New England Hot Rod Reunion, New England Dragway, Epping, New Hampshire, August 30, 2015—For the second consecutive season, Long Island City’s Tony Bartone clinched the Heritage Series Top Fuel Points Championship at the New England Hot Rod Reunion, one race before the season has even finished.
After his nearest contender for points, Bill Dunlap, red-light fouled in the first round of eliminations, Bartone became the NHRA Heritage Series Champion. To prove he deserves the 2015 Title, in the final round “T-Bone” won this decisive event with a swift ¼-mile elapsed time of 5.60 seconds at a speed of 248 mph, numbers which earned his Steve Boggs-tuned entry Low ET and Top Speed of the Meet.
“We didn’t want them to think we didn’t have it tuned up,” Bartone declared, after watching his final round foe, Dusty Green, also red-light foul. “We are running good. We got a good program, a good crew and Steve Boggs is on the money.”
Despite the powerful and convincing performance en route to a back-to-back Title, Bartone expressed both empathy for Dunlap’s folly (“That was a terrible way to go out,” he noted) as well as some humility.
“None of them are easy,” he added. “We won, but nobody in the crew is going ‘Ahhh Ahhh Ahhh’ with their chest out. This is called racing, not winning. Right now we are winning, so enjoy it but don’t be talking and boasting.”
Perhaps his rationale for muting any braggadocio is to prevent any proverbial pasting of newspaper clippings in his adversaries’ locker rooms. Indeed, not only will his opponents get a shot towards boasting rights at the season-closing California Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield in October, they can also take aim at the “Bartone Bros.” entry for the duration of 2016.
“We are possibly working on a new car for next year,” Bartone acknowledged when asked about returning to the front-engine Top Fuel wars next year. “We plan on running the same program. I don’t see any major changes except for a new chassis. Other than that, it will be business as usual.”
With that being established, when asked about any challengers‘ desire to thwart a potential “Three-peat,” Bartone poked at his competition.
“The guys have a mark to hit now,” he said. “Maybe we woke them up a little bit. I hope so.”-30-