Brandon Bernstein, left, and father Kenny, right. The 30-plus Bernstein legacy at Gainesville will end in next week's race with Brandon not competing. (Photo courtesy

Antron Brown, John Force lament there won’t be a Bernstein racing at NHRA Gatornationals

1 Comment

For the first time in more than 30 years, the name “Bernstein” will not be on the qualifying grid for next week’s NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

Legendary Kenny Bernstein, who became the first driver in NHRA history to exceed 300 mph at Gainesville in 1992, has been retired since 2007.

Long known as the Budweiser King because of a more than two-decade sponsorship with the noted brewery, the elder Bernstein was one of the greatest drivers not only of his time but also in overall NHL history.

He was particularly versatile, the only driver in NHRA annals to win multiple championships in both Funny Car and Top Fuel.

Bernstein’s son Brandon lost his ride after last season and continues to search for a new home for his driving talents. While he’ll be at the Gatornationals, he’ll be there in an unusual role: spectator.

Antron Brown, the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel champion, laments that the younger Bernstein won’t be behind the wheel in Gainesville.

“The Bernstein family has made a name for themselves at Gainesville,” Brown said. “Every time we used to go to Gainesville, you’d always see the big pictures of the white and red car with Budweiser all over it.

“It was the King of Speed’s track, The King of Speed. When Big Daddy (Don Garlits) retired, that was a Bernstein heritage track. It’s been in their heritage of the sport. Brandon is going to be there (but) he won’t be in a car, and Kenny’s retired now.

“So it’s definitely a part of our sport that is definitely missing. I hope Brandon gets back soon. He’s a great team manager, but we all know he belongs in a car.”

John Force, a record 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion and winningest driver in the sport, also would like to see the younger Bernstein back racing.

“Bottom line, we need him back in a Funny Car,” Force said. “We need that name back in a dragster. If I had an opening, if I got hurt and (daughter) Ashley didn’t come back because of her children right now, (Brandon would) be the first guy I’d call, not just that he’s a talented driver interview, but because (father Kenny was) one of the names that built this sport.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski


Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.