Semifinal finish makes for a successful weekend for Russell. READING, Pa. (Sept. 16) -- It took a day longer than expected, but Darrell Russell's semifinal finish at the rain-delayed 18th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals put smiles on the faces...
Semifinal finish makes for a successful weekend for Russell.
READING, Pa. (Sept. 16) -- It took a day longer than expected, but Darrell Russell's semifinal finish at the rain-delayed 18th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals put smiles on the faces of every member of Joe Amato's Bilstein Engine Flush System Top Fuel team.
"You always want to win but it's hard not to feel good about the effort this Bilstein Engine Flush team put forward this weekend," Russell said."We gained 40 points on the guy directly in front of us in the points and we're now poised for a big weekend in Memphis. We were in fourth place a few weeks ago and now we're just five points away from taking that spot back. If not for a dropped cylinder here, we'd already be there.
"Credit Wayne Dupuy and the crew. This car got quicker every round and you certainly can't fault them for the parts failure we encountered against Doug. We feel like we have our hot rod back and we're ready to win a few more races before we're done."
The overnight delay certainly didn't rattle Russell. The 33-year-old from Hockley, Texas, opened the day by sweeping through his quarterfinal race against Andrew Cowin with the session's best reaction time, fastest speed, and most importantly, quickest elapsed time. Russell beat Cowin off the line .445 to .480 seconds, and led the whole way, winning with a 4.581 at 319.90 mph over Cowin's tire-smoking 7.154 at 118.44 mph.
Even in his semifinal loss to Kalitta, Russell was steady behind the wheel, matching Kalitta's .476-second reaction time at the tree. The car just couldn't overcome the loss of horsepower from a dead cylinder, which developed just a few hundred feet into the run, and Kalitta won with a 4.587 at 319.67 mph to Russell's 4.677 at 302.96 mph.
Due to yesterday's rain, ESPN2 has added an extra 90 minutes of coverage of today's race, which will air from 1-2:30 a.m., Tuesday. There will also be a repeat showing of the elimination rounds from 3-5 a.m. (ET) on Wednesday.