Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another legendary Race Team turns OUT the Lights

Unfortunately this occurred just days prior to Thanksgiving... And I didn’t actually discover it until after returning from Hawaii. As I was wunderin’ what duh Speed Freaks were talking to The Bud King ‘bout - which I discovered upon their Turkey Lurkey weekend rebroadcast. (Which I didn’t bother listening too...)

Thus, upon fishing for the Kenny Bernstein interview; it was kinda sad to think that another legendary NHRA Team is closing its doors - following on the heels of Don “The Snake” Prudhomme’s shuttering back in 2010.

Kenny Bernstein was always a BAD HOMBRE to Mwah - becoming the first National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) ‘Flopper (Funnycar) pilot to successfully cross-over and win the Top Fuel Dragster category; a feat he did twice, (1996, 2001) to go along with his four consecutive Top Fuel Funnycar titles. (1985-88) As Bernstein was also the first ‘Rail-driver to record an official NHRA pass breaking the 300mph barrier in 1992 and eclipsing this with the first 310mph blast in ‘94!

Yet for me, I tend to remember Kenny B more as the frustrated(?) Back marker Championship auto Racing Teams (CART) Team Owner of King Motorsports, of which I thought their crowning achievement was Jimmy Crawford’s finishing 8th in 1991 at the Speedway, right? Although I’d forgotten that Roberto Guerrero captured the Pole at Indianapolis in 1992. Or that Scott “What Pace Car?” Goodyear won a race at Michigan in 1994; the team’s lone IndyCar victory.

As I remember Bernstein’s CART Operation running in the colour scheme of green & white with primary sponsorship from Quaker State - with “The King of Speed’s” cars being predominantly powered by those OVER-boosted “Stock block” turbocharged Buick V-6’s. ..

And after King Motorsports teammates Jim Crawford and Roberto Guererro had spent the whole Month of May flirting with “A NEW TRACK RECORD!” Indy 500 Pole-sitter Guerrero managed to “Flick-his-bic,” Err spool-up his rocketship Lola/Buick and break traction, sending the Hapless Columbian spinning into the wall on the Pace-lap and NOT even take the 76th running’s Green-flag; OOPS! Thus opening the door for ‘lil Al and Scott Goodyear to battle over that most memorable race victory...

As your humble scribe had been SUCKERED once again in the annual B-Squared I500 Pool; magik-IL-lee having drawn the very LAST starting spot (No. 33) which ironically, just so happened to be Scott Goodyear in the Walker Racing Mackenzie Financial Lola/Chevrolet - in which I, riding on the Coat-tails of thee ‘Kuhnadiun Goodyear almost pulled off the most unpredicted upset!

Meanwhile Bernstein’s NHRA Budweiser sponsorship of 30yrs was the longest ever association in Motorsports with a solitary sponsor - while whenever I think of Kenny B’s BUTTWIPER ‘Flopper, I immediately think of revered Crew Chief Dale Armstrong. (Along with Lee Beard...)

And I was totally unawares that “The Bud King” is the ONLY Team Owner to ever WIN a race in the three disciplines of NHRA, NASCAR and Indy Car, as Bernstein’s King Racing won three times in NUTCAR with Brett Bodine and Ricky Rudd in Quaker State livery in the early 1990’s...