Russell reigns supreme in Seattle. SEATTLE (July 29) -- Darrell Russell has claimed the title of the 15th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals, winning back-to-back national events on the POWERade Drag Racing Series for the first time in his brief ...
Russell reigns supreme in Seattle.
SEATTLE (July 29) -- Darrell Russell has claimed the title of the 15th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals, winning back-to-back national events on the POWERade Drag Racing Series for the first time in his brief career. Russell drove away from legend Kenny Bernstein in the finals of the rain-delayed race, winning with a 4.657-second clocking at 308.00 mph, well ahead of Bernstein's tire-smoking 5.788 at 159.12 mph.
"We just stayed within our capabilities and raced as hard as we could every round," Russell said. "Man, when you beat Larry Dixon and Kenny Bernstein in back-to-back elimination races, it seems like you've been through a dark alley on Saturday night. Those guys are the best in the world for a reason and it's pretty satisfying to beat them both in one day. I couldn't be happier for everyone on this Bilstein Engine Flush team."
Russell, a 33-year-old from Hockley, Texas, had to wait an extra day to claim his fifth career victory when rain forced NHRA officials to postpone the proceedings Sunday after Round 1 of eliminations. The wait didn't hurt the Bilstein Engine Flush team at all as they delivered a strong and consistent race car to Pacific Raceways Monday.
Opening the day in the quarterfinals against Doug Herbert, Russell ran a 4.625 at 308.21 mph to drive away from Herbert's 4.715 at 307.58 mph. He then squared off with season-long points leader Larry Dixon, who had an 8-1 lifetime mark versus Russell leading into this match-up. But the past didn't repeat itself this time as Russell jumped out to an early .479 to .489-second lead and never looked back, winning with a 4.614 at 315.34 mph ahead of Dixon's 4.629 at 321.35 mph.
Bernstein had a jump on Russell in the finals, leaving the starting line in .463 seconds compared to Russell's .492-second start. But the Bud King went up in smoke soon thereafter, allowing Russell to zip by for his third victory of the season, which ties the season total of victories logged by Bernstein. Russell remains fifth in the POWERade championship points standings but not by much. He trails Tony Schumacher by just four points and third-place runner Cory McClenathan by 46 points.
"Wayne Dupuy has got to be one of the best crew chiefs in the world," Russell said. "He's made us into a solid, every-race contender and him and his crew deserve all the credit. It's easy to drive when you have the confidence these guys give you. It's a great feeling to go into a race knowing you can win instead of hoping for a break.
"I'm so happy we're delivering like this for all of our great sponsors. Matco Tools, American Racing Wheels, Keystone Automotive, Valvoline, those guys have been with this team through thick and thin and it's very cool to reward them in some way. I wish Joe [Amato, team owner] were here to celebrate with us. We'll just have to catch up on the celebration in Sonoma this weekend."
Television coverage of the rain-delayed portion of the 15th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals will air at 3 p.m. (ET) Friday on ESPN2.