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Bernstein, Protecttheharvest.com Team Have One Goal: Win Races

Indianapolis - Aug. 28, 2013 - ProtectTheHarvest.com Top Fuel dragster driver Brandon Bernstein has plenty of goals left for this season, starting with a victory in the U.S. Nationals this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Bernstein missed three races after surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back earlier this year and he'll fall short of qualifying for the Countdown to the Championship, but he and crew chief Joe Barlam are hardly giving up on the season.

"With us not being able to go for a championship, we're definitely looking at race wins," Bernstein said. "The Protect The Harvest team wants to go out and win some races. We're definitely going to have something to say about the championship."

Bernstein had something to say about the 2012 title; his victory over Tony Schumacher in the final round in Pomona, Calif., allowed Antron Brown to win the championship. For 2013, Bernstein hopes he can pave the way for GEICO/Lucas Oil teammate Morgan Lucas to win the title.

"If Morgan is in the hunt, and we hope he is, we're going to do everything we can to get him the championship," Bernstein said. "That's what a two-car team is for. I'm looking forward to racing that way and trying to get Morgan a championship."

The Countdown is still one race away, so Bernstein and his team will focus on the U.S. Nationals, drag racing's most prestigious event. Bernstein has come close to a victory at the "Big Go," falling to Schumacher in the 2006 final in a race he should have won.

"In the final, I left and the car was going straight," Bernstein said. "The car was motoring and I didn't even see him. You look back at the tape, and I was half a car ahead of him at half-track, but it broke the crankshaft and we were dead in the water. I was like, 'You've got to be kidding.' We had him covered and were going to win the U.S. Nationals. Those are tough ones to remember."

Bernstein has plenty of good memories, though, because his dad Kenny Bernstein raced at Indy for many years. 

"This was always a race that I'd go to as a kid," Bernstein said. "When my dad doubled up and won the Bud Shootout and the race in 1983, I was there. As a kid that was fun. It was always fun to be at the U.S. Nationals, and then for him to win both races was an amazing day for him and the team."

Bernstein would like to have a similar day.

"It's the U.S. Nationals. What more can you say? It's the one that everybody wants to win. When your name is on the list of U.S. Nationals champions, it's a nice accomplishment."

Qualifying for the U.S. Nationals gets under way at 6 p.m. EDT on Friday. Qualifying picks up with two sessions starting at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and will conclude on Sunday with two final sessions starting at 11 a.m. Eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying sessions on Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT and eliminations at noon on Monday.