Russell out early in Indy. INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 2) -- The biggest drag race of the year ended in frustration for Top Fuel driver Darrell Russell and the entire Bilstein Engine Flush System race team. Russell briefly led his first-round...
Russell out early in Indy.
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 2) -- The biggest drag race of the year ended in frustration for Top Fuel driver Darrell Russell and the entire Bilstein Engine Flush System race team. Russell briefly led his first-round race against Tony Schumacher, but a loss of traction at the 100-foot mark decided the outcome early as Schumacher shot by to take the win with a 4.690-second pass at 316.30 mph. Compounding the pain, Schumacher's win also allowed him to pass Russell in the POWERade points to re-claim fourth place.
"I'm very disappointed," Russell said. "This is the race we all look forward to and you want to do well here for sure. But we're on the sidelines already and we lost a spot in the points. I'm not real happy.
"It's so frustrating because we came here and tested last week and this Bilstein Engine Flush car was running so well then. Our hopes were certainly sky-high coming into this weekend. The weird thing is we never really found our groove once we got here. It's just one of those things that happens in drag racing. It's a bummer, but what can you do?"
Russell, the sport's reigning Rookie of the Year, got a marginal six-thousandth of a second headstart against Schumacher and already had increased that lead to 14-thousandths of a second by the 60-foot timer. But the questions raised by being the first pair of racecars down a freshly-scraped racing surface couldn't be answered by the Bilstein Engine Flush crew and the race was soon lost in a cloud of smoke.
"There's nothing you can do when the other guy doesn't smoke the tires and you do," Russell said. "I never saw him or heard him until he passed me. I pedaled the car real quick but when I saw him trucking down through there I just clicked it off. I knew we weren't going to catch him at that point."
The team must now look for redemption at the next stop on the 23-event POWERade Drag Racing Series -- the 18th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals -- which takes place Sept. 12-15 at team owner Joe Amato's home track in Reading, Pa.
Race coverage of the 48th annual U.S. Nationals will air tonight from 4:30-7:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2. A repeat of the race will be shown from 2-5 a.m. (ET), Tuesday, and again from 3-5:30 p.m. (ET), Saturday, also on ESPN2.