Baytown: Valvoline/Eagle One preview

O'Reilly Spring Nationals Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, Tex. April 11-14 Race 5 of the 23-event NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock: Krisher Wins Vegas; Has 4 Straight Poles After earning his fourth consecutive (ninth career) No. 1 ...

O'Reilly Spring Nationals
Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, Tex.
April 11-14
Race 5 of the 23-event NHRA POWERade Series

Pro Stock: Krisher Wins Vegas; Has 4 Straight Poles

After earning his fourth consecutive (ninth career) No. 1 qualifying position last weekend in Las Vegas, Ron Krisher drove his Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier to a wire-to-wire victory over Darrell Alderman in the finals of the SummitRacing.com Nationals. It was Krisher's first win of the season and the fourth of his Pro Stock career. He is now fifth in points, just 45 behind leader George Marnell. He has been the No. 1 qualifier at all four races this year, including Pomona, Firebird, Gainesville and Las Vegas

Krisher has now qualified for an impressive 51 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 trying for the 16 qualifying positions in this season's first four races. 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 his Las Vegas win: "We have the quickest and fastest car out here and I think everybody realizes that. I think we can make a run for the championship and we've got as good a shot at it as anyone."

Top Fuel: 'Home' Race for Russell; Amato on Bernstein

Darrell Russell considers Houston Raceway Park to be his "home" track since his residence is in Hockley, Texas. An ESPN crew is scheduled to spend a day at Russell's ranch this week, videotaping him with his miniature donkeys, and calf-roping. Russell comes to Houston after advancing to the second round last weekend in Las Vegas, his first outing with new crew chief Wayne Dupuy and an essentially all-new crew. Russell is 10th in Top Fuel points.

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.

Joe Amato on the retirement of his long-time friend and golfing buddy Kenny Bernstein: "We've talked a lot about it. He knows it's (season) going to be intense. Budweiser will make a big deal out of it and it will be nice. I think he's comfortable and accomplished what he's wanted to do. He's beat up pretty good from being in the car and racing all these years, his neck and his back.

"I think he'll be OK because he's a pretty tough character. He's ready (to stop). His mind is ready to get out of the car, but it will probably be pretty emotional at the end, but once he gets there, he'll be happy."

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Hines Opens with Pole

Matt Hines opened the bike portion of the NHRA season with a pole at Gainesville, but lost in the second round to Reggie Showers. The Eagle One Suzuki driver, a three-time NHRA bike champion, was runner-up to Angelle Savoie in this event last season and is still trying for his first career victory at Houston.

Hines on NHRA's new series sponsorship with POWERade: "The Pro Stock Bikes are an extreme sport. I think POWERade could definitely take advantage of using the bikes in their advertising campaigns. The bikes have always been a little bit of a sideshow, but I think that can be good for our new sponsor."

NEXT EVENT: Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol Dragway, Bristol, Tenn., April 26-28.

-v/eo-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Joe Amato , Ron Krisher , Reggie Showers , Tom Hammonds , George Marnell