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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Bernstein, Pedregon, Krisher, and Smith Winners At Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals

By NHRA.com

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Kenny Bernstein led a parade of 50-somethings into the winner's circle Sunday at the Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals and in the process he moved into the Winston Top Fuel points lead for the first time since winning the elusive championship in 1996.

Tony Pedregon, Ron Krisher and Don Smith also were winners in their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the ninth of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Bernstein, 56, posted four consistent 4.6-second runs in his Budweiser King dragster to take the victory, his third of the season and 56th of his career. In the final round, Bernstein covered the Heartland Park Topeka quarter-mile in 4.625 seconds at 317.94 mph, crossing the finish line just in front of rival Larry Dixon's Miller Lite dragster, which clocked in at 4.648 at 313.73.

"When it's hot and sunny it's anybody's ballgame and today I'm real proud of Tim Richards (crew chief) and the Bud team for doing the job they did," said Bernstein, who beat John Smith, Darrell Russell and Mike Dunn to advance to the final. "Tim is just so great at making the right calls and he did that today. It takes consistency to win races and championships and that's what we have right now. Tim gets the credit for that."

With the win, Bernstein moves 19 points ahead of Dixon, and 31 in front of third-place Mike Dunn. "It's still early and I think everybody has to realize that," the five-time NHRA champion warned. "There's still a long, hot summer ahead of us. We just have to keep after it."

Pedregon, 36, earned his second straight Funny Car victory over team owner John Force. Pedregon powered his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to a 4.912 at 309.77, while Force's Castrol GTX Mustang lost traction near mid-track and recorded a 6.032 at 246.62. It was Pedregon's 12th career win and first at Heartland Park.

Pedregon, who posted the fastest speed in NHRA history (324.83 mph) during qualifying, failed to back-up the speed within the required one percent, but came close during his first round victory over Bruce Sarver. He said setting the national record would've been nice, but winning is even better.

"I think John might've been a little bitter if we took the win and his (national speed) record," Pedregon said with a laugh. "I think this definitely erases any speculation about multi-car teams and whether there's real racing out there. This was just a spectacular weekend for our team and I think it is a good indicator of the kind of performance that we're capable of. I really felt like my guys pulled it through for me today."

Force, who is seeking a record 11th Winston championship, increased his points lead to 115 over Ron Capps, while Pedregon moved to sixth in the standings.

Krisher, 53, drove to his first win of the season and third of his career, outrunning new series points leader Mark Pawuk when his Summit Pontiac Grand Am lost traction. Krisher sped to a 6.963 at 198.73 in his Eagle One Chevy Cavalier, while Pawuk's attempt at getting his first win of the season came up short as his car slowed to a 7.07 at 197.19.

"The key in that final was having lane choice," said Krisher. "(Mark) got out there and was ahead of me to 1,000-foot, but then I caught him and passed him. I don't know what happened to his car because I never looked over. I was just driving my car all the way. When you start looking at the other car, you lose drag races. Fortunately, today was our day."

Pawuk took the Winston points lead for the first time in his 14-year Pro Stock career, leading Warren Johnson by 47.

Smith, 59, earned his first-career victory in Pro Stock Truck when fellow Chevy S-10 driver Randy Daniels fouled at the start of the final round. 

"I had lane choice for each round and my crew gave me a good truck all day long," Smith said. "I was pretty nervous in the final because it was so exciting. After the start I saw him get out there about a truck length on me and I was worried, but I saw the win light come on in my lane so I knew he must've (fouled). It's a great feeling to win one of these races." 

With the runner-up effort, Daniels moved 14 ahead of Bob Panella in the Winston point standings. The next NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series event is the fourth annual Lucas Oil Products NHRA Nationals, May 31-June 3, at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the 13th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The $1.9 million race is the ninth of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL: 
1. Kenny Bernstein; 2. Larry Dixon; 3. Mike Dunn; 4. Gary Scelzi; 5. Darrell Russell; 6. Clay Millican; 7. Bruce Litton; 8. Doug Kalitta; 9. David Grubnic; 10. Doug Herbert; 11. Paul Romine; 12. Tony Schumacher; 13. Don Sosenka; 14. Joe Hartley; 15. John Smith; 16. Rhonda Hartman-Smith. 

FUNNY CAR: 
1. Tony Pedregon, '01 Ford Mustang; 2. John Force, Mustang; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Pontiac Firebird; 4. Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro; 5. Bob Gilbertson, Camaro; 6. Johnny Gray, Firebird; 7. Whit Bazemore, Firebird; 8. Jim Epler, Camaro; 9. Tommy Johnson Jr., Camaro; 10. Scotty Cannon, Firebird; 11. Gary Densham, Mustang; 12. Dean Skuza, Dodge R/T; 13. Bruce Sarver, Firebird; 14. Del Worsham, Firebird; 15. Chuck Etchells, Camaro; 16. Jerry Toliver, Firebird. 

PRO STOCK: 
1. Ron Krisher, Chevy Cavalier; 2. Mark Pawuk, Pontiac Grand Am; 3. V. Gaines, Cavalier; 4. Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro; 5. Richie Stevens, Grand Am; 6. Mark Osborne, Dodge R/T; 7. Mike Edwards, Cavalier; 8. John Nobile, Grand Am; 9. Darrell Alderman, R/T; 10. Troy Coughlin, Cavalier; 11. Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier; 12. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger; 13. Jim Yates, Grand Am; 14. George Marnell, Grand Am; 15. Warren Johnson, Grand Am; 16. Bruce Allen, Grand Am. 

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

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Sunday's final results from the 13th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The $1.9 million race is the ninth of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Kenny Bernstein, 4.625 seconds, 317.94 mph def. Larry Dixon, 4.648 seconds, 313.73 mph. 

Funny Car -- Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 4.912, 309.77 def. John Force, Mustang, 6.032, 246.62. 

Pro Stock -- Ron Krisher, Chevy Cavalier, 6.963, 198.73 def. Mark Pawuk, Pontiac Grand Am, 7.076, 197.19. 

Pro Stock Truck -- Don Smith, Chevy S-10, 7.652, 157.87 def. Randy Daniels, S-10, foul. 

Federal-Mogul Dragster -- Shelly Howard, 5.536, 258.02 def. Brandon Bernstein, 5.620, 248.39. 

Federal-Mogul Funny Car -- Jay Payne, Chevy Camaro, 5.763, 248.11 def. Vern Moats, Pontiac Firebird, 5.788, 248.75. 

Comp Eliminator -- David Rampy, Roadster, 7.474, 176.40 def. Doug Engels, Dragster, 7.483, 175.71. 

Super Stock -- Dan Larson, Chevy Camaro, 10.591, 120.76 def. Mike Trumble Jr., Mercury Cougar, 11.378, 117.23. 

Stock -- Kevin Helms, Chevy Camaro, 10.675, 116.00 def. Ben Wenzel, Camaro, 11.078, 119.75. 

Super Comp -- Dave Dahlem, dragster, 8.913, 141.76 def. Steve Echols, Dragster Chevy, 8.937, 162.10. 

Super Gas -- Todd Heins, Chevy Beretta, 9.885, 153.04 def. Gary Risk, Buick Regal, 9.874, 152.11. 

Super Street -- Curt Harshfield, Chevrolet, 10.903, 142.55 def. William Percival, Dodge Dart, 10.833, 131.90. 

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Final round-by-round results from the 13th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the ninth of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL: 
ROUND ONE -- Bruce Litton, 4.772, 307.16 def. Tony Schumacher, 5.300, 214.35; Clay Millican, 4.691, 314.68 def. David Grubnic, 4.704, 316.97; Larry Dixon, 4.643, 312.21 def. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 8.488, 97.92; Kenny Bernstein, 4.619, 318.62 def. John Smith, 7.612, 111.12; Darrell Russell, 4.642, 316.90 def. Paul Romine, 4.927, 273.16; Gary Scelzi, 4.587, 322.58 def. Doug Herbert, 4.716, 285.65; Mike Dunn, 5.381, 271.46 def. Don Sosenka, 6.224, 156.34; Doug Kalitta, 4.605, 313.66 def. Joe Hartley, 7.428, 111.45; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Dunn, 4.653, 318.39 def. Litton, 4.884, 283.79; Bernstein, 4.627, 317.12 def. Russell, 4.687, 297.48; Dixon, 4.899, 285.53 def. Kalitta, 5.076, 207.94; Scelzi, 4.622, 319.52 def. Millican, 4.687, 316.52; 

SEMIFINALS -- Bernstein, 4.688, 313.15 def. Dunn, 4.747, 310.63; Dixon, 4.646, 309.49 def. Scelzi, 5.544, 184.19; 
FINAL -- Bernstein, 4.625, 317.94 def. Dixon, 4.648, 313.73. 

FUNNY CAR: 
ROUND ONE -- Tim Wilkerson, Pontiac Firebird, 4.829, 317.87 def. Jerry Toliver, Firebird, 9.290, 88.42; Jim Epler, Chevy Camaro, 4.930, 307.02 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Camaro, 4.931, 302.75; Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 4.881, 320.58 def. Bruce Sarver, Firebird, 7.528, 109.89; John Force, Mustang, 4.954, 305.49 def. Chuck Etchells, Camaro, 8.406, 96.58; Bob Gilbertson, Camaro, 4.882, 306.81 def. Del Worsham, Firebird, 7.545, 115.95; Ron Capps, Camaro, 4.869, 310.77 def. Gary Densham, Mustang, 5.093, 265.12; Johnny Gray, Firebird, 4.917, 300.60 def. Dean Skuza, Dodge R/T, 5.192, 263.62; Whit Bazemore, Firebird, 4.837, 315.64 def. Scotty Cannon, Firebird, 5.008, 291.13; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Wilkerson, 4.853, 307.37 def. Epler, 11.879, 80.03; T. Pedregon, 4.877, 314.24 def. Gray, 4.932, 307.37; Capps, 4.863, 307.16 def. Gilbertson, 4.923, 303.50; Force, 4.856, 319.07 def. Bazemore, 8.728, 93.86; 

SEMIFINALS -- Force, 4.976, 300.86 def. Wilkerson, 5.730, 199.49; T. Pedregon, 5.100, 278.29 def. Capps, 6.216, 151.90; 

FINAL -- T. Pedregon, 4.912, 309.77 def. Force, 6.032, 246.62. 

PRO STOCK: 
ROUND ONE -- Mark Pawuk, Pontiac Grand Am, 8.932, 107.01 def. Bruce Allen, Grand Am, 9.431, 96.55; Ron Krisher, Chevy Cavalier, 6.981, 198.23 def. George Marnell, Grand Am, 7.252, 189.90; V. Gaines, Cavalier, 6.960, 198.76 def. Darrell Alderman, Dodge R/T, 6.946, 198.85; Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 6.969, 198.41 def. Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.987, 198.20; Richie Stevens, Grand Am, 6.965, 197.42 def. Jim Yates, Grand Am, 7.103, 197.83; Mark Osborne, R/T, 7.258, 197.08 def. Warren Johnson, Grand Am, 7.281, 197.02; Mike Edwards, Cavalier, 6.970, 198.76 def. Troy Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.976, 198.09; John Nobile, Grand Am, 6.996, 197.51 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 7.046, 196.93; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Pawuk, 6.974, 198.38 def. Osborne, 6.994, 198.82; Krisher, 6.974, 198.44 def. Edwards, 9.076, 104.04; Smith, 6.963, 198.82 def. Stevens, 6.976, 197.57; Gaines, 6.961, 198.67 def. Nobile, 13.722, 62.75; 

SEMIFINALS -- Pawuk, 6.996, 197.80 def. Smith, 6.976, 198.50; Krisher, 6.993, 198.73 def. Gaines, 6.971, 198.41; 
FINAL -- Krisher, 6.963, 198.73 def. Pawuk, 7.076, 197.19. 

PRO STOCK TRUCK: 
ROUND ONE -- Taylor Lastor, Chevy S-10, 7.536, 178.87 def. Mark Whisnant, S-10, 7.559, 177.95; Greg Stanfield, S-10, 7.563, 179.02 def. Victor Cagnazzi, S-10, 7.620, 177.60; Jeff Gracia, GMC Sonoma, 7.551, 179.56 def. John Coughlin, S-10, 7.699, 171.36; Randy Daniels, S-10, 7.540, 179.21 def. Jeff Naiser, S-10, 7.621, 178.19; Mike Coughlin, S-10, 7.613, 177.09 def. Todd Patterson, Dodge Dakota, 7.592, 179.21; Scott Perin, S-10, 7.557, 179.54 def. John Lingenfelter, Sonoma, 7.588, 178.57; Bob Panella Jr, S-10, 7.502, 180.12 def. Brian Self, S-10, 7.600, 178.28; Don Smith, S-10, 7.552, 180.09 def. Bart Price, S-10, 10.037, 93.81; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Smith, 7.601, 180.02 def. Stanfield, 12.812, 67.61; Gracia, 7.629, 179.04 def. Perin, foul; Daniels, 7.565, 178.92 def. M. Coughlin, 7.670, 175.73; Panella Jr, 7.546, 179.56 def. Lastor, 7.566, 179.23; 

SEMIFINALS -- Smith, 7.538, 179.64 def. Gracia, 7.575, 179.61; Daniels, 7.568, 179.71 def. Panella Jr, 7.712, 179.47; 
FINAL -- Smith, 7.652, 157.87 def. Daniels, foul. 

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 13th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the ninth of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL: 
1. Kenny Bernstein, 739; 2. Larry Dixon, 720; 3. Mike Dunn, 708; 4. Doug Kalitta, 642; 5. Darrell Russell, 561; 6. Gary Scelzi, 537; 7. Tony Schumacher, 480; 8. Doug Herbert, 407; 9. David Grubnic, 371; 10. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 347.

FUNNY CAR: 
1. John Force, 725; 2. Ron Capps, 610; 3. Bruce Sarver, 585; 4. Whit Bazemore, 520; 5. Frank Pedregon, 505; 6. Tony Pedregon, 503; 7. Del Worsham, 482; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., 443; 9. Gary Densham, 439; 10. Dean Skuza, 420.

PRO STOCK: 
1. Mark Pawuk, 626; 2. Warren Johnson, 579; 3. Jim Yates, 566; 4. Jeg Coughlin, 532; 5. Kurt Johnson, 505; 6. Ron Krisher, 473; 7. Mark Osborne, 443; 8. Bruce Allen, 441; 9. Richie Stevens, 406; 10. Mike Edwards, 404.

PRO STOCK TRUCK: 
1. Randy Daniels, 557; 2. Bob Panella Jr, 543; 3. Greg Stanfield, 532; 4. Jeff Gracia, 450; 5. Don Smith, 325; 6. Scott Perin, 279; 7. Todd Patterson, 236; 8. Mike Coughlin, 229; 9. Jeff Naiser, 210; 10. John Lingenfelter, 192.

NHRA.com

 

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