Third Annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals April 25-27, Bristol Dragway, Bristol. Tenn. Post Race Notes TOP FUEL * Brandon Bernstein, from Indianapolis, won his third event of the 2003 season by defeating Doug Herbert in the final ...
Third Annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals
April 25-27, Bristol Dragway, Bristol. Tenn.
Post Race Notes
* Brandon Bernstein, from Indianapolis, won his third event of the 2003 season by defeating Doug Herbert in the final round. The 30-year-old Rookie of the Year candidate powered the Budweiser dragster to the finish line in 4.625-seconds at 320.13 mph to outrun Herbert's Snap-on Tools dragster, which recorded numbers of 4.880 at 282.72.
* With the victory, Bernstein moved into the points lead - a first in his career. He bumped Larry Dixon out of the top spot for the first time in 28 events. The last person to hold the Top Fuel points lead was Kenny Bernstein following the 2001 season. Dixon's 28 consecutive races as the Top Fuel leader is an NHRA record. Bernstein leads Dixon by just 21 points.
* Bernstein also was the No. 1 qualifier for the event - another first in his career. He drove his Budweiser dragster to the top of the field with a track-record run of 4.530 at 328.38.
* Bernstein has already recorded stellar numbers in his short career. He is 3-for-3 in final round appearances, earning wins at Phoenix, Gainesville, Fla., and Bristol this season. He also has a runner-up at the Budweiser Shootout bonus event that was held at the season-opener in Pomona, Calif. He also has a No. 1 qualifier to his credit as well as the Top Fuel points lead.
* The Thunder Valley crowd exhaled a collective sigh of relief during the fourth and final round of qualifying Saturday when Dixon walked away from a spectacular crash in his Miller Lite dragster. Dixon crashed into the left wall before careening across both lanes to crash into the right wall. While the car was destroyed, Dixon walked away without a scratch. He was furious, however, about losing his favorite hot rod. The Miller Lite team stayed at the track until the early hours of Sunday morning to prepare the backup car, which beat Don Lampus in the first round, but lost to Jim Head in the second round.
* Del Worsham, from Chino Hills, Calif., earned his first win of the year in the Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird. Worsham's 12th career victory came with a 4.924 pass at 310.41, beating Whit Bazemore's 6.500 at 194.35 in his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T. It was Worsham's first final round appearance at Bristol Dragway.
* Tony Pedregon, from Chino Hills, Calif., earned his third No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the 20th of his career when his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang blasted down the track in 4.765 seconds at 322.81 mph, setting the track E.T. record.
* Worsham's victory moved him into the No. 3 spot in the Funny Car points standings. It was Worsham's first victory since the October event in Dallas last season.
* Densham established a track record for speed when his Automobile Club Ford Mustang reached 325.06 mph during qualifying.
* John Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., is still winless in the 2003 season. He lost to Worsham in the second round and is No. 8 in the Funny Car point standings - nearly 300 points out of first place. Force has yet to advance past the second round of eliminations this season.
* Pedregon still holds the top spot in the Funny Car standings. Pedregon has been No. 1 following four of the six events. Bazemore occupies the No. 2 spot, 67 points out of first. Worsham is third, 101 points from Pedregon.
* Kurt Johnson, from Lawrenceville, Ga., scored his third victory of the season and 26th of his career by beating Mike Edwards in the final round. Johnson drove his ACDelco Chevy Cavalier to a 6.899-second run at 200.92 mph to defeat Edwards' 6.925 at 199.37 in his Young Life Pontiac Grand Am.
* Warren Johnson earned his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the 129th of his career with a time of 6.862 seconds at 200.62 mph in his GM Performance Parts Pontiac Grand Am.
* Mike Edwards, from Broken Arrow, Okla., earned a $1,000 bonus by earning the Motel 6 'Who Got the Light' award when he defeated Taylor Lastor by 0.0014 of-a-second margin of victory in the semifinal round of Pro Stock eliminations.
* Johnson's victory extended his lead in the POWERade standings. He leads Greg Anderson by 95 points, and he has a 114-point lead over his father, Warren Johnson.
* Notable DNQ's: Jim Yates, Allen Johnson, V Gaines and Darrell Alderman.