Kenny Bernstein, driver of the Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster. Bernstein is completing the season for his injured son Brandon and has won three of the last four races - "I love to race and there is hardly anything better in the world than winning....
Kenny Bernstein, driver of the Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster. Bernstein is completing the season for his injured son Brandon and has won three of the last four races - "I love to race and there is hardly anything better in the world than winning. I'm very comfortable in the car and have been for many years, but a great team makes that happen. The better the car runs, the better the driver performs. You grow, and with more experience you become better. It was a downer for the team when Brandon got hurt. It took us out of the championship, so that incentive was gone and it's hard to keep moral high when you don't have a chance to win a championship. These (last few wins) have pumped the team back up and they're a stepping stone to next year when Brandon returns to the cockpit."
Doug Kalitta - driver of the Mac Tools dragster who will finish second in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel standings. Kalitta is the No. 1 qualifier for the Budweiser Shootout, a lucrative bonus program for the top eight drivers to be held at the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals. Kalitta and Larry Dixon finished the season with the same amount of qualifying points but Kalitta gets the No. 1 spot based on the tiebreaker rule of having the quickest E.T. average - "We're very excited about this deal. We've never entered this special race as the No. 1 qualifier before so it'll be nice to start off that way. Of course this race is extremely tough with the best eight cars competing, but we've won it before (1998) and I like our chances this time around. Like I said, we're all excited. The Bud money is always nice to get. We've already taken some with all the low qualifiers we've had. Now we need to go in there and get that big check. Pomona's a great track to run on and winning this race usually has a lot to do with getting the car down the race track every pass."
Tony Pedregon - driver of the Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang and the newly-crowned 2003 NHRA POWERade Funny Car champion, a title he secured with his victory over Whit Bazemore in the final round of the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals. Pedregon joins his brother Cruz as the only two drivers other than T. Pedregon's team-owner John Force to win the championship since 1990 - "That win (at Las Vegas) was for John Force Racing. I think John was as proud of us as he would have been if he had won the championship. That meant a lot. When you win a championship, you know your team was the best not just for one or two weekends, but for an entire season. We won it as a team and we beat Bazemore to do it. That's a great team over there (at Schumacher Racing), but that's why it's so great to beat them."
Gary Densham -driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang for John Force Racing who will be competing in his final event for the team as he plans to run independently in 2004 - "In a perfect world, (winning at Pomona) would be how I would want to end my deal. By winning the last race with John, on my home track, at a race sponsored by the Auto Club. With all the attention on John and (teammate and 2003 Funny Car champion) Tony (Pedregon), maybe we can stay under the radar and they won't notice us until we're in the winner's circle drinking out POWERade."
Whit Bazemore - driver of the Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T and runner-up to Tony Pedregon for the 2003 NHRA POWERade Funny Car championship, a title Pedregon clinched when he defeated Bazemore in the final round at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals, the penultimate event of the 2003 season - "Tony is a very, very good race car driver and he and his team beat us. We have a lot of respect for that team. You have to be a good loser, I think, before you can be a good winner. We did almost everything that we had to do. We did the best we could. We lost. That's it. They're a great team. They deserve it. They won more races than we did all year. We also have a great team. I'm very, very proud to be associated with the people on this team. The effort that they made this year to win this is just unbelievable. The way our team came together is something I am very proud of and very proud to be a part of."
Greg Anderson - the 2003 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champion and driver of the Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am. Anderson's recent victory at Las Vegas gave him 11 on the year, tying Darrell Alderman for the most Pro Stock victories in one season. He also upped his season total of elimination round wins to 63, a record for Pro Stock and second all-time to Funny Car driver John Force's mark of 65. A win at the season-ending Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals would give him sole possession of the single-season win record and would give him 67 round wins on the year, which would also be a record - "I want (the record). This is the hardest working team in drag racing and as a result of that we have broken just about every record on the books. To break Alderman's record would prove once and for all that this team is not a fluke. (At Las Vegas) we tied Alderman's win record, and broke the round record. Being a Pontiac driver we're hoping we can knock that Dodge out of the record book once and for all at Pomona. I do not think there was anyone at the beginning of the year who thought we could be as good as we have been. It is a true tribute to how good this Vegas General Construction team is."