E-Town's history plays to Team Amato's favor. ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 13) -- NHRA Rookie of the Year driver Darrell Russell and team owner Joe Amato have plenty of reasons to be excited about their return to historic Old Bridge Township Raceway...
E-Town's history plays to Team Amato's favor.
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 13) -- NHRA Rookie of the Year driver Darrell Russell and team owner Joe Amato have plenty of reasons to be excited about their return to historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park for this weekend's 33rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions. Between Amato's long-standing string of successes in Northern New Jersey and Russell's new era of achievement with a new team that helped him to the finals of the Bristol, Tenn., event just three weeks ago, the entire Amato Racing operation seems poised for a victory circle celebration.
Russell, 33, will be carrying on a long-standing relationship between Matco Tools and Bilstein Engine Flush System team owner Amato, who retired after the 2000 season. A five-time series champion and the all-time wins leader in Top Fuel history with 52 national event titles to his credit, Amato found the winner's circle of this event six times (1983, '88, '92, '96, '98-'99), making him the most prolific winner in the 33-year history of the Matco Tools SuperNationals and Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
While it's always fun to race in front of a prominent sponsor at a track where your team has found success in the past, Russell also finds strength in the next-generation of Joe Amato Racing, which features crew chief Wayne Dupuy and a talented group of newcomers working on the 6,000 horsepower Bilstein Engine Flush System dragster.
"The new regime at Amato Racing has finally had a chance to work together at Joe's race shop in Pennsylvania, which should help everyone out tremendously," said Russell, a top 10 driver in the POWERade points standings since Dupuy took over the team early last month. "They finally got off the road and the makeshift situation they've been working under and were able to go the shop and get things set-up exactly the way they want them. That should really play into our favor by the time we get to Englishtown.
"We needed the break this past weekend because we definitely struggled in Atlanta. The conditions were cool and quick, which it looks like we'll see again in Englishtown, so I'm really happy Wayne had a chance to take the car apart and work on his tune-up until he was totally happy. I think you'll see a big rebound from us this weekend."
Prominent primetime television coverage of the qualifying rounds will air from 5-7 p.m. (ET), Saturday, on ESPN, with a repeat showing later in the evening from 10 p.m.-12 a.m. (ET), on ESPN2. Sunday's elimination action will air from 7-10 (ET) on ESPN2, with a repeat showing from 2-4 p.m. (ET), Monday, on ESPN2.