NHRA- Brandon Bernstein MavTV
May 5, 2012The Thunder Road Show
Past Atlanta champion Bernstein has fast car for race day
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 5) – Brandon Bernstein and the MAVTV/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster may be on the verge of a terrific showing in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
Bernstein made three solid passes in qualifying and will start Sunday's eliminations from the No. 6 position. His best clocking was 3.851 seconds at 316.60 mph, which sets up a first-round showdown with No. 11 Hillary Will. A part-time racer, Will had a best run of 3.885 at 301.74 mph to earn her spot in the field.
"The MAVTV car has made fantastic runs all weekend," Bernstein said. "The last run, (crew chief) Joe (Barlam) kind of knew it was going to do that (smoke the tires). He wasn't testing the boundaries, but he had a feeling that we were a little too aggressive for the way the track had turned.
"The 3.85 in the heat earlier today was really stout. We're pretty proud of what we've done this weekend, and hopefully, we can relay it into a great race day tomorrow."
Bernstein smoked the tires in Q4, but he improved in each of his other runs. After starting with a 3.881 at 317.05 mph, the MAVTV/Lucas Oil dragster went 3.855 at 313.00 mph in Q2 and 3.851 at 316.60 mph in Q3.
The veteran driver will be gunning for the 19th Top Fuel victory of his career and second at Atlanta. Bernstein won here in 2007 and would love to repeat that accomplishment. But he knows it won't be easy.
"I think consistency is the thing," Bernstein said. "With this kind of weather and this heat, once the first round is over, it's going to be tough. It's going to be hot again, and the track's going to be real tricky.
"Just getting down the track is what you're going to have to do, and you have to be consistent with that. A lot of the rounds are probably going to be won with 3.90s, to be honest. That's good. We've got a car that can run in the heat. We're poised to get our first win this year."
Bernstein has qualified in the top half of the field in six of the seven races this season, with a best of No. 2 in Charlotte. But his smile is wider this weekend.
"We've had some better weekends, performance-wise, just looking at the numbers," Bernstein said. "But the consistency of the race car this weekend has been really, really great. We really feel like this is our weekend to shine."
Top Fuel eliminations begin at 11 a.m. EDT. ESPN2 is carrying all the action with same-day coverage.