Las Vegas: Valvoline/Eagle One preview

Summitracing.com Nationals The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev. April 4-7 Race 4 of the 23-event NHRA POWERade Series All NHRA races televised exclusively by ESPN/ESPN2 Pro Stock: 3 Straight Poles, 50 Races, for Krisher Ron...

Summitracing.com Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev.
April 4-7
Race 4 of the 23-event NHRA POWERade Series
All NHRA races televised exclusively by ESPN/ESPN2

Pro Stock: 3 Straight Poles, 50 Races, for Krisher

Ron Krisher was the No. 1 qualifier for the inaugural NHRA appearance in Las Vegas in 2000. He earned his third consecutive -- and eighth career -- No. 1 qualifying position in the most recent Pro Stock event, at Gainesville, Fla., but red-lighted in the first round. Krisher's Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier has been the No. 1 qualifier at all three races this year, including Pomona and Firebird.

Krisher has now qualified for an impressive 50 consecutive Pro Stock events, going 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 trying for the 16 qualifying positions in this season's first three races. 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.

Ron Krisher on the Pro Stock class: "It's unbelievably competitive. Anybody who can qualify can win on Sunday. That's all there is to it. You sneeze and you're out of here. It's the toughest racing there is. I've talked to some Funny Car people and they don't want anything to do with Pro Stock. They're used to a bigger (time) spread and less competition than what we deal with. I'm not knocking them, it's just this class is so competitive, you've got to do it right every run. If you don't, you're out. That makes it stressful on Sunday. Sunday is always a tough day. You don't need to do very much wrong to go home."

NOTE: Read more about the ultra-competitive NHRA Pro Stock class in the current "Behind [Closed] Garage Doors" column now posted on the Valvoline.com racing section.

Top Fuel: Russell a Winner Last Time in Vegas

Darrell Russell was a winner on his most recent trip to Las Vegas, driving the James Dean-themed Valvoline/Keystone Automotive dragster to a final-round victory over Kenny Bernstein in last October's AC Delco Nationals. Russell was last season's NHRA Rookie of the Year with two victories and sixth in Top Fuel points.

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.

Darrell Russell on his second season in Top Fuel: "Having one season under my belt enables me to come out here and know the system and how things work. Last season, I was kind of feeling my way through it, and trying to fit it. Now I feel like I'm pretty much part of the group and everytime I get in the car I'm learning more and more."

Russell is scheduled to attend the NHRA autograph session Thursday night (April 4), 7-8 p.m., at the ESPN Zone restaurant on the Las Vegas strip.

-v/eo-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Ron Krisher , Tom Hammonds