CHICAGO — If there’s one thing Top Fuel dragster driver Brandon Bernstein learned while recovering from back surgery is that he makes a terrible fan.
“It was a struggle to watch on the Internet and on TV,” Bernstein said. “It wasn’t fun. I didn’t enjoy it at all.
“With the back injury, the doctor wanted me to lay around and do nothing while I healed. There wasn’t much to do other than sit around and watch TV, and I couldn’t help myself but watch the drag racing. It was so frustrating being stuck on the sidelines.”
Bernstein is returning to the cockpit at this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals after missing the last two races correcting what had become a debilitating back injury. Now with everything healed up, he’s looking forward to getting back to the track.
“I’m excited to be getting back in the car,” Bernstein said. “It was tough to not be around the track and around my guys. I’m going to be ready, and I think we’ll be able to get back to doing our jobs 100 percent.”
Bernstein lost ground in the championship standings during the two-race layoff, and he knows he doesn’t have time to ease back into the swing of things.
“Looking at the points, we really didn’t fall as far as I thought we would,” Bernstein said. “I’m 51 points out of 10th and 57 out of ninth. In essence, that’s not too bad of a deficit to have to make up.
“It could have been a lot worse, but we do have to hit the ground running and start winning rounds to accumulate points quickly.”