Bowling Green, Kentucky – Jim Murphy grabbed a long-anticipated NHRA Heritage Series Top Fuel event win at the 15th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion with a 5.71 ET at 257 MPH over opponent Jim Young who posted 5.92 ET at 253 MPH. Murphy welcomed the victory after climbing to five consecutive Nostalgia Top Fuel final rounds marked by unfortunate flukes. “We’ve had a dry spell for a couple of years, so this feels really good. It’s nice to get the monkey off my back”, said Murphy
Murphy drove the Roland Leong-tuned WW2 front-engine Top Fuel dragster with remarkably consistent power and speed throughout the 8-car Eliminations battle, posting a 5.72 ET at 245 MPH Round One win over Julius Hughes in his Atlanta Speed Shop fueler and a 5.73 ET at 240 MPH Semi-Final clincher over March Meet winner Mendy Fry, who footed the High Speed Motorsports dragster to a 5.81 ET at 260.21 MPH against Murphy in a tight race that had the capacity crowd going wild.
Final round opponent Jim Young set low ET and Top Speed of the event with 5.61-seconds and 260.36 MPH and moved up the Eliminations ladder over Tyler Hilton in the Great Expectations III and Tony Bartone in the Semi-Final while fighting tire shake so severe that it warped sections of the Young Guns dragster body. The Wisconsin-based Young was shaken but unbowed. “We’re making good horsepower, now I just have to get it down the track. I wish we could have sealed the deal, but we had a good outing”, said Young.
Jim Murphy and the WW2 were last victorious at Bowling Green in 2013 and took the points Championship the same year. His win at the 15th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky capped a weekend of blazing Top Fuel racing action that puts the California-based Murphy as current points leader moving into the 3rd race of the 5-race 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship.
The All American Fuel Dragster coalition is set for the second NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel battle of 2017 at the 15th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion June 15-17. Drivers and teams are navigating towards Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky for the always volatile mix of qualifying and 8-car eliminations that propels front-engine Top Fuel dragster tradition into the future one 5-second 250 MPH nitro-burning 1/4-mile at a time.
March Meet winner and current points leader Mendy Fry and the High-Speed Motorsports hemi-powered dragster are heading east of the Rockies along with fellow California-based top fuel contenders. Jim Murphy is on deck in the Roland Leong-tuned WW2 dragster and Dusty Green will connect with the Nitro Hemi. Adam Sorokin and the South San Francisco-based Champion Speed Shop team are loaded for a repeat performance of last year’s event win with their small block Chevrolet-powered rail.
“I think we’re going to the National Hot Rod Reunion this year more prepared than we ever have been in the past – but that place is unpredictable, so I think we’ll just have to race smart and be there to capitalize when the opportunities present themselves. We will come out of the box very aggressive”, said Sorokin.
After what could be described as a disappointing March Meet weekend in Bakersfield, three-time NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Top Fuel champion Tony Bartone and the Bartone Bros. are headed south from Long Island City for battle with front-engine converts from all points. Wisconsin’s own Jason Greenwood and Jim Young are motoring out from the upper Midwest following a Memorial Day weekend run up at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wisconsin where Young set a Nostalgia Top Fuel track record with a 5.76 at 234 MPH blast.
Paul Schultz is carrying the Spirit of Tulsa with him from Oklahoma and Tim Cullinan is on the way from Illinois with his Nitro Nostalgia entry. Julius Hughes is ready to rumble as a top fuel representative of the oldest speed shop in the southeast in his Atlanta Speed Shop AA/FD dragster. Tyler Hilton and his Great Expectations III entry are testing in Memphis prior to the National Hot Rod Reunion where he and his family are event Honorees.
Tyler’s dad and crew chief Bobby Hilton’s dad John campaigned a big block Chevrolet Rodeck-powered top fuel dragster in the 70s, and Tyler runs a big block Chevrolet his Great Expectations III entry. “It should be pretty great time. We are planning on qualifying and trying to take some people down”, said Tyler. The drag racing Hilton Family will join fellow event Honorees Wayne Jesel, Randy Payne, Mark Williams, Della Woods and Grand Marshal Eileen Daniels.
2017 National Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel action gets underway with session one qualifying on Thursday, June 15th at 3:00. Session two qualifying is scheduled for Friday, June 16th at high noon 12 PM with session three and final qualifying slated for Friday at 3 PM. Eliminations commence on Saturday at 1 PM. Be there! Nitromethane is unpredictable at best. Schedule subject to change.
Because more nitromethane is always better than less the AAFD front engine Top Fuel slingshot dragster coalition will be joined by nitro-huffing Funny Car and Fuel Altered cohorts at Bowling Green. Nitro burning will continue into Saturday night after racing action concludes as the trademark Cacklefest makes its way into the evening with a parade and presentation of nitromethane past.
The 15th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway Park June 15-17 is the second salvo in the 5-race battle for the 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship. See the National Hot Rod Reunion page for spectator tickets, event schedule and more. The next race is Pepsi NightFire Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho August 10-13. Head on over to www.nhrahotrodheritage.com for an upcoming series race schedule, news, points, results, rules and more.
Mendy Fry emerged as the March Meet Top Fuel Champion after five days of side-by-side drag racing at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. Fry drove the High-Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel dragster to the win in a final round matchup with Jim Murphy in the Roland Leong-tuned WW2 entry. Fry staged in and ran a full pass on a single with a 5.59-second ET at 252 MPH after Murphy lost fire on the burnout with a broken fuel pump drive shaft.
Victory arrived with Fry driving the same dragster that she earned her Top Fuel license back in 2004 after working up the drag racing ranks from Junior Fuel. Fry is the first woman to win the March Meet since 1982 when Lucille Lee bested Shirley Muldowney in what was the first all-female Top Fuel final ever. Fry was overwhelmed with emotion after her March Meet win.
“It has been so much work to get here. These guys have given me a shot at the best ride I’ve ever had. I can’t express what that means to me. It’s overwhelming”, said Fry.
Fry emerged triumphant after near tragedy in Thursday night Top Fuel testing session when the input shaft broke on the hit and grenaded the clutch. The Trick Titanium bell housing safely contained the havoc, but the disintegrated clutch left the High-Speed team working night into morning. The team recovered in time for a number eight qualifying slot and climb up the eight car eliminations ladder into March Meet history.
March Meet Top Fuel racing action was as frenetic as it was close. Pete Wittenberg took a Round One win in his Hemi-powered Circuit Breaker with a 5.78-second ET in a tight race over Adam Sorokin’s 5.81-second ET in the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet dragster. Sorokin got out on Wittenberg with a hole shot but the Circuit Breaker held onto the power through the lights for the win by a slim margin at the finish line.
The Sunday Round One battle continued with a Hemi vs. Hemi battle as Bret Williamson drove the Mike Fuller Forever Young dragster to a win light over Dusty Green in the Nitro-Hemi entry. Williamson got the hole shot and 5.90-second ET at 249 MPH over Dusty Green who pushed the Nitro-Hemi hard to a 5.88-second ET that just wasn’t enough against the .149 light from Williamson.
Mendy Fry’s historic March Meet winning elapsed time echoed her earlier 5.59-second 249 MPH blast in Round One Eliminations that put 2016 points champion and 2017 March Meet #1 qualifier Tony Bartone back on the trailer to Long Island City, New York. Bartone double stepped then crossed the centerline out of the gate to foul out of eliminations.
Jim Murphy powered his WW2 dragster to a 5.71-second 243 MPH Round One win against Rick McGee in the Overtime Special. McGee had the better reaction time but lost traction after some wheelspin and drifted towards the wall before bouncing the Hemi-powered AA/Fuel dragster through the lights behind Murphy.
The Semi-Finals saw Mendy Fry trip up the Circuit Breaker with a half track pedal and 5.78-second 220 MPH run that sent Pete Wittenberg back to Anaheim, California. Wittenberg had just earned his Top Fuel license on Thursday night in the Pete Kaiser tuned Circuit Breaker. Jim Murphy took a Semi-Final win with a 5.63-second 244 MPH run after Bret Williamson smoked the tires on the hit and set the stage for the Final Round matchup against Mendy Fry.
Ten front-engine Top Fuel dragsters made it to the March Meet for qualifying but in the end, there was only room for eight contenders. Brendan Murry could not get his Hemi-powered Running Wild dragster moving quick enough and Phil Ruskowski from Canada did not get his pedal clutch equipped small block Chevrolet-powered AA/Fuel dragster into the show. Rain delayed Sunday Eliminations in the morning and again in the late afternoon as precipitation and an increasingly cold track surface prompted race officials to push the final round matchup into Monday.
While a broken fuel pump drive and push back out of the race was not the way Murphy would have preferred things to play out, he congratulated Mendy on her historic win and looked forward into the season of NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Racing action and run at the points championship. “It just wasn’t meant to be. It was a good weekend all in all. That could have happened in the first round. The championship is our ultimate goal”, said Murphy.
Next stop for the All American Fuel Dragsters coalition and nostalgia drag racing action is Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky for the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion June 15-17. The full schedule of events is available at the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series.
Front-engined Top Fuel dragster teams and drivers have ventured to Bakersfield to race the March Meet since the late Fifties. The nitromethane-fueled tradition continues in modern times as the All American Fuel Dragsters coalition is set to unleash a combined 40,000 horsepower assault onto the hallowed Famoso Raceway quarter mile in an epic battle for a slot into 8-car eliminations and 200-plus mile per hour run at victory.
Following up on the establishment of national level Top Fuel dragster competition set in motion by the Smokers and Don Garlits at the first March Meet in 1959, two-time March Meet winner and three-time NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Top Fuel champion Tony Bartone is on the way out west for from the east coast to do battle with California-based Top Fuel titans who are prepared to serve up supercharged west coast competition.
Four-time March Meet title holder Jim Murphy and crew chief Roland Leong have been busy desert-testing the fearsome WW2 Top Fuel dragster with eyes on a fifth event win and five-feat matched only by Don Garlits. Following a number of years inside a nostalgia funny car, Nitro Kitty Mendy Fry is back driving the hemi-powered High Speed Motorsports front-engine Top Fuel dragster. “I am more than excited to be back with the High Speed team, driving a car that is a serious threat to Bartone’s #1 seat”, said Fry.
South San Francisco’s Champion Speed Shop is set to fuel its small block Chevrolet up against the whale and elephant hemi-powered entries. Driver Adam Sorokin is confident that the Chevy can run the number and welcomes competition from all points. “I’m happy about that, we need different people out here. West coast. East coast. Doesn’t matter to me. I just want to put them on the trailer”, said Sorokin. Tedford & McGee are bringing the formidable Overtime Special into the fight with the hot setup from the Central Valley.
The Nitro-Hemi is traveling over the Rocky Mountains from Colorado to connect with driver Dusty Green who agrees with the more is better approach and feels the March Meet is where the action starts. “I think it’s going to be a shootout and a hell of a show for the fans. There are strong cars coming from all over”, said Green. From all over case-in-point is Phil Ruskowski, who is carrying the international front-engined Top Fuel torch south from Canada to put fire into his small block Chevrolet-powered Nitro Mouse digger in Bakersfield.
San Jose’s own Brendan Murry is hauling his 426 elephant-powered Hemi dragster out of his backyard garage towards Bakersfield while Tyler Hilton is ready to hit the big block Chevrolet loud pedal on the Great Expectations III after productive pre-season preparation. Bret Williamson was seen warming up the Mike Fuller “Forever Young” hemi-powered entry during a Famoso testing session last weekend and Pete Wittenberg is on his way to a license pass and subsequent qualifying in the KMA Circuit Breaker rail dragster.
The 2017 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway is the Top Fuel opening salvo in the 5-race battle for in the 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series run up. The New England Hot Rod Reunion fell off the schedule last year but the good news is Tulsa Raceway Park has stepped up to host the AAFD slingshot coalition at the annual Nitro Nationals September 22-23 and bring the series back up to a 5-race battle in which all races count.
After rain dampened pre-race testing efforts March Meet AAFD testing will officially commence on Thursday, March 2nd at 3:00. First round qualifying is scheduled for Friday at 12:30 with a second round slated for 3:15. Eliminations commence on Sunday at 11:45 AM in Bakersfield. Be there! As nitromethane is unpredictable at best, the March Meet schedule is subject to change. More information on the March Meet and a full event schedule can be found by clicking through to the Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
As more quarter mile nitromethane-fueled action is, in fact, better, the AAFD front-engined Top Fuel slingshot coalition will join forces at Famoso with unruly fuel altereds, vintage rear-engined Top Fuel dragsters, nostalgia funny cars, nitro-burning injected A/Fuel dragsters and an as yet unknown quantity of nitro-huffing entries dispersed through the Nostalgia Eliminator, 7.0 Pro and index ranks. It all adds up to the hot rod hootenanny of injected and blown nitro-burning drag racing action that can only be the March Meet in Bakersfield.
MARCH MEET NITRO SCHEDULE: SUBJECT TO CHANGE
WEDNESDAY, March 1st
11:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Open Test & Tune
THURSDAY, March 2nd
3:00 PM: Nitro Testing Session
FRIDAY March 3rd
12:30 PM: Top Fuel & Funny Car Qualifying Session 1
3:15 PM: Top Fuel & Funny Car Qualifying Session 2
5:00 PM: Fuel Altered Qualifying Session 1. Rear Motor Top Fuel Session 1
SATURDAY, March 4th
12:30 PM: Top Fuel & Funny Car Qualifying Session 3
3:15 PM: Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
4:00 PM: Fuel Altered Qualifying Session 2/Rear Motor Top Fuel Session 2