Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals
Bernstein tied for third place
Persistent rain forced cancellation of three qualifying sessions and ultimately it was a sole mid-afternoon qualifying session on Saturday that set the field for Sunday's eliminations. Bernstein qualified fourth in the Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster with a 3.866/317.42.
"With the weather conditions being as iffy as they were, it was a little stressful," confided Bernstein. "You definitely wanted to make the show but there was a pretty big possibility that you might only get one shot to make the field, and in fact, we only did get one run. A tip of the helmet to our new crew chief Rob Flynn and assistant crew chief Mike Guger who did a great job getting us in the top of the field."
In the rain-delayed opening round of race day eliminations, Bernstein squared off against Andy Carter. Both drivers lost traction early in the run and were on and off the throttle. Carter drifted toward the center line as body panels begin to fly off the car, and then crossed the center line. Despite Carter's quicker elapsed time (4.525/239.23 vs. Bernstein's 4.758/192.69), Bernstein was awarded the round win as Carter was disqualified for crossing the center line.
"The car spun the tires and I saw Andy drive right past me," said Bernstein. "I thought it was over, but in the end, with his disqualification we got a break and an opportunity to advance to round two."
After the first round of eliminations, rain returned and racing was again postponed.
Quarterfinals racing resumed two days later under sunny skies following a total Monday rain out.
Bernstein drove to the starting line to face reigning Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher. Bernstein was first off the line and never looked back, crossing the finish line first with a 3.834/311.49 to Schumacher's 3.865/313.44.
"The car sat down and made a hard move," said the second-generation driver. "Rob, Mike and the team did a great job that round. I hope we can keep the momentum for two more rounds."
In the semifinals against Antron Brown, the Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster lost traction shortly after the launch and Brown advanced to the finals.
"Smoking the tires caught us a little off-guard," said Bernstein. "We had such a good run the round before we were hoping to keep the mojo going. Because of the rain and subsequent cold weather, track conditions were t
"Our hearts go out to Rob Flynn who lost his father (Bob) unexpectedly Monday evening to a massive heart attack," said team owner Kenny Bernstein. "Rob was flying to
"We know it was a difficult day for him, but we want to commend him for doing an excellent job under a very stressful situation. He was a consummate professional."
Bernstein is tied for third in Top Fuel Full Throttle point standings following the first race of the season.
Return to Team Reports Archive
Return to the Home Page