Topeka: Valvoline/Eagle One preview

O'Reilly Summer Nationals Heartland Park, Topeka, Kansas May 24-26 Race 9 of the 23-event NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock: Krisher Defending Topeka Winner Ron Krisher is the defending Pro Stock winner in the O'Reilly Summer Nationals. He drove...

O'Reilly Summer Nationals
Heartland Park, Topeka, Kansas
May 24-26
Race 9 of the 23-event NHRA POWERade Series

Pro Stock: Krisher Defending Topeka Winner

Ron Krisher is the defending Pro Stock winner in the O'Reilly Summer Nationals. He drove his Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier to the final-round win over Mark Pawuk last year. Krisher ran 6.963 seconds, 198.73 mph, to Pawuk's 7.076, 197.19 mph. Krisher opened this season with four consecutive Pro Stock poles, won at Las Vegas, and made the final round at Bristol.

Krisher has now qualified for an impressive 55 consecutive Pro Stock events, going back to the year 2000 season-opener at Pomona. 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.

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.

Krisher on returning to Topeka as defending race winner: "It gives you a little boost. You feel like you can predict what might happen (with track conditions) a little more than other people can. It was a real tough racetrack (last year), one of the most slippery we ran on all year. It was slippery in the center of the racetrack, and we won every round from the bad lane, and that made it kind of neat. We got to the final round and finally got in the good lane. It was a tough track but we managed to master it."

Krisher on racing on Memorial Day weekend, post Sept. 11: "I always think Memorial Day is special, just like the Fourth of July. I am one of those people who still gets a lump in my throat when they play the National Anthem. I still think there are a lot of people who feel that way and it is more special this year because of Sept. 11 and because we're involved in a war. I've got a lot of pride in this country and have a lot of heart for it. I've lived the American Dream. I believe that every day I'm alive. There's no where in the world you can do the things, or accomplish the things, you can here. I thank God I'm an American." (Krisher displays the American flag on his Eagle One Cavalier.)

Top Fuel: Russell In Top 10

Darrell Russell has worked his way into the top 10 in Top Fuel points after a difficult start to the season. In Las Vegas, he started working with new crew chief Wayne Dupuy and an essentially all-new crew.

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 racing on Memorial Day weekend, post Sept. 11: "Because I've been involved in racing most of my life, Memorial Day, to me, has always been special, especially because of the Indy 500. For us to be able to go out and participate in drag racing on Memorial Day weekend just shows you that this country has to move on and I think we're doing a great job at that. At the same time, I believe everyone feels the same way, that we as Americans have to push forward and racing is one example to show to the world that we are carrying on and continuing to do the things we love to do." (The American flag is displayed on Russell's car.)

Amato on racing on Memorial Day weekend, post Sept. 11: "I think that's something that will be on everybody's mind this weekend. I like to think of NHRA drag racing as an All-American kind of sport and the fact that we are able to go out and race and put on a show for the fans on an important holiday like Memorial Day is special, and it's extra-special this year because of what happened last Sept. 11. I think we'll see a lot of fans wearing red, white and blue this weekend and showing their patriotism and pride in our country while enjoying themselves watching NHRA. That kind of says it all about what the United States is all about."

NEXT EVENT: Chicagoland Dodge Dealers Nationals, Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill., May 31-June 2.

-ve1-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Ron Krisher , Tom Hammonds