READING, Pa. (Oct. 6) - Brandon Bernstein guided the ProtectTheHarvest.com/MATV Top Fuel dragster to a career best ET and speed Saturday on the way to qualifying sixth for Sunday's 28th annual Uni-Select Auto Plus NHRA Nationals.

Brandon Bernstein
Brandon Bernstein

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

"That third qualifying run we made was amazing," Bernstein said. "It's was such a tremendous rush to make a pass like that one."

With clouds and cool air covering Maple Grove Raceway, Bernstein saddled up and drove a lap of 3.758 seconds at 326.48 mph. His previous bests were 3.764 and 325.85 mph.

"Sixth place with a 3.75, that's just crazy," Bernstein said. "But we know where we need to be, and where we need to go from there. I know my crew chief Joe (Barlam) can tune it any direction we need to go."

The ProtectTheHarvest.com car was far from a one-shot wonder. On Friday, Bernstein ran laps of 3.793 and 3.775 seconds before shaking the tires in his second run on Saturday.

"We were in position where we could go for it a little on that last run," Bernstein said. "Especially after we saw the (record breaking) runs going on in front of us. We had to take a chance.

"If it would have hit and stuck, it probably would have run a 3.72 or something."

As it was, the No. 1 qualifier Dave Grubnic ran the quickest ET in the 1,000 foot era of 3.728 at 327.11 mph with Bernstein's teammate Morgan Lucas the second quickest with a 3.733 seconds at 330.96 mph.

Bernstein faces No. 11 qualifier Larry Dixon in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. Dixon ran a 3.818 second lap at 316.30 mph to make the field.

"Any time you go quick and fast and are able to repeat it, that's a good feeling," Bernstein said. "You can win a lot of races that way, especially if you are quick on the back half of the runs."

Bernstein has reached the semifinals in all three of the Countdown races so far.

Source: Lucas Oil Racing