Championship Drag Racing

Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Chicago, Ill.
(June 5-8)

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Driver Profile
Brandon Bernstein
MAV TV/Lucas Oil dragster

Bernstein looking to follow father’s path to victory circle

Chicago, pre-race: Among their fondest memories, Brandon Bernstein and his six-time NHRA champion legendary father, Kenny, recall a day at Route 66 Raceway in 2001 where they shared victory circle. The father/son duo, who became the first in NHRA history to win at the same national event, celebrated for the first time in 2001 at Las Vegas and then a few weeks later in Chicago.   Brandon was competing in his one-year stint in the Lucas Oil sportsman series driving an Alcohol Dragster, and Kenny won the Top Fuel trophy driving the Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster. 

For Budweiser/Lucas Oil team owner Kenny Bernstein, Route 66 was a track where he excelled, having won four times, more than any other professional driver in any category to date.

Kenny’s son Brandon is looking for his first victory at the high performance drag strip when the NHRA makes its 10th stop of the season at the Torco Racing Fuels Nationals June 6-8. 

The second generation driver came close to a victory here in 2004 but a giant wheel stand in the final round caused him to abort the run.  That was the weekend Bernstein scorched the state- of-the art quarter-mile dragstrip, setting a national speed record and track speed record (333.41 mph) and a personal best elapsed time (4.477 seconds) before the wheel standing thrill ride ended what might have been a perfect weekend.

“We have been fortunate in our career to have won 17 national events,” said Bernstein.  “We would like to put Route 66 in our personal win column.

“This track is quick and fast and chances are high that if you stumble, the other guy is already at the finish line.  You don’t see a lot of pedaling here.  It’s just stomp (the throttle) and go.

“Tim (Richards, crew chief), Kim (Richards) and the team recently tried a new tune-up combination that looks promising.  We hope it pays dividends at Chicago.

“We were runner-up at Gainesville in March, but we’re looking for our first victory of the season. Plus we need to gain points and it’s important to go rounds.  There are four or five of us bunched pretty close together in points and you can gain or lose a couple of positions in one weekend of racing.

“We are all looking to be in the top 10 after Indy (Sept. 1) to earn a spot in the Countdown to the Championship. It’s been a dog fight so far this season and I don’t see anything changing.”

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