All in the family, NHRA style
By Phil Burgess, NHRA.com
The dual victories by Kenny Bernstein and son Brandon in Top Fuel and Federal-Mogul Dragster at the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals marked an historic first. Although the NHRA record books are filled with shared family glory, there has never been a father-son dual victory at a national event in NHRA's 50-year history.
Close, but no cigar
Fathers racing son is not quite as equally rare. At the 1994 Mac Tools Gatornationals, Connie Kalitta defeated son Scott in the only father versus son Top Fuel final in NHRA history. Pro Stock racers Warren and Kurt Johnson have raced 12 times in national event finals with father Warren winning nine and owning a 29-12 overall record when matched against K.J.
The family that races together ...
Last year, brothers Jeg and Mike Coughlin won in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Truck at the AutoZone Nationals in Memphis. The year before, siblings Terry and Harvey Emmons III titled in Super Stock and Stock at the same event. Brothers Sal and Peter Biondo went that one better by winning Comp and Super Stock at the Keystone Nationals in back-to-back seasons in 1995 and 1996. The brothers Richardson, Edmond and Scotty, also have shared the winner's circle twice - at the 1996 Visionaire Nationals in Brainerd (Super Comp and Stock, respectively) and at the 1995 Slick 50 Nationals in Houston (Super Comp and Super Street, respectively). Perhaps just as impressive was the accomplishment of siblings Shelly and Randy Anderson, who both finished in the winner's circle at the 1996 Northwest Nationals, in Top Fuel and Federal-Mogul Funny Car, respectively.
Equally as impressive were the victories in Super Stock and Stock by brothers Charlie and Jeff Taylor at the 1981 Cajun Nationals in a season that culminated with each winning Winston championships.
Those wins turned the tide on a string of sibling abuse heaped on kid brothers beginning when Emmons III taught Gary a lesson in the Stock final at the 1988 Cajun Nationals, Dave LeBrun denied his younger brother, Bob, in the Stock final at the 1989 Keystone Nationals, and, more recently, when Eric Waldo took family bragging rights by defeating younger brother Gary in the Stock final at the 1997 Northwest Nationals.
It's time to play the "family feud"
There also have been an inordinate amount of uncle-nephew bouts, with uncle Bucky and nephew Pat Austin splitting four Federal-Mogul Funny Car final rounds (Bucky winning at the 1998 Winston Finals in Pomona and the 1989 Seafair Nationals in Seattle and Pat at the 1992 Motorcraft-Ford Nationals in Phoenix and 1989 California Nationals in Sonoma) and Buddy Nickens defeating uncle David in Comp twice in the space of three events (at the 1993 Winston Finals and 1994 Ford Quality Care Nationals). Buddy also beat his cousin, Bo -- David's son -- in the final round of the 1996 Chief Nationals. At the previously mentioned 1989 Seafairs, the nephews got a measure of revenge when Dino Kost beat his uncle, Bill, for the Stock crown.
When Bucky Austin won the 1997 Autolite Nationals, he almost shared the winner's circle with nephew Mike, who runner-upped in Federal-Mogul Dragster. Also in the almost-sorta-kinda category was Ed Richardson scoring in Super Comp at the 1993 Slick 50 Nationals and being joined in victory by Super Gas winner Bill Mullis, his father-in-law.
The capper of all finals in everyone's memory, though, might well be the Stock final of the 1971 Summernationals when Judi Boertman defeated her husband, Dave, for the title. Dave didn't get the win; then again, he didn't have to sleep on the couch that night, either.
The story is copyright 2001 National Hot Rod Association. It may not be reprinted or retransmitted in any form without the express written permission of NHRA.com.
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