Brandon Bernstein - Rookie Top Fuel driver of the Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster who took over the driving duties for his father Kenny after the 2002 season. Brandon has won three races out of the first seven and enters Englishtown 35 points behind...
Brandon Bernstein - Rookie Top Fuel driver of the Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster who took over the driving duties for his father Kenny after the 2002 season. Brandon has won three races out of the first seven and enters Englishtown 35 points behind Larry Dixon in the POWERade standings -- "It's all about the Budweiser/Lucas Oil team. We've worked together these past couple of years, and we knew coming into the season that the team was capable of winning races and challenging for the championship. We're feeling very comfortable in the car, but we're continuing to learn with each pass down the race track. My father and (crew chief) Tim (Richards) have been instrumental in helping me shorten the learning curve. My dad hasn't missed one pass we've made in the car in testing, qualifying or eliminations, and he can tell me when I need to change my driving technique or when we're right on. Tim has been very patient, and he's an excellent crew chief. We're excited to race at Englishtown. Dad has been very successful there and we hope a little of that rubs off our way. It would be neat to continue the Bernstein string of victories at Old Bridge."
Doug Herbert - driver of the Snap-on Tools dragster made his way up to fourth in the standings following the race at Atlanta, his highest placement in the standings since 1999 - "Ron (Douglas, crew chief) and Brissette (Jim, the tuning advisor) and I are communicating much better. We know what we need to do; now it's time for us to do it. I was pleased with the way we ran (recently), but we didn't win the race, so it wasn't a perfect weekend. We are getting closer to figuring out a consistent tune-up. Once we get that, we should be able to win some races and put pressure on the leaders."
John Force - the 12-time Funny Car champion, the last 10 in a row, drives the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang and has struggled in 2003. He got off to his worst start since 1980 and needs an improved performance if he hopes to capture a 13th POWERade title. He moved up to eighth in the standings following his No. 1 qualifying effort and semifinal finish at Atlanta - "It hasn't been one thing. It hasn't just been the blowers. A (spark) plug fizzed on the burnout at Las Vegas. We've dropped cylinders. Everybody goes through it. But we'll be back and when we are, I'm not talking to any of these guys who already have us dead and buried. What else are (crew chief Austin) Coil and I gonna do? Racing is all we do and we've never raced to lose."
Tony Pedregon - driver of the Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang, one of the three cars owned by John Force. Pedregon has been dominant in 2003 winning four of seven races, and closed out 2002 with a spectacular finish, losing the championship to Force in the semifinals of the last race of the season. He is a favorite for this year's POWERade Funny Car title - "It's way too early to even talk about the championship. We'll just go out this week and try to do what we've been doing. Watching John, I've learned what it takes. You have to be focused every week because there aren't any easy races anymore. Anybody can take you out at any time."
Tommy Johnson Jr. - driver of one of the two Skoal racing Chevy Camaros owned by Do Prudhomme -- "I think we are making serious progress toward reaching our goals. It has taken (crew chief) Mike Green a little while to figure out what the Funny Cars likes vs. the dragsters. He spent most of last year with Darrell Gwynn's Top Fuel team and had that car running very well. The tuning choices Mike has to make now for track and weather conditions are very different than the ones he made with the dragster. That's what he's been working on for the last two or three races. He's been finding out what works and what doesn't, and that's what's been making our team better - him being able to adjust for the different track and atmospheric conditions and the crew being able to carry out what he wants. He and assistant crew chief Tommy DeLago are working well together. We are way ahead of where we were last year. I believe we are a win waiting to happen.
Scotty Cannon - the mohawk-sporting driver of the Oakley Pontiac Firebird is still seeking his first NHRA win. He is part of a three-car Funny Car operation for Schumacher Racing - "We started from nothing last November. We're working night and day. Nobody is sleeping much at all trying to make this thing go. We're just fortunate that we qualified in (as many races as we have since) we've run so bad. Everybody said, 'You need some luck.' I said, I think I used all my luck up the first three races qualifying 15th or 16th when I shouldn't have even qualified. To all my fans out there, we're not giving up. We're working really hard. Sooner or later we're going to have to hit it exactly right."
Greg Anderson - driver of the Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am and a serious contender for the 2003 POWERade Pro Stock championship. The former crew chief for six-time champion Warren Johnson, jumped out to an early lead in the Pro Stock standings, winning two of the first four races of the 2003 season - "I know we've made a ton of progress in the off season. But you also know in the back of your mind you're never going to be able to distance yourself from Warren (Johnson) and Kurt (Johnson). To be able to run even with them is a pretty dog gone good feeling. But Jeg (Coughlin) is going to be tough, and Scott (Geoffrion), Jim Yates will be strong before it's all over, Allen Johnson's team, and Bruce Allen, they're all running great. We just feel fortunate to be where we are right now. We'll make some gains in the next few months, but to be realistic, nobody is going to run away with this class. There's too much talent and too much quality out there."
Warren Johnson - driver of the GM Performance Parts Pontiac Grand Am and a six-time NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champion - "We've been working on all facets of our racing operation since last year, knowing full well that Pro Stock would be even more competitive in 2003. You need look no further than what happened (earlier this year), where we lost by two 10/1000ths of a second. When it's that close, every piece of the puzzle needs to be in place. We've obviously made some progress in the performance department, and we continue to work on the driving aspect. Although we are far from dominating, we're at the point that if we pay attention to what we're doing, and I do my job as far as driving is concerned, our GM Performance Parts Grand Am should certainly be able to win."
Scott Geoffrion - driver of the Nitrofish Ford Escort ZX2, the first Escort ever to compete in Pro Stock. Geoffrion has nine career wins and was the runner-up in the final Pro Stock standings in 1994 to then-teammate Darrell Alderman - "We are confident about what we do as a team. The last time I had confidence like this was in 1997, the last year I won a race. It's an awesome feeling knowing whenever you go to a race you're going to have a shot at winning. If we all do our jobs, everything else will take care of itself."
Troy Coughlin - driver of the Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier who was as high as fourth in the POWERade standings after his runner-up at Phoenix earlier this season. The older brother of defending Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin, Troy has poseted a DNQ at four of the last five events, dropping him into 18th in the standings heading into Englishtown - "The six drivers ahead of me are within one round of points. With a strong performance this weekend we can make a big move forward. But, more importantly is where we want to be at the end of the three-race stretch (Englishtown; Topeka, Kan.; Chicago). Our goal is to be inside the top-ten before we get to Columbus."