MAVTV's Bernstein finishes runner-up in Top Fuel at Toyota SuperNationals

Jun 02, 2012

brandon etown smOn Sunday at the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals, Brandon Bernstein took one step closer to his first victory as a member of the MAVTV/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster team.

Bernstein finished runner-up to Steve Torrence in the finals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, losing out by a frustrating 9 feet (.0184 seconds).

"It's great. The MAVTV team is doing a whale of a job," Bernstein said. "The guys are just really clicking, and I'm feeling comfortable in the racecar. It's just unfortunate that today wasn't our day. 

"It's been awhile since we've won one of these. It's a tough loss, but a good drag race."

Torrence got a slight edge at the start, but Bernstein had erased that edge by the 330-foot mark. Torrence had a little more kick at the end, running a 3.800-second lap at  323.66 mph to Bernstein's 3.807 at 321.04 mph.

"He was right there with us," Bernstein said. "There's nothing more you can say. Both of us ran great; we just came up on the losing end."

It's the third straight race that Bernstein has reached at least the semifinals, which has allowed the MAVTV car to climb from 11th to seventh in the Full Throttle points in three races. It's also the ninth time Bernstein has finished runner-up since his last victory (Richmond in 2009).

On the way to the final, Bernstein defeated David Grubnic, Shawn Langdon and Clay Millican before facing Torrence.

"With the inconsistent weather today, (crew chief) Joe Barlam did a fantastic job of tuning the car today," Bernstein said. "It was fun to drive. It was going down the track just like it was a bracket car.

"Whenever you go rounds, you are going to accumulate those points. We're about to hit the Western Swing soon and every point you can get is crucial."

Bernstein started the day off avenging a Topeka loss to Grubnic. Bernstein ran a clean 3.789 at 320.66 mph as Grubnic smoked and sputtered to a 5.790 at 108.88 mph.
Round 2 was almost a carbon copy of the opening round win. Bernstein was nearly flawless, running a 3.820 at 295.98 mph, while Langdon smoked his tires and coasted across in 8.452 seconds at 84.33 mph. 

The semifinal matchup with Millican was nearly as tight as the finals. Both drivers got off the line at the same instant with Bernstein powering to a 3.815 at 320.81 mph run and Millican hot on his trail, crossing in 3.859 at 311.99 mph.

"It was a really good day," Bernstein said. "It's just unfortunate we didn't get the win, because we all wanted it really bad."

Bernstein and the MAVTV crew's next chance to take that last step into the winner's circle will be the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 15-17 at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn.

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