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Russell's fortunes on upswing

Updated: June 27, 2004, 11:44 PM ET
By Bill Stephens | ESPN

MADISON, Ill. -- In 2001, Darrell Russell began his professional drag racing career by winning his first Top Fuel start for new employer -- retired five-time champion Joe Amato. Russell won the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., after being chosen to fill the seat in Amato's dragster from among a host of qualified candidates. Ironically, Amato had been urged to hire Russell by the then-reigning Top Fuel champion, Gary Scelzi, who also won in his Top Fuel debut at Pomona in 1997 -- beating ...

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