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Top Fuel: Russell coming off Denver victory; talks about challenges of 'Western Swing'. Darrell Russell won his second event of the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel season in last Sunday's Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Colorado's Bandimere Speedway.

Top Fuel: Russell coming off Denver victory; talks about challenges of 'Western Swing'.

Darrell Russell won his second event of the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel season in last Sunday's Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Colorado's Bandimere Speedway. Russell's Valvoline-backed Bilstein Engine Flush dragster qualified No. 3 and worked his way through the eliminations field, defeating Scott Weis, Paul Romine and Melanie Troxel and then Cory McClenathan in the finals. Russell earlier had defeated Larry Dixon at Topeka on Memorial Day weekend.

Five of Joe Amato's NHRA record 52 Top Fuel victories came at Pacific Raceways -- 1999, 1998, 1994, 1991 and 1989 -- and now the five-time class champion has moved into the role as owner of the Russell-driven, Valvoline-backed Bilstein English Flush dragster. After an unproductive start to the season, Amato hired Wayne Dupuy as crew chief beginning at Las Vegas (fourth event) and the new combination has been making steady progress.

Russell, last season's NHRA Rookie of the Year, has moved into fifth place in the POWERade point standings.

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.

Russell on the challenges of NHRA's annual Western Swing (consecutive events in Denver, Seattle and Somona): "It's not just three races, it's three totally different races. Denver, the first one, you're a mile up in the air. You have to have a totally different tuneup than you would anywhere else. Then, it's a long haul to Seattle. We'll be racing there on a track surface that is somewhat marginal. The crew chiefs have to work their magic to try to get the cars to go down the track. Then, it's the haul to Somona, and this year it's a brand-new facility and we'll have to see how the track is going to be. It's a whole-new track surface there. This puts a premium on organization. Our truck isn't going back to the shop until after Indy (Labor Day weekend), so it has to be stocked with enough parts and pieces to get us through this tour."

SEASON-TO-DATE:
Pomona (2/10) -- Qualified 15th. Lost in first round to Larry Dixon.
Firebird (2/24) -- Qualified 12th. Lost in first round to Doug Kalitta.
Gainesville (3/17) -- Qualified 13th. Lost in first round to Doug Kalitta.
Las Vegas (4/7) -- Qualified 12th. Lost in second round to Tony
Schumacher.
Houston (4/14) -- Qualified seventh. Lost in first round to John Smith.
Bristol (4/28) -- Qualified sixth. Lost in final round to Larry Dixon.
Atlanta (5/5) -- Qualified 14th. Lost in first round to Cory McClenathan.
Englishtown (5/19) -- Qualified fourth. Lost in first round to Scott Weis.
Topeka (5/26) -- Qualified third. Won final round over Larry Dixon.
Route 66 (6/2) -- Qualified third. Lost in second round to Larry Dixon.
Columbus (6/16) -- Qualified second. Lost in second round to Tony Schumacher.
Gateway (6/30) -- Qualified 13th. Lost in second round to Yuichi Oyama.
Denver (7/21) -- Qualified third. Won final round over Cory McClenathan.
Currently fifth in Top Fuel points.

DARRELL RUSSELL
Age: 33
Residence: Hockley, Tex.
2001 Season: NHRA Rookie of the Year
2 wins (Pomona, Feb.; Las Vegas, Oct.)
Sixth in Top Fuel points.
Career Wins: 4

JOE AMATO
Age: 57
Residence: Moosic, Pa.
Career: NHRA Top Fuel record-holder with five championships and 52 wins.
Retired following 2000 season.

Pro Stock: Krisher's Qualifying Streak Hits 60

Ron Krisher, driver of the Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier, has now qualified for an impressive 60 consecutive Pro Stock events, going back to the year 2000 season-opener at Pomona. Krisher returned to his "Crusher" nickname status last weekend at Bandimere Speedway, taking his fifth No. 1 qualifying spot of the season. 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. He's currently sixth in the POWERade point standings and won earlier this season in Las Vegas.

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.

SEASON-TO-DATE:
Pomona (2/10) -- Qualified first. Lost in first round to George Marnell.
Firebird (2/24) -- Qualified first. Lost in second round to Kurt Johnson.
Gainesville (3/17) -- Qualified first. Lost in first round (red light) to Mark Whisnant.
Las Vegas (4/7) -- Qualified first. Won final round over Darrell Alderman.
Houston (4/14) -- Qualified fourth. Lost in first round to Bruce Allen.
Bristol (4/28) -- Qualified fifth. Lost in final round to Warren Johnson.
Atlanta (5/5) -- Qualified seventh. Lost in first round to Darrell Alderman.
Englishtown (5/19) -- Qualified 15th. Lost in first round to Jeg Coughlin.
Topeka (5/26) -- Qualified 16th. Lost in first round to Jim Yates.
Route 66 (6/2) -- Qualified fifth. Lost in first round to Greg Anderson.
Columbus (6/16) -- Qualified fourth. Lost in second round to Greg Anderson.
Gateway (6/30) -- Qualified second. Lost in first round to Tom Hammonds.
Denver (7/21) -- Qualified first. Lost in first round to Darrell Alderman.
Currently sixth in Pro Stock points.

RON KRISHER
Age: 54
Residence: Warren, Ohio
2001 Season: 1 win (Topeka)
Eighth in Pro Stock points
Career Wins: 4

Racing Biz: Valvoline Sweeps All 4 Classes at Denver

It's not often one company sweeps a racing weekend, but that's just what Valvoline and Eagle One drivers did in last weekend's Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. In Top Fuel, Darrell Russel won in Joe Amato's Valvoline-backed Bilstein Engine Flush dragster. In Funny Car, Del Worsham's Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird took top honors. In Pro Stock, Ron Krisher's Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier was the No. 1 qualifier, while Mike Edwards' Young Life Cavalier was the winner. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, three-time champion Matt Hines took his first victory of the season on the Eagle One Suzuki.

NEXT EVENT: Fram-Autolite Nationals, Infineon Raceway, Somona, Calif., Aug. 2-4.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Paul Romine , Matt Hines , Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , Scott Weis , Del Worsham , Joe Amato , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , Tom Hammonds , Melanie Troxel , George Marnell , Mark Whisnant , Mike Edwards