Now an annual tradition, one of the most anticipated moments of the annual PRI Trade Show held at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis was the debut of Competition Plus’ Legends: The Series, this year featuring a special tribute to the late NHRA Top Fuel competitor, Darrell Russell.
A rising drag racing star, Russell lost his life at the height of his professional career in an on-track accident at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis in the summer of 2004. Prior to his death, Russell had made a name for himself in the Top Fuel ranks, becoming the third driver to ever win his professional class debut in 2001. Driving Joe Amato’s NHRA Top Fuel dragster, Russell won six events and was runner-up at 11 others out of the 81 events entered.
Russell’s death led to several safety innovations in the nitro classes within the NHRA.
On Friday, in front of a bustling media room filled with racers, fans and friends of Russell, Competition Plus Editor Bobby Bennett debuted the half-hour feature showcasing the life and times of Russell.
In the episode, some of the closest people in Russell’s life, including his father, Burnell Russell, brother Chris Russell and Rob Geiger detail the life and career of Russell, from his early days in the sportsman ranks all the way to his race-winning professional career.
“It is a beautiful tribute to our son and I think it portrays him better than I’ve ever seen anybody do it,” said Burnell Russell. “Bobby (Bennett) did a great job putting all of the people together that really knew him best. We are very proud of the film.
“It is very difficult to watch, but it represents the happiest period in Darrell’s life when he was on top of the world. We are very happy for that. We get cards and when we go to the races we will be stopped by fans that still think about him today.”
The Darrell Russell Legends episode will debut online Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, at 8 PM, EST here.
Legends: The Series is an online documentary/interview series that delves into the history of those drag racers who shaped various areas of the sport. Surpassing more than a million views online, the series combines raw interviews and historical footage.