisher , Tom Hammonds