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Russell, Sarver, Johnson, and Daniels Win AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway

By www.NHRA.com

POMONA, Calif. -- Darrell Russell became the third professional driver in NHRA history to win his first start, taking Sunday's 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway, NHRA's 50th Anniversary season-opener.

Bruce Sarver, Kurt Johnson and Randy Daniels also were winners of the $1.9 million race, the first of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

With the victory, Russell joins Gary Scelzi (Top Fuel, 1997) and K.C. Spurlock (Funny Car, 1990) as the only NHRA pro drivers to win in their first professional attempt.

"This is a pretty incredible accomplishment," said Russell, a former Federal-Mogul Dragster standout. "For this to happen to me, It's a dream come true." 

Russell, new driver for retired five-time champ Joe Amato, sped down the track in 4.665 seconds at 309.77 mph in his Amato Racing dragster to defeat Mike Dunn, whose machine lost traction and slowed to a 5.560 at 231.44. 

"Compared to my alcohol dragster, this car is pretty amazing," said Russell, who defeated Andrew Cowin, Doug Kalitta, and Bobby Baldwin to advance to the final round. "It's like the car launches all over again at half-track."

Amato retired following the end of the 2000 season as the sport's winningest Top Fuel driver with five championships and 52 victories. He was extremely pleased with the efforts of his new driver.

"This is almost as much fun as driving," said Amato. "Anytime you can debut a new driver and new crew chief and get the points lead that's pretty good stuff. This is a great start for this team. It's way beyond my expectations."

With the victory, Russell leads Dunn by 15 in the Winston points standings. 

Sarver claimed his second career Funny Car victory, outrunning Tony Pedregon in the final. Sarver powered his Pontiac Firebird to a 4.887 at 308.35 to hold off Pedregon's Ford Mustang, which ran 4.957 at 284.34.

"This new car is a rocket," said Sarver, who leads Pedregon by 20 in the Winston points chase. "I think this win is a lot better than the first one because I was just so stunned at the time. Now, I get to be a hero for at least two weeks."

Johnson earned his 22nd career Pro Stock victory with his run of 6.912 at 200.44 in his new Chevy Cavalier to edge Darrell Alderman's Dodge R/T, which clocked a slower 6.936 at 200.41.

"It has been quite a run over the last six months," said Johnson of his seventh victory in the last 12 races. "Consistency has always bit us in the past. We've got the horsepower now and a chassis that's consistent every time I let out the clutch."

Johnson leads Alderman by 20 in the Winston points standings. 

Daniels won his eighth Pro Stock Truck title, holding off fellow Chevy S-10 driver Greg Stanfield for the victory. Daniels covered the distance in 7.527 at 179.97, edging Stanfield, who posted a run of 7.552 at 179.49.
"The truck was awesome from the time we took it off the trailer on Thursday," Daniels said. "This is a nice start, but we still have a lot of work to do if we're going to beat that yellow truck (defending Winston champ Bob Panella)."

Daniels leads Stanfield by 25 in the Winston points standings. 

The next NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series event is the 17th annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals presented by Pennzoil, Feb. 15-18 at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix.

POMONA, Calif. -- Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at Sunday's 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. The $1.9 million race is the first of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL: 
1. Darrell Russell; 2. Mike Dunn; 3. Bobby Baldwin; 4. Larry Dixon; 5. David Grubnic; 6. Tim Gibson; 7. Doug Kalitta; 8. Gary Scelzi; 9. Kenny Bernstein; 10. Robert Reehl; 11. Doug Herbert; 12. Rob Passey; 13. Tony Schumacher; 14. Howard Haight; 15. Rhonda Hartman-Smith; 16. Andrew Cowin. 

FUNNY CAR: 
1. Bruce Sarver, Pontiac Firebird; 2. Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang; 3. Whit Bazemore, Firebird; 4. Chuck Etchells, Chevy Camaro; 5. Frank Pedregon, Firebird; 6. Ron Capps, Camaro; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Firebird; 8. Al Hofmann, Firebird; 9. Tony Bartone, Camaro; 10. Jerry Toliver, Firebird; 11. Gary Densham, Camaro; 12. John Lawson, Firebird; 13. John Force, Mustang; 14. Del Worsham, Firebird; 15. Scotty Cannon, Firebird; 16. Johnny Gray, Firebird. 

PRO STOCK: 
1. Kurt Johnson, Chevy Cavalier; 2. Darrell Alderman, Dodge R/T; 3. Warren Johnson, Pontiac Grand Am; 4. Bruce Allen, Grand Am; 5. Mike Edwards, Pontiac Firebird; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Oldsmobile Cutlass; 7. Richie Stevens, Grand Am; 8. Tom Martino, Grand Am; 9. Jim Yates, Grand Am; 10. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am; 11. Troy Coughlin, Cutlass; 12. Mark Osborne, R/T; 13. Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro; 14. Robert Patrick, Ford Mustang; 15. Brad Jeter, Grand Am; 16. Ron Krisher, Firebird. 

PRO STOCK TRUCK: 
1. Randy Daniels, Chevy S-10; 2. Greg Stanfield, S-10; 3. Scott Perin, S-10; 4. Jeff Gracia, S-10; 5. Bob Panella Jr, S-10; 6. Brian Self, S-10; 7. Todd Patterson, Dodge Dakota; 8. Mike Corvo Jr, GMC Sonoma; 9. Don Smith, S-10; 10. Mike Coughlin, S-10; 11. John Lingenfelter, Sonoma; 12. Joe Pigford, S-10; 13. Bart Price, S-10; 14. Larry Kopp, S-10; 15. Charles Greco, S-10; 16. Mark Whisnant, S-10. 

POMONA, Calif. -- Sunday's final round results for the 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. The $1.9 million race is the first of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Darrell Russell, 4.665 seconds, 309.77 mph def. Mike Dunn, 5.560 seconds, 231.44 mph. 

Funny Car -- Bruce Sarver, Pontiac Firebird, 4.887, 308.35 def. Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 4.957, 284.39. 

Pro Stock -- Kurt Johnson, Chevy Cavalier, 6.912, 200.44 def. Darrell Alderman, Dodge R/T, 6.936, 200.41. 

Pro Stock Truck -- Randy Daniels, Chevy S-10, 7.527, 179.97 def. Greg Stanfield, S-10, 7.552, 179.49. 

Federal-Mogul Dragster -- Rick Santos, 5.407, 261.47 def. Mark Hentges, 5.500, 259.46. 

Federal-Mogul Funny Car -- Bucky Austin, Chevy Camaro, 5.813, 247.70 def. Bret Williamson, Chevy Corvette, 7.233, 131.34. 

Comp Eliminator -- Jeff Lion, Pontiac Firebird, 8.614, 141.12 def. Andy Manna, Pontiac Trans Am, foul. 

Super Stock -- Jimmy DeFrank, Chevy Camaro, 10.427, 127.39 def. Dan Fletcher, Camaro, 10.223, 127.51. 

Stock -- Bernie Cunningham, Pontiac Firebird, 11.464, 102.38 def. Gary Humrichouse, Chevy Camaro, 14.598, 67.71. 

Super Comp -- Larry Scarth, Chevy Beretta, 9.828, 109.48 def. Kyle Rizzoli, Dragster, broke. 

Super Gas -- Ed DeStaute, Chevy Vega, 9.917, 134.31 def. Sheldon Gecker, Dodge Dakota, 9.920, 141.06. 

POMONA, Calif. -- Sunday's final round-by-round results for the 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway, the first of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL: 
ROUND ONE -- Tim Gibson, 4.887, 294.88 def. Kenny Bernstein, foul; Darrell Russell, 4.781, 300.26 def. Andrew Cowin, 9.039, 81.48; David Grubnic, 5.002, 287.78 def. Tony Schumacher, 5.903, 164.29; Bobby Baldwin, 4.763, 305.70 def. Doug Herbert, 4.900, 278.69; Larry Dixon, 4.621, 314.83 def. Robert Reehl, 4.880, 276.46; Gary Scelzi, 5.631, 253.56 def. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 8.489, 100.14; Mike Dunn, 4.630, 311.20 def. Howard Haight, 7.998, 104.88; Doug Kalitta, 4.617, 311.34 def. Rob Passey, 5.883, 211.00; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Baldwin, 5.301, 202.00 def. Scelzi, 7.393, 126.62; Dunn, /4.633, 315.93 def. Gibson, 4.825, 306.53; Dixon, 4.634, 314.90 def. Grubnic, 4.752, 310.63; Russell, 4.667, 309.20 def. Kalitta, 6.348, 149.38; 

SEMIFINALS -- Russell, 4.670, 308.28 def. Baldwin, 4.867, 298.14; Dunn, 4.630, 318.17 def. Dixon, 6.240, 141.21; 

FINAL -- Russell, 4.665, 309.77 def. Dunn, 5.560, 231.44. 

FUNNY CAR: 
ROUND ONE -- Tommy Johnson Jr., Pontiac Firebird, 4.970, 300.86 def. Tony Bartone, Chevy Camaro, 4.993, 306.95; Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 4.933, 301.33 def. Scotty Cannon, Firebird, 5.417, 206.48; Frank Pedregon, Firebird, 4.979, 301.20 def. Gary Densham, Camaro, 5.057, 295.40; Al Hofmann, Firebird, 4.966, 293.98 def. Jerry Toliver, Firebird, 5.020, 291.13; Ron Capps, Camaro, 5.118, 274.27 def. John Lawson, Firebird, 5.114, 280.49; Bruce Sarver, Firebird, 4.953, 296.11 def. Johnny Gray, Firebird, 5.899, 164.55; Whit Bazemore, Firebird, 4.914, 308.64 def. John Force, Mustang, 5.151, 272.17; Chuck Etchells, Camaro, 4.954, 301.60 def. Del Worsham, Firebird, 5.236, 232.15; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Sarver, 4.930, 303.78 def. Hofmann, 6.003, 157.45; T. Pedregon, 4.907, 312.78 def. Capps, 5.026, 292.96; Etchells, 5.010, 306.12 def. Johnson Jr., 5.061, 290.76; Bazemore, 4.937, 296.76 def. F. Pedregon, 5.009, 302.21; 

SEMIFINALS -- Sarver, 4.903, 305.70 def. Bazemore, 4.939, 307.09; T. Pedregon, 4.988, 262.54 def. Etchells, 5.061, 290.94; 

FINAL -- Sarver, 4.887, 308.35 def. T. Pedregon, 4.957, 284.39. 

PRO STOCK: 
ROUND ONE -- Richie Stevens, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.939, 197.91 def. Robert Patrick, Ford Mustang, 6.978, 199.40; Jeg Coughlin, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.934, 198.73 def. Jim Yates, Grand Am, 6.903, 199.76; Darrell Alderman, Dodge R/T, 6.920, 199.76 def. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am, 6.942, 199.05; Kurt Johnson, Chevy Cavalier, 6.887, 200.65 def. Mark Osborne, R/T, 6.954, 199.70; Mike Edwards, Pontiac Firebird, 6.914, 198.88 def. Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 6.969, 199.35; Warren Johnson, Grand Am, 6.910, 199.29 def. Brad Jeter, Grand Am, 7.016, 199.32; Bruce Allen, Grand Am, 6.902, 199.61 def. Troy Coughlin, Cutlass, 6.953, 197.51; Tom Martino, Grand Am, 7.034, 198.35 def. Ron Krisher, Firebird, foul; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Alderman, 6.908, 200.05 def. Martino, 6.968, 199.76; W. Johnson, 6.903, 199.94 def. J. Coughlin, 6.946, 198.64; Allen, 6.901, 199.17 def. Stevens, 6.948, 198.73; K. Johnson, 6.895, 200.56 def. Edwards, 6.918, 199.61; 

SEMIFINALS -- Alderman, 6.915, 200.29 def. W. Johnson, 6.923, 200.14; K. Johnson, 6.884, 200.83 def. Allen, 6.931, 199.70; 

FINAL -- K. Johnson, 6.912, 200.44 def. Alderman, 6.936, 200.41. 

PRO STOCK TRUCK: 
ROUND ONE -- Todd Patterson, Dodge Dakota, 7.569, 177.53 def. Mike Coughlin, Chevy S-10, 7.557, 178.73; Greg Stanfield, S-10, 7.533, 179.16 def. Mark Whisnant, S-10, 8.361, 121.17; Brian Self, S-10, 7.604, 177.58 def. Joe Pigford, S-10, 7.616, 178.66; Jeff Gracia, S-10, 7.564, 178.35 def. Bart Price, S-10, 7.621, 178.40; Mike Corvo Jr, GMC Sonoma, 7.640, 176.72 def. Don Smith, S-10, 7.530, 178.21; Scott Perin, S-10, 7.545, 179.59 def. Charles Greco, S-10, 7.655, 178.47; Bob Panella, S-10, 7.598, 177.72 def. Larry Kopp, S-10, 7.644, 175.87; Randy Daniels, S-10, 7.503, 179.83 def. John Lingenfelter, Sonoma, foul; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Gracia, 7.559, 178.45 def. Corvo Jr, 7.694, 176.97; Perin, 7.563, 179.16 def. Self, 7.575, 178.21; Stanfield, 7.533, 178.97 def. Panella, 7.529, 180.36; Daniels, 7.498, 179.33 def. Patterson, foul; 

SEMIFINALS -- Stanfield, 7.550, 178.95 def. Perin, 7.570, 179.28; Daniels, 7.517, 179.44 def. Gracia, 7.570, 179.09; 

FINAL -- Daniels, 7.527, 179.97 def. Stanfield, 7.552, 179.49. 

POMONA, Calif. -- Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway, the first of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL: 
1. Darrell Russell, 112; 2. Mike Dunn, 97; 3. Larry Dixon, 76; 4. Bobby Baldwin, 71; 5. Doug Kalitta, 58; 6. (tie) David Grubnic, 54; Gary Scelzi, 54; 8. Tim Gibson, 53; 9. Doug Herbert, 35; 10. Andrew Cowin, 33.

FUNNY CAR: 
1. Bruce Sarver, 114; 2. Tony Pedregon, 94; 3. Chuck Etchells, 73; 4. Whit Bazemore, 72; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 58; 6. Frank Pedregon, 57; 7. Ron Capps, 55; 8. Al Hofmann, 51; 9. Jerry Toliver, 36; 10. John Force, 33.

PRO STOCK: 
1. Kurt Johnson, 114; 2. Darrell Alderman, 94; 3. Bruce Allen, 78; 4. Warren Johnson, 77; 5. Mike Edwards, 55; 6. Richie Stevens, 53; 7. Jeg Coughlin, 52; 8. Tom Martino, 51; 9. Ron Krisher, 36; 10. Jim Yates, 33.

PRO STOCK TRUCK: 
1. Randy Daniels, 118; 2. Greg Stanfield, 93; 3. Scott Perin, 76; 4. Jeff Gracia, 74; 5. Bob Panella Jr, 57; 6. Brian Self, 54; 7. Todd Patterson, 53; 8. Mike Corvo Jr, 51; 9. Don Smith, 35; 10. (tie) Bart Price, 32; Joe Pigford, 32; Mike Coughlin, 32; Mark Whisnant, 32.

www.NHRA.com

 

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