Las Vegas II: Darrell Russell eliminations summary

Quarterfinal finish doesn't sit well with Russell. LAS VEGAS (Oct. 27) -- Another quarterfinal finish for Joe Amato's Bilstein Engine Flush System Top Fuel dragster and driver Darrell Russell has left the team searching for better luck in the ...

Quarterfinal finish doesn't sit well with Russell.

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 27) -- Another quarterfinal finish for Joe Amato's Bilstein Engine Flush System Top Fuel dragster and driver Darrell Russell has left the team searching for better luck in the desert outside of Las Vegas. Russell, the sport's reigning Rookie of the Year, logged a laboring elimination-round win over Dave Grubnic in the day's opening session but was no match for low qualifier Doug Herbert in Round 2.

Russell had the slowest winning time of Round 1, dismissing Grubnic with a 4.804 at 292.39 mph. The win came when Grubnic's BME dragster lost traction early in the race, which forced Grubnic to shut-off his motor to avoid any further trouble. Unfortunately, Grubnic's gremlins followed Russell to the quarterfinals where he spun his tires early and could only watch as Herbert posted a winning 4.615 at 293.98 mph.

"Another very disappointing weekend for us," Russell said. "I'd love to be optimistic but there's not much to get excited about right now. We certainly wanted more and the end result of our performance is that we need to figure out what's going on. Wayne [Dupuy, crew chief] has already made the call that we're staying here to test until we have this Bilstein Engine Flush car totally figured out.

"It was obvious we were behind from the start today. Everyone else was running huge numbers and we basically struggled just to get down the track. Even the win over Grubnic wasn't much to get excited about. We've got out work cut out for us now and there is plenty we want to get done before we pack up the trailer."

The good news for Amato Racing is that they yielded no ground in the POWERade championship points standings. Russell remains sixth in the standings and is now just five points behind his closest rival, Cory McClenathan, who lost in Round 1.

"We gained a little ground there but with just one race left, there aren't many points on the table and we're starting to see our options narrowing down to nothing," Russell said. "The exciting thing about Pomona is that the Budweiser Shootout is run there and we clinched a spot in the field once again. We raced to the finals last year at that event and I won the Winternationals at that track so we have had success there. We'll shift our focus to California and try to end the season with a pair of wins."

Today's action will be shown in primetime from 5-7 p.m. (ET), Sunday, on ESPN, the network's primary station. Repeat broadcasts will air from 2-4 p.m. (ET), Monday, and 1-3 a.m. (ET), Friday, both on ESPN2.

-jar-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Joe Amato