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Kenny Bernstein retires from NHRA drag racing

November 15, 2011 | 10:28 am

Bernstein_275Kenny Bernstein, a legendary NHRA drag-racing driver and team owner who was the first to break the 300-mph barrier, announced Tuesday he was retiring from the sport at age 67.

"My wife Sheryl and I have come to a place in our lives where we want to pursue other interests," Bernstein, whose Lake Forest-based team competed in drag racing's premier top-fuel class, said in a statement. "It's time to enjoy life while we still have our health."

He said the team's current driver, his son Brandon, "was also part of the decision-making process and we are going to do everything we can to help him find a position with another team." 

After the season finale Sunday at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Brandon Bernstein finished sixth in the championship standings of the National Hot Rod Assn.'s Full Throttle Series.

Kenny Bernstein was a versatile six-time NHRA champion as a driver. He won four consecutive titles in the sport's other top division, funny cars, in 1985-88 and also won two top-fuel championships in 1996 and 2001.

On March 20, 1992, in Gainesville, Fla., Bernstein was the first NHRA driver to surpass 300 mph on the drag strip, a speed now routine in top-fuel and funny-car racing.

Bernstein initially retired as a driver after the 2002 season, returned in 2006-07 as a funny car driver and then retired again at age 63 to focus on his team.

ALSO:

Del Worsham wins top-fuel national championship

Del Worsham takes drag racing points lead at NHRA Finals

Funny car champion John Force: Car catching on fire not new to him

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Kenny Bernstein in 2002. Credit: Gary Nastase

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