MADISON, Ill. -- Kenny Bernstein made his final stop in the St. Louis area one to remember.
The defending Top Fuel champion earned his first ever victory at the home track of his sponsor, winning the Top Fuel title Sunday at the sixth annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.
Bernstein turned in a 5.056-second pass at 293.22 mph in his dragster to beat Andrew Cowin's 5.291 run at 263.87.
John Force, Jeg Coughlin and Angelle Savoie won their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the 12th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series.
Bernstein is retiring at the end of the season and is currently second in the points to Larry Dixon. After four qualifying runs Dixon failed to qualify for the eliminations, allowing Bernstein to close the gap.
Entering the weekend, Dixon's lead over Bernstein was 259 points. After the weekend, that lead was cut to 157 points.
Bernstein said the team was able to conquer the track that got up to 145 degrees because of the team.
Force earned the 101st victory of his career as he scored the automatic win off a Scotty Cannon red light. Force smoked the tires and went 8.837 at 87.98 in his Ford Mustang to beat Cannon's disqualified 5.053 at 295.85 in his Pontiac Firebird.
The last time Force won a race was at the Houston event on April 14. Teammate Gary Densham has held the points lead over Force and his other teammate, Tony Pedregon has been in third place. The three Force Racing drivers are still in the top three spots, but Force took over the lead after Densham lost in the semifinals to Cannon.
Cannon, the 1999 Rookie of the Year, has yet to win a national event. This is the second runner-up finish for Cannon this season.
Coughlin became the 10th different winner this season in the Pro Stock category. Coughlin went 6.928 at 199.52 to beat Greg Anderson's 6.930 at 199.91 in a battle between Chevy Cavaliers.
Savoie claimed her third win of the season. Shawn Gann fouled at the starting line and Savoie went on to win with a 7.187 at 184.83.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.