We’ve got Tulsa by the numbers, Top Fuel by the score. With the Nitro Nationals in the recent past and season-closing California Hot Rod Reunion in the near future, we’ve got the numbers. Download the full set of Top Fuel results and incrementals from the 2019 Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway Park and an NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship season points rundown right here.
WINNER: MENDY FRY AND HIGH SPEED MOTORSPORTS
Mendy Fry drove the High Speed Motorsports dragster into the night and won the Nitro Nationals Tulsa Raceway Park for the second time. Fry took the win with a 5.60-second 258 MPH blast over Runner Up Adam Sorokin, who posted a 5.98 ET at 186 MPH after the automatic shutoff malfunctioned and shut down the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet around the 800-foot mark. The Nitro Nationals was Fry’s fourth consecutive event victory and clinched her second NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship.
Onetime High Speed Motorsports driver-tuners Sean Bellemeur and Troy Green joined the crew and family in honor and triumph for Crew Chief Tom Shelar, who died unexpectedly before the race. Fry’s emotions ran strong from start to finish. “I started crying when I crossed the finish line, and it didn’t stop. Tom won this Championship in absentia. We all knew how to do our jobs. He taught us all very well and put together a Top Fuel dragster that’s an absolute bracket car. He assembled a team that works well together and empowered us to make the right decisions even without him here.”
Sorokin left on Fry with a .017 light and was on an all or nothing charge to the stripe when unseen forces snuffed out the supercharged-on-nitro small block Chevrolet at the 800-900 foot mark. Sorokin could only watch as Fry drove on for the win. “The Leahy device shot the cannon against the throttle, closed it, and shut the car off. I couldn’t push it back. I didn’t even see her until it started to happen and then she went through,” said Sorokin. Crew Chief Tony Bernardini noted the system triggered even though logs showed boost and oil pan pressure parameters well within limits.
The Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway park was the next to last race in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series ahead of the season-closing 28th California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield October 25th-27th.
Scroll down for a reverse chronological order round-by-round Nitro Nationals Top Fuel Qualifying and Eliminations rundown, photos, downloadable results, and more originally complied LIVE from Tulsa Raceway Park September 19th and 20th 2019.
FULL TOP FUEL NITRO NATIONALS EVENT ROUNDUP
TOP FUEL SEMI FINAL
Mendy Fry will battle Adam Sorokin for the 2019 Nitro Nationals Top Fuel title. Mendy Fry took the semi-final round with a 5.61-second 247 MPH blast after Tyler Hilton scrubbed when his Dad and Crew Chief Robert Hilton noticed a broken rear axle mount on the Great Expectations III. Great Expectations III. Adam Sorokin ran clean to the 1000-foot mark and shut it down for a 6.29 ET at 161 MPH on a bye. The pair will square off for the Top Fuel title at Tulsa Raceway Park in a final round rematch of the 2017 Nitro Nationals decider.
SEMI-FINAL BATTLE SET: MENDY FRY VS. TYLER HILTON AND ADAM SOROKIN ON A BYE
ELIMINATIONS ROUND ONE
Tyler Hilton blasted around Jim Murphy and the WW2 at the 1000-ft mark and lit up the clocks with 5.89-second 245 MPH in the Great Expectations III. Adam Sorokin pushed the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet past Tim Cullinan and the Irish Car Bomb and took the win with a nitro spud spittin’ 5.91 ET at 205 MPH. Mendy Fry ran the High Speed Motorsports hemi to the 1000-foot mark on a 5.64-second 222 MPH bye. Nitro Nationals Top Fuel Semi-Final is coming right up at Tulsa Raceway Park.
TOP FUEL ELIMINATIONS LADDER IS SET: Session Two Qualifying is a wrap. Eliminations: Mendy Fry on a bye, Tyler Hilton vs. Jim Murphy, and Adam Sorokin vs. Tim Cullinan.
SESSION TWO QUALIFYING ROUNDUP
Jim Murphy popped the blower in a 6.03-second 195 MPH wall hugger in the WW2. Tim Cullinan shaved a second off yesterday with a 6.13 ET at 171 MPH in the Irish Car Bomb. Adam Sorokin and Tyler Hilton ran just a few hundredths slower than Q1. Paul Schultz lost fire after the burnout and couldn’t get the Spirit of Tulsa restarted. Further inspection revealed the recently rebuilt magneto internals had come undone. After his Q1 no-time DQ and unable to stage in under power in Q2, NHRA rules dictate that Paul is unfortunately out of the running. Nitro Nationals Top Fuel Eliminations Run Ladder, final Qualifying order, and incrementals right here. Nitro Nationals TOP FUEL Eliminations scheduled for 6 PM at Tulsa Raceway Park.
SESSION ONE QUALIFYING ROUNDUP
Mendy Fry runs 5.66-seconds at 222 MPH for Low ET in the High Speed Motorsports hemi. Adam Sorokin cranks out a 5.91 ET at 210 MPH in the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet for the second slot. Tyler Hilton hits 241 MPH Top Speed and grabs third with a 5.94-second big-block Chevrolet blast. Tim Cullinan shuts down the Irish Car Bomb and takes fourth with a 7.31 ET at 138 MPH. Jim Murphy strikes the tires with a pedal and idles through the lights for fifth. Paul Schultz and the Spirit of Tulsa launched out of the box before the lights were active for a no time DQ. Nitro Nationals Session Two Top Fuel Qualifying scheduled for tomorrow at 2 PM CST at Tulsa Raceway Park.
Pre-qualifying Top Fuel Test and Tune Preview
Four Top Fuel dragsters ran a 4 PM Test and Tune shakeout ahead of Session One Qualifying at Tulsa Raceway Park. Mendy Fry posted a 6.10 ET at 168 MPH in the High-Speed Motorsports dragster in an emotional first pass since the tragic loss of Crew Chief, tuner, and patriarch Tom Shelar. Jim Murphy clicked off a 6.40 ET at 129 MPH in the WW2 hemi. Adam Sorokin belted out a 6.24 ET at 162 MPH in the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet, and Tyler Hilton cranked a 6.62 ET at 155 MPH out of the Great Expectations III big block Chevrolet. The sun has broken through the clouds and Session One Top Fuel Qualifying is scheduled for 8 PM.
2019 NITRO NATIONALS PHOTO EXTRA
The Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway Park is the place for front-engine Top Fuel drag racing action this weekend. The All American Fuel Dragsters are tanked up for a nitro-burning supercharged spectacle of explosive 1/4-mile competition under the lights. The event carries on 50-plus years of Top Fuel competition that stretches back to the 1965 NHRA World Finals at the legendary dragstrip.
The Nitro Nationals is the next to last for NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel championship race ahead of the season closer at the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield, California. Mendy Fry and the High Speed Motorsports fueler, Adam Sorokin and the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet, and Jim Murphy with the WW2 dragster are rolling towards Tulsa from California in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place respectively.
Ohio’s own Tyler Hilton will strap into the fearsome big block Chevrolet-powered “Great Expectations III” AA/Fuel Dragster. Tim Cullinan is on the way from Illinois and ready to light the fuse on his late-model 426 hemi-powered “Irish Car Bomb.” Local racing legend Paul Schultz is loaded up with nitro for his hemi-powered “Spirit of Tulsa” dragster and BBQ spare ribs for the assembled Top Fuel drivers and crews.
Mendy Fry and the High Speed Motorsports team are heading into the pivotal race following the tragic loss of Crew Cheif and patriarch Tom Shelar, who died unexpectedly in his sleep on Thursday, August 22nd. The sad news came just days after the tight-knit team won the Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway and the Nitro Summer Nationals at Spokane County Raceway.
Through the shock and grief, Shelar’s family decided the best way to honor Tom’s memory was to finish the 2019 season and run for a second consecutive Heritage Series Top Fuel title. Former drivers Sean Bellemeur and Troy Green stepped back into the team to help make it happen. Fry holds the championship points lead by a substantial margin, and the Nitro Nationals could be the de facto decider.
TOP FUEL TRADITION
Tulsa Raceway Park co-owner Todd Martin was instrumental in bringing Heritage Series racing to Tulsa Raceway Park. “We’re proud to carry on the 50-plus year tradition of Top Fuel drag racing here at Tulsa Raceway Park. NHRA Heritage Series drag racing is perfect for our Nitro Nationals event,” said Martin. The Nitro Nationals features drag racing competition, a vintage car show, and the famous pinup contest for a nitro-fueled throwback in time.
“We’re proud to carry on the 50-plus year tradition of Top Fuel drag racing here at Tulsa Raceway Park. NHRA Heritage Series drag racing is perfect for our Nitro Nationals event”– Todd Martin
The All American Fuel Dragsters, fuel-huffing supercharged Funny Cars and injected-on-nitro A/Fuelers will join an armada of front-engine Junior Fuel diggers, high-axle Gassers, pre-1972 doorslammers, and econo dragsters for two days and nights of non-stop action.
NITRO NATIONALS VIDEO PREVIEW
NITRO NATIONALS TOP FUEL SCHEDULE
Schedule subject to change
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 20th:
Gates 10 AM for racers
Gates 5 PM spectators
Top Fuel Qualifying: 8 PM
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 21st
Racer Gates: 9 AM
Spectator Gates: 11 AM
Top Fuel Qualifying Session Two: 2 PM
Opening Ceremony: 5 PM
Eliminations: 6 PM
Semi-Final: 8 PM
Final: 10 PM
NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES TOP FUEL POINTS STANDINGS
Driver points standings heading into the Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway Park.
1) Mendy Fry 447
2) Adam Sorokin 341
3) Jim Murphy 261
4) Bret Williamson 227
5) Tyler Hilton 184
6) Phil Ruskowski 176
7) Jim Young 97
8) Rick White 78
9) Pete Wittenberg 67
10) Brendan Murry 62
11) Rick McGee 54
12) Joey Haas 53
13) Tim Cullinan 52
14) Julius Hughes 51
15) Gerald Hangey 10
15) Roger Lechtenberg 10
Head over to www.nhrahotrodheritage.com for all the Heritage Series racing news, schedule, official points standings, tickets, race results, rules and more.
TOM SHELAR CELEBRATION OF LIFE
A celebration of Tom Shelar’s life will be held at the Bakersfield Elk’s Lodge on October 24th in conjunction with the California Hot Rod Reunion. Instead of flowers, the family requests donations in Tom’s name to the Workshops for Warriors Foundation.
Thursday, October 24th, 2019
The Elks Lodge
1616 30th Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Tacos 5:30-7:30. Rememberances at 7 PM. Classic Rock at 8:30 PM
Late Saturday night at Spokane County Raceway, Mendy Fry won her third consecutive Heritage Series Top Fuel race. Fry charged hard out of the gate in the High Speed Motorsports dragster and posted a 5.79 ET at 241 MPH for the win against Bret Williamson, who took Runner-Up with a 6.72 ET at 172 MPH in the Mike Fuller Motorsports “Forever Young.” Fry pedaled through 3500-horsepower induced tire shake in every round at the Coors Light Nitro Summer Nationals and her midnight victory capped two days of supercharged-on-nitro drag racing action. With a commanding and near insurmountable lead in the season’s points battle, Fry and the High-Speed team are bringing their triple threat to the fifth battle in the 6-race in NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series at Tulsa Raceway Park.
The Nitro Summer Nationals ran over two days, with one session on Friday night and two sessions on Saturday ahead of Top Fuel Eliminator. Mendy Fry set Low ET in Q1 with a 5.68, but it was anybody’s race after Q3. Pete Wittenberg belted out a 5.70 ET at 245 MPH in the Circuit Breaker in Q2. Tyler Hilton drove the Great Expectations big block Chevrolet into the low sixes and matched Wittenberg’s 245 MPH Top Speed in Q3. Adam Sorokin extracted low six-second passes out of the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet and Bret Williamson capped Q3 with a 5.91-second assault in the Forever Young hemi. Jim Murphy overcame two rounds of traction issues with a 6.14 ET in Q3, and Phil Ruskowski held onto his 7.14-second Q2 run in the Xibitionist small block Chevrolet.
NITRO SUMMER NATIONALS QUALIFYING ORDER
TOP FUEL ELIMINATOR
Eliminations opened into the sunset as Phil Ruskowski moved into the semis with a 7.26 ET after Pete Wittenberg’s 7.19 ET was disqualified over a clipped cone. Adam Sorokin took the win with a 6-second flat 196 MPH holeshot over Tyler Hilton, who set low ET and Top Speed for the round with a 5.93 ET at 244 MPH in the big block Chevrolet “Great Expectations III.” Bret Williamson moved the “Forever Young” into the Semi-Final with a 5.94 241 MPH over Murphy’s 6.00-second flat 203 MPH run in the “WW2”. Mendy Fry shut down the High-Speed Motorsports dragster for a 7.21 at 117.66 MPH on a bye run single.
Mendy Fry opened the Semi-Final with a tire-shaking’ 6.54-second 149 MPH win over Adam Sorokin, who red-lit in the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevy and coasted through the traps. Bret Williamson lit up the night sky in the ‘Forever Young’ and moved onto the final with a 6.36-second 158 MPH run against Phil Ruskowski and his Xibitionist small block Chevy. The High-Speed and Mike Fuller Motorsports teams emerged from an epic pit thrash as Saturday turned to Sunday and concluded the event with a midnight race under the lights at Spokane County Raceway.
After three wins in three races the Mendy Fry High Speed Motorsports team matchup seems unstoppable but it hardly happened overnight. Fry credits the team for their nitro-huffing AA/Fuel dragster entry’s success due to their meticulous attention to detail, and crew chief Tom Shelar is quick to point out Fry’s skill, experience, and determination in the driver’s seat. “She learned how to pedal it through tire shake back when she got her Top Fuel license (in 2003) with ‘Root Beer’ Hedge. They would match race in all kinds of tough conditions all across the country. He taught her that you have to get to the finish line, no matter what.”
“She learned how to pedal it through tire shake back when she got her Top Fuel license (in 2003) with ‘Root Beer’ Hedge. They would match race in all kinds of tough conditions all across the country. He taught her that you have to get to the finish line, no matter what.”Tom Shelar
Next stop for the All-American Fuel Dragsters coalition is the Nitro Nationals, September 21st and 22nd at Tulsa Raceway Park.
Mendy Fry is the 48th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel Champion. Fry won with a 5.62 ET at 254 MPH in the High Speed Motorsports hemi against Adam Sorokin, who turned a 6.08 ET at 204 MPH in the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet for Runner-Up. The weekend saw Fry break the Firebird Raceway track record with a 5.62 ET for Number One Qualifier and then break it again with a 5.59 ET in a Semi-Final bye run. The final round win light marked back to back 2018 and 2019 Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel Championships for Mendy Fry and the High Speed Motorsports team at Boise. “I cannot begin to process how amazing my team is,” said Fry. “Tom Shelar owned it this weekend. He knew exactly what this car needed every run, and my team carried out the directions flawlessly.”
I cannot begin to process how amazing my team is. Tom Shelar owned it this weekend. He knew exactly what this car needed every run, and my team carried out the directions flawlessly.Mendy Fry
Mendy Fry pushed the High Speed Motorsports hemi-powered dragster quicker through all three qualifying sessions and grabbed the number one slot with a 5.62-second Last Session run that set a new track record. Jim Murphy ran 249 MPH in the first Friday session for Top Speed but ran off the top end of the track in the second session. Jim said he didn’t get the chutes out and the WW2 blasted into the wheat field then went into a slow roll before coming to a stop. Jim emerged A-OK, but the run was disqualified. A herculean team effort got the WW2 repaired and into Eliminations on Saturday night. When the Idaho dust settled, final qualifying order was set for the 6-car Eliminations.
Mendy Fry 5.62
Adam Sorokin 5.88
Jim Murphy 5.90
Tyler Hilton 6.60
Brett Williamson 7.09
Phil Ruskowski 7.43
RECORD-BREAKING RUN VIDEO
TOP FUEL ELIMINATOR
Eliminations got underway on Saturday night under the lights. Adam Sorokin launched the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet out of the gate for a 6.11 ET at 209 MPH win over Bret Williamson’s 6.55 ET at 159 MPH in the Forever Young. Mendy Fry won with a 5.62 ET at 229 MPH to Phil Ruskowski’s 7.55 ET in his small block Chevrolet Xibitionist dragster.
Jim Murphy drove the WW2 to a 6.18 ET at 201 MPH win over Tyler Hilton’s 6.42 ET at 233 MPH in the Great Expectations III. Mendy Fry backed up her #1 Qualifier 5.62-second track record run with another 5.62 ET in the High Speed Motorsports hemi and moved onto the Final with an automatic Semi-Final Bye win. The Sorokin vs. Murphy Semi-Final winner would race Fry in the Top Fuel Final.
SEMI FINAL AND BONUS RUN
Sorokin pushed the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet into the Final with a 6.06 ET for the win as Jim Murphy struck the tires in the WW2 hemi. Mendy Fry broke her own track record with a 5.59 227 MPH blast in a promotor’s option bonus pair-up with Tyler Hilton in the Great Expectations III. Fry’s record-breaking run in the High Speed Motorsports dragster was technically a bye as she automatically advanced to the Final. Tyler Hilton idled down the track after the fearsome blown-on-nitro big block Chevrolet overpowered the tires.
SPOKANE OR BUST!
Next stop for the All American Fuel Dragsters is the Nitro Summer Nationals at Spokane County Raceway this weekend Friday the 16th through Sunday the 17th.
48TH PEPSI NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS PHOTO EXTRA
PHOTOS BY SANDRA ALBERTI