The All American Fuel Dragsters coalition confirms that a full qualifying field of front-engine AA/Fuel dragsters are staged in for the 8-car Top Fuel Eliminations battle at the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. The Top Fuel tossup at Famoso is the last race for the hotly contested Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel championship title and marks the 26th running of the premier west coast vintage drag racing happening with legendary AA/Fuel racer and longtime NHRA chief starter Rick “The Iceman” Stewart as event Grand Marshal.
Current Top Fuel points leader Jim Murphy is gunning for his second championship title in the WW2 dragster with a slim 7-point lead over number two Mendy Fry, who took the Nitro Nationals win in her High Speed Motorsports dragster over Adam Sorokin in his small block Chevrolet-powered Champion Speed Shop fueler at Tulsa Raceway Park. Sorokin sits in the number three spot, but potential points upsets are already in the lanes at Famoso as Sorokin and Murphy will settle their rain-postponed Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel final round score in qualifying prior to eliminations.
The California-based AA/fuelers face formidable threats from the midwest and challenges from the north. Jim Young is hauling the Young Guns dragster to California from Wisconsin and aiming for another Famoso Top Fuel victory. Ohio’s own Tyler Hilton is headed west after a weekend of footing his big block Chevrolet-powered Great Expectations III AA/Fuel dragster down the quarter mile at the Goodguys Nostalgia Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Phil Ruskowski and the Island Nitro Gang are motoring to Famoso from Canada with their small block Chevrolet-powered Xhibitionist digger.
Two small blocks and one big block Chevrolet will confront a gathering of hemi-propelled AA/Fuelers for 8-car eliminations. Bret Williamson will strap into the Mike Fuller Forever Young AA/Fuel entry and Pete Wittenburg is back in the saddle of KMA Circuit Breaker hemi following his Top Fuel driving debut at the March Meet. Driver Rick McGee and crew have been putting in the hours on the hemi-powered Overtime Special dragster, and former big block Chevrolet believer Brendan Murry is heading out of the Murry Building in San Jose, California with the Running Wild hemi dragster in tow.
Is there an extra Top Fueler in the house? Number four points position holder Dusty Green will be at Famoso with helmet and hope after the unfortunate news that Steve Harwood and the Nitro Hemi AA/Fuel dragster would not be making the trip over the Rockies for the last race of the season. Last year’s Top Fuel Champion Tony Bartone is reportedly recovering from a back injury but his Hot Rod Heritage Series whereabouts remain mysterious. Longtime Top Fuelers Neil and White might show up to the 26th California Hot Rod Reunion and turn the qualifying field volume up to 11.
The All American Fuel Dragsters will join nitro-huffing Funny Cars, awful AA/Fuel Altereds, front-engine blown alcohol and injected nitro A/Fuel dragsters, and a Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum curated collection of historic drag cars of every stripe that may or may not have tipped the can into the tank for the California Hot Rod Reunion. Nitro-burning history in motion will continue into Saturday night as the trademark Cacklefest makes its way on track with a parade and presentation of nitromethane heritage from dozens of painstakingly restored fuel dragsters. Historic push-starts are scheduled to occur throughout the weekend-long celebration.
To purchase California Hot Rod Reunion tickets call 1-800-884-NHRA or online at NHRA.com/hotrodreunion. Next stop for the All American Fuel Dragster coalition is next year at the 2018 March Meet at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California Thursday, March 1st through Sunday, March 4th.March Meet racers and fans are so advised to get things sorted out sooner rather than later. Head over to www.nhrahotrodheritage.com for upcoming series race schedules, news, points, results, rules and more.
26th CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION TOP FUEL SCHEDULE:
FRIDAY OCTOBER 20TH
Qualifying Session One 11 AM
Qualifying Session Two 3 PM
SATURDAY OCTOBER 21ST
Qualifying Session Three 12 NOON
Eliminations Round One 4 PM
SUNDAY OCTOBER 22ND
Eliminations Round Two 11:30 AM
FINALS 4 PM
NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES TOP FUEL POINTS STANDINGS:
Top Fuel points standings heading into the 26th California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway and last race in the 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series. *Boise rain-postponed Nitro Nationals Top Fuel final round will run in qualifying prior to eliminations. Winner takes 20 points.
1. Jim Murphy* 388
2. Mendy Fry 381
3. Adam Sorokin* 298
4. Dusty Green 237
5. Jim Young 176
6. Tyler Hilton 157
7. Bret Williamson 128
8. Tony Bartone 126
9. Pete Wittenberg 74
10. Julius Hughes 64
11. Phil Ruskowski 62
12. Tim Cullinan 61
13. Rick McGee 52
13. Dave Miller 52
15. Paul Schultz 20
16. Brendan Murry 10
16. Jason Greenwood 10