Goodyear wins eight times at NHRA finals
National Hot Rod Association: Kenny Bernstein won the 2001 Top Fuel championship in style, winning the final race of the season in the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway. Bernstein won the title after a season-long battle with Larry Dixon.
Bernstein said, "We've been on sudden death for the last three consecutive races.
I'm glad it's over. I'm pretty beat up."
Other champions crowned included John Force (Funny Car), Warren Johnson (Pro Stock), and Bob Panella Jr. (Pro Stock Truck).
Panella said the consistency of Goodyear tires played a key role in his winning this year's championship. "We started the year out with a bunch of fresh tires and we tested them." Panella said. "I mean, they last 25 laps now. You don't have to take them off the truck after 25 passes. You do it because you feel like you ought to, but there is still tread on the tires."
Del Worsham won the Funny Car final, knocking off Whit Bazemore, who was the top qualifier.
"All year long, they've been great tires," Worsham said of his Goodyears. "Every time we changed tires, we did not worry about them. ...I'm looking forward to running the new tire next year. It's a fast, safe tire. It looked good to us."
Bazemore, after beating Johnny Gray in the second round, exclaimed, "Perfect! "It moved around a little bit early on, got it back in the groove and those Goodyear tires really stuck."
Bruce Allen beat Brad Jeter in the Pro Stock final and said the decision to use Goodyear's D1239 drive tire during the season invigorated his team. "We started running the D1239 tires before anyone else did," said Allen. "That's really helped us. They stay round and don't deflect. The tires work every run. We don't even consider the tire (when they tune the car). We work on other parts of the car. They're awesome."
Don Stratton won the Competition Eliminator final on Goodyear tires. Other winners using Goodyear tires included Mike Wirlishousor (Super Pro), Mike La Rosa (Pro) and Tim Pazour (motorcycle).
Federal Mogul Dragster entrant Henkelman Motorsports proved that Goodyear tires do more than help a racecar go fast. The team, whose driver is Brandon Henkelman, uses Goodyear tires and won the Best Appearing Crew Award at the Finals.