NHRA Racing Legend Kenny Bernstein Donates Personal Racing Collection to Darrell Gwynn Foundation, March 10

March 10th, 2012

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 10, 2012) – Six-time NHRA champion Kenny Bernstein, appearing at Gainesville Raceway for a 20th anniversary celebration of his first-to-300 mph barrier-breaking run, announced that he is donating his personal treasure trove of racing collectibles and memorabilia to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation.

“Today we celebrate the 20th anniversary of what we consider our most important performance achievement,” said Bernstein. “It seems appropriate to add a little icing on the cake to today’s festivities with an exciting plan we would like to share.
“Since our retirement from the sport at the end of last season, my wife Sheryl and I have given a great deal of thought to the disposition of so many of the items we have saved that have defined our career,” said Bernstein. “After careful consideration, we felt that donating the collection to Darrell’s Foundation was a way for us to give back to an organization that is so deeply rooted in our sport.”

“We are absolutely honored that Kenny and Sheryl would think of us and donate this amazing collection of racing memorabilia to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation,” said Gwynn. “This will be a tremendous boost to our mission to support people with paralysis. Kenny has had a brilliant racing career and is one of the true legends of motorsports. I’m just so touched by this gesture. We’re looking forward to receiving the collection, cataloguing everything and making it available for sale to race fans and collectors worldwide later this year with the proceeds benefiting the Darrell Gwynn Foundation.”

“Our relationship with Darrell and his family goes back decades,” continued Bernstein. “We knew him as a teenager and remember him as our tall, lanky, mischievous Budweiser Top Fuel teammate in 1987 and 1988 when we were driving the Budweiser King Funny Car.
“In 1990 we joined the entire NHRA fraternity as we held our collective breath after Darrell suffered life-threatening injuries in a vicious accident at Santa Pod Raceway in England.
“As Darrell began to recover and returned to the U.S., we helped unite the NASCAR and NHRA stars for a benefit softball game to raise money to defray his medical expense. It was a magical evening and one of Darrell’s first public appearances after his accident. We remember the crowd cheering as Darrell threw out the first pitch and our NHRA team prevailed over the NASCAR boys in a tough battle.
“When Darrell started his Foundation, once again the NHRA fraternity united to support its cause.
“And the importance of Darrell’s Foundation hit home when Brandon sustained a severe back injury in Englishtown, N.J. in 2003. We thank the Lord above that Brandon made a full recovery, but all of us in the racing industry know many who have not been so fortunate.
“We have watched Darrell evolve from a feisty teenager to the man he is today and it seems our lives have often intersected. We are proud of what he and his Foundation have accomplished through the years.
“NHRA drag racing has given the Bernstein family so much and in our farewell salute we feel a sense of gratification knowing that the legacy we built in this sport that we loved so much is being passed along to help those who really need assistance. It would be a blessing to see Darrell, and others who have sustained similar injuries, walk again.
“It’s fitting that we would make this announcement at Gainesville Raceway, a landmark track for both of us. Besides being the site of our 300 mile-per-hour achievement, it is the track where Darrell scored his 18th Top Fuel and final career victory in 1990.”
Following Bernstein’s announcement that he was retiring from the sport (Nov. 15, 2011), he and Sheryl worked diligently through the winter opening boxes of memorabilia and sorting through treasures that had been stored away for decades.
“We relived many of the highlights of our career as we opened packages of long-forgotten items we had stashed away for the defining moment when we would hang up the last fire suit, helmet, and lock the front door to our racing operation,” said Bernstein. “That day has come.”
The Bernstein collection, consisting of historic fire suits, helmets, championship Funny Car and Top Fuel bodies, winner’s jackets, die cast and very personal one-of-a-kind items currently housed in California, will soon be moved to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation’s facility in Florida.

To inquire about the status of the Bernstein collection, please email the Darrell Gwynn Foundation at info@darrellgwynnfoundation.org

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About the 300 mph Budweiser Top Fuel dragster:

“The 300 mph Budweiser dragster here today for the anniversary celebration, was donated to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, Calif. not long after the historic run,” commented Bernstein.
“Crew chief Dale Armstrong marked all the parts that were on the car for that run to make sure that this car would be authentic. We were very proud to make the presentation to Wally, who was a close friend of ours for decades and we’re glad it has a permanent home in the museum that bears Wally’s name.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Bills/1472712300 Jim Bills

    Very cool ….   :)

  • Topfuel101

    Kenny I like your style. Followed your racing career for years and love what you are doing for this great cause.