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MAVTV driver Brandon Bernstein falls inches short of first win of season
DENVER (July 22) - Brandon Bernstein and the MAVTV/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster are so close to a victory in the NHRA Full Throttle Series, they can taste it.
Bernstein finished runner-up at Sunday's Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, the second time this season he has fallen just short of winning the Wally trophy. Sunday's race was especially excruciating because he fell short of beating Antron Brown by approximately 3 feet.
"The MAVTV team did an awesome job all weekend and I felt I was on my game, too," said Bernstein, who also reached the finals in Englishtown. "It's unfortunate we were on the wrong side of a good drag race. All you can say is that it's a good day, good weekend."
In the final, Brown got off the line .008 seconds quicker than Bernstein, but the race was side-by-side all the way down the 1,000 feet to the finish line. Brown crossed the line in 3.957 seconds at 308.21 mph while Bernstein crossed in 3.959 seconds at 307.58 mph.
"It was a good drag race," Bernstein said. "It's what we do - we drag race. We would have loved to have won. On the bright side, we've got three in a row coming up here and if we keep knocking on the door like this we're bound to break through."
On the way to the final, Bernstein beat David Grubnic, Scott Palmer and Spencer Massey.
"As the day wore on, I had the feeling that today was going to be it, just because of the way things were going," Bernstein said. "We're going to pick it up and carry the momentum into Sonoma next week."
Bernstein took a 3-2 lead in the Bernstein vs. Grubnic season series by running a 3.975 second pass at 300.06 mph. Grubnic crossed the line in 4.004 seconds at 302.82 mph.
Palmer's car broke at the line and was pushed off, so Bernstein got a free pass into the semis. Bernstein's solo run was a 4.654 at 171.49 mph.
Against No. 1 qualifier Massey, Bernstein got off the line second but was able to use horsepower to cross the stripe first. Bernstein's winning lap into the finals was a 4.015 at 300.00 mph, while Massey finished with a 4.059 at 296.11 mph.
For its efforts on Sunday, the MATV crew was award the Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award.
"The results today show we've got the car and the crew to beat anybody out there," Bernstein said. "Now we've just got to go out there and win these things."
Bernstein didn't take much time to savor his strong finish as he rushed to the airport for a flight back home to Indianapolis to spend some time with his five-day old son, Landon Russel, before hitting the road again for the July 27-29 NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Sonoma, Calif.
MAVTV's Bernstein hopes to carry glad tidings into Denver's victory circle
DENVER (July 21) - With all the congratulations on the birth of his son, Brandon Bernstein, driver of the MAVTV/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, kind of feels like he's already won the 33rd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
"It's been great," said Bernstein, who together with his wife Tracey welcomed a healthy son into the clan earlier this week. "We're a family out here and it's nice to come out and everybody knows we just had a baby boy. It's a good feeling to walk around and have everyone offer their congrats for you.
"We live and breathe and travel together. It's been a great weekend so far and hopefully the performance of the MAVTV/Lucas Oil car will get us some win lights tomorrow."
Bernstein qualified fifth for Sunday's eliminations with a best pass of 3.947 seconds at 285.83 mph, which is a congratulation-worthy accomplishment in and of itself, considering the searing heat and high altitude at Bandimere Speedway.
"Qualifying fifth is great, but we did smoke the tires both runs today," Bernstein said. "I really think our crew chief, Joe (Barlam), was just testing the limits of the track and finding out exactly how far he can go tomorrow with the tune-up."
For his efforts, Bernstein takes on and all-too-familiar foe, No. 12 qualifier David Grubnic, who had a best pass of 4.101 seconds at 267.75 mph. This will be the fifth time this season that Bernstein and Grubnic have met, and the third time in the last five races where they have met in the first round.
"It can be hard to maneuver at this track because you are at altitude and everything," Bernstein said. "The heat also has been unrelenting on the track this weekend. It's difficult, but the MAVTV guys are up to the challenge and I've got a good feeling that it's going to go right down the track and we'll get the win lights all day.
"Grubby got us the last time we raced, so it's going to be our turn. Seriously though, that car is always a challenge when it's in the lane next to you, but our car and our team are up to the occasion."
Bernstein has a 2-2 record against Grubnic this season and tie will be broken when eliminations at Bandimere Speedway get under way at 11 a.m. MDT on Sunday.