Another classic Baca vs. Bernstein battle highlights Reading race READING, Pa. (Oct. 1) -- In their debut season in 2003, David Baca and Brandon Bernstein went down to the wire fighting for Rookie of the Year honors. Ultimately, Bernstein took...
Another classic Baca vs. Bernstein battle highlights Reading race
READING, Pa. (Oct. 1) -- In their debut season in 2003, David Baca and Brandon Bernstein went down to the wire fighting for Rookie of the Year honors. Ultimately, Bernstein took the Auto Club's version, while Baca was named the People's Choice Rookie of the Year by Competition Plus Magazine. In their professional racing careers, the two men have squared off eight times. Not surprisingly, they've each won four of those head-to-head meetings.
The latest installment, which occurred Sunday morning at the 22nd annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, Bernstein evened the score at 4-all after the most crowd-pleasing pedalfest of the season. By Baca's count, each driver got on and off the throttle a half dozen times as they struggled to gain traction. The difference was Bernstein's rail finally hooked up a fraction of a second before Baca's did, giving him the victory.
"Every race we have with him is so exciting," said Baca, who recorded his best reaction time of the year when he left the starting line in .020 seconds, well ahead of Bernstein. "We were both a little too aggressive with our tune-ups and we got in trouble early. I did everything I could to get it to hook up. I pedaled the car six, seven, eight times, I grabbed a big ol' handful of brake, I turned sideways both ways, I almost hit the wall twice.
"The thing is I could se him right next to me and he was in trouble also so I just kept racing. He gathered it up just before I did and that was the difference. It was a great race."
The jam-packed grandstands roared their approval as both drivers made the turn-off with a cloud of smoke hanging over the entire quarter-mile.
"The NHRA always talks about giving the fans their money's worth," Baca said. "We definitely did it that time. I'll tell you what, I hate to lose more than anyone but that one was fun either way. Brandon and I just laughed and shrugged our shoulders at the other end. What else can you do?"
The POWERade tour immediately moves to Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va., for next weekend's inaugural Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals.