Bakersfield, California – Adam Sorokin is the 2019 Bakersfield March Meet Nostalgia Top Fuel Champion. Sorokin drove the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet-powered AA/Fuel dragster to victory with a 5.84 ET at 212 MPH as runner up Mendy Fry watched from the starting line with a broken throttle linkage in the High Speed Motorsports fueler. Sorokin’s second March Meet win with the Champion Speed Shop closed out a weekend of fierce competition at the historic drag racing event.
The 61st Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet saw record runs and unexpected turns on the quarter-mile as the Nostalgia Top Fuel field squared off at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Rick White emerged as #1 Qualifier with a 5.72 ET at 254 MPH after three frenetic sessions. 2018 March Meet winner Pete Wittenberg failed to qualify after three aborted runs and reigning Champion Mendy Fry drove through a blower explosion and damaging tire shake that had the High-Speed Motorsports team in the pits until 3 AM.
Rick White opened Eliminations with a 6.09 ET at 175 MPH win on a single after Phil Ruskowski kept rolling in the “Xibitionist” after zinging the rpm’s and banging the blower on the burnout. Bret Williamson turned a 5.80 ET at 240 MPH in the Mike Fuller “Forever Young” that shut down Brendan Murry in the “Running Wild”. Mendy Fry blasted to a quickest and fastest ever 5.51 ET at 265 MPH win over Jim Murphy in the WW2. Adam Sorokin advanced with a 5.98 ET at 201 MPH as Rick McGee clipped some cones in the Tedford & McGee “Overtime Special”.
Sorokin drove the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet into the Final with a 5.83 ET 212 MPH win as Rick White struck the tires in the Neal & White AA/Fueler. Mendy Fry then broke her own Nostalgia Top Fuel record with a 5.49 ET 259 MPH Semi-Final blast over Bret Williamson’s 5.85 ET at 234 MPH. Side by side burnouts set up the Final round battle at Famoso and Sorokin etched his second March Meet win into the Top Fuel timeline behind the canopy of the Champion Speed Shop dragster.
Over 50 years after his father Mike Sorokin won the March Meet and nearly 10 years after his first March Meet win, Sorokin was elated as he was interviewed by Jason Galvin on the top end at Famoso. “I was just hoping that they don’t run ’em on paper! We knew that we had something if things didn’t go their way. That 5.49 she ran was so stout. That team was so good. Amazing. For us to get by them, that’s the car to beat right now. I’m really happy.”
Bakersfield, California – Top Fuel titans of the All-American Fuel Dragster coalition are loaded up with nitromethane and headed to the 61st Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway March 7th-10th. The historic event is the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series season opener and first shot at the championship for the front-engine nostalgia Top Fuel ranks.
Season champion Mendy Fry is back in the “High Speed Motorsports” dragster and last year’s March Meet winner Pete Wittenberg will stage in the “KMA Circuit Breaker.” Adam Sorokin will drop the lid on the small block Chevrolet-powered “Champion Speed Shop” dragster and Brendan Murry will light up his “Running Wild” 426 hemi. Bret Williamson will pilot the Mike Fuller “Forever Young” fueler and two-time March Meet champ Rick McGee will turn hours into seconds in the Tedford & McGee “Overtime Special”.
Four-time March Meet winner Jim Murphy will gun for a record 5th victory in his “WW2” dragster and driver Phil Ruskowski, the Island Nitro Gang and their small block Chevrolet “Xibitionist” digger are heading south from the Great White North. Land-speed luminary and 2011 March meet winner Rick White is strapping into the Neal & White “Autopower” AA/Fuel dragster at the ‘patch.
All-American Fuel Dragsters President Bob McLennan is proud to announce that the Top Fuel Internship program will return for its second year. The team effort between the Jim McLennan Foundation, Bakersfield College, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, and AAFD racers places select automotive students on Top Fuel crews for a real-world introduction to drag racing and course credit.
The March Meet Top Fuel battle starts with nitro-fueled testing on Thursday at 3 PM. Qualifying kicks off at 12 PM on Friday. Eliminations are currently scheduled for Sunday. Head over to the Auto Club Famoso Raceway for the latest March Meet information. Schedule subject to change!
The 61st Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet is the first of six races in the NHRA Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel championship season that concludes with the NHRA Motorsports Museum California Hot Rod Reunion in October 25th-27th at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Points count across all six races with the addition of the Nitro Summer Nationals at Spokane County Raceway August 16th-17th.
BAKERSFIELD, California – Mendy Fry drove into the 27th California Hot Rod Reunion with the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel championship already in hand and drove the High-Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel Dragster over the finish line for the event win. Her Top Fuel victory at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield marked a three-peat season clincher for Fry and the team after successive wins the National Hot Rod Reunion and Nightfire Nationals.
“We lost only one round of racing this year, ran the table on Low ET and Top Speed at every event except for Top Speed at the National Hot Rod Reunion. I’d say Tom Shelar and the crew have it dialed in. My team gave me the car to beat, and I didn’t screw it up. So this win is theirs. I’m just glad they picked me.” said Mendy.
Fry drove the High-Speed Motorsports dragster to number one position in explosive qualifying rounds and set event Low ET and Top Speed with a 5.55-second, 261 MPH Semi-Final win. Fry took the event win with a hard-charging 5.61 ET at 259 MPH over Rick McGee, who launched the Overtime Special to a 5.74 ET at 256 MPH for Runner Up. The final round was a dramatic conclusion to the 2018 Hot Rod Heritage season following a frenetic weekend of Top Fuel qualifying and racing action at the California Hot Rod Reunion.
BY THE NUMBERS
Through three Top Fuel qualifying sessions, some drivers saw newfound success and others met surprising disappointment as teams pushed to run the numbers while chasing Fry and the remarkably consistent High-Speed Motorsports entry. Dan Horan Jr. blasted out of the gate with a 5.87 ET at 253 MPH but hurt the Fritz Kaiser-tuned late-model Hemi in the Second Session. Irreparable damage to Horan’s mount brought Tyler Hilton and the Great Expectations III back into the show from the bump with his 5.90 ET and 255 MPH qualifying Top Speed.
The qualifying shocker was 2017 Heritage Series Champion and Event Honoree Jim Murphy, who was unable to get the WW2 entry into the show. After missing the tune-up twice, Adam Sorokin lit the candles down the entire quarter-mile and blasted the Champion Speed small-block Chevrolet fueler into the running with a 5.72 at 243 MPH in Session Three. Dusty Green pedaled Steve Harwood’s Nitro Hemi to no avail after an extended Session Three cleanup and considerable track temperature drop. 2017 California Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel winner Jim Young drove the Young Guns into the number two qualifier spot.
BATTLE AT BAKERSFIELD
Round One Eliminations opened with Rick McGee pedaling his way into the Semi-Final with a 6.07 ET at 222 MPH after Jim Young red lit in the Young Guns dragster. Mendy Fry belted out a 5.58-second 258 MPH win over Tyler Hilton who extracted a 6.30 ET at 251 MPH out of the big-block Chevrolet. Pete Wittenberg moved on with a 5.73 ET at 244 MPH on a single after Rick White and Chuck Neal could not get their dragster out of reverse after the backup. Adam Sorokin took the win with an explosive 5.88 ET at 213 MPH after Bret Williamson got loose and the Forever Young went up in smoke.
Number seven qualifier Rick McGee launched the Overtime Special into the final with a 5.74 ET at 233 MPH over Adam Sorokin who ran side-by-side up to the 1000-foot mark for a 6.00 ET at 182 MPH. In a March Meet final round rematch with an alternate outcome, Mendy Fry pushed the High-Speed Motorsports fueler to event low ET with a 5.55-second, 261-MPH run as Pete Wittenberg clipped a cone for a DQ and 6.15 ET at 169-MPH. Rick McGee grabbed the green in the final with a .036 reaction time in the Overtime Special but Fry charged hard past the 300-ft mark for the 5.61 ET at 259 MPH victory over McGee, who lit up the clocks with a 5.74 ET at 256 MPH for Runner-Up, closing out the 2018 season until the 2019 Bakersfield March Meet.
A baker’s dozen’s worth of AA/Fuel Dragster combatants will close out the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series this weekend with a supercharged 8-car Top Fuel Eliminator at the 27th California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California.
Thirteen drivers representing three generations of nitromethane-fueled drag racing are ready for the final race of competition. With an incontestable points advantage following consecutive event wins at the NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion and Nightfire Nationals, second-generation drag racer Mendy Fry and the “High-Speed Motorsports” team are already the 2018 Nostalgia Top Fuel Champions. But for the rest of the field, it’s not over until its over and the battle for the event win and number two Nostalgia Top Fuel points position will certainly be fierce at Famoso.
Current 2nd place points sitter and March Meet Winner Pete Wittenberg is back in the saddle of his early-model Hemi-powered “KMA Circuit Breaker” after a semi-final finish at the Nightfire Nationals in Boise. Venerable Brendan Murry is heading out of the Murry Building in San Jose, California with the “Running Wild” late-model Hemi-propelled dragster in tow. Second generation dragster driver Adam Sorokin is confident that the “Champion Speed Shop” small-block Chevrolet combination can make more with less at Bakersfield. “We’re concentrating more on making the car run harder and longer. We will be just staying on our side of the tree and maximizing everything we can,” said Sorokin.
After a Herculean runner-up finish at Boise, Dusty Green will once again team up with Steve Harwood’s “Nitro-Hemi” contender. Bret Williamson will strap into Mike Fuller’s “Forever Young” AA/Fuel entry. 2006 CHRR Top Fuel winner Jim Murphy will drive the “WW2” fueler as an event Honoree. Last year’s Reunion winner Jim Young is hauling his Hemi-powered “Young Guns” rail to Bakersfield from Wisconsin and third-generation drag racer Tyler Hilton is moving towards California after posting the quickest and fastest time yet in the big-block Chevrolet-powered “Great Expectations III” AA/Fuel Dragster at the Nightfire Nationals in Boise, Idaho with a blistering 5.88 ET at 249 MPH.
Rick White is suiting up in the “Neal & White” front-engine dragster, and Dan Horan Jr. will push his departed father “Digger Dan” Horan’s front engine dragster towards the high fives with a tuneup from 1995 March Meet winner Fritz Kaiser. Phil Ruskowski and the Island Nitro Gang are motoring to Famoso from Canada with their small-block Chevrolet-powered “Xhibitionist” digger. Veteran driver Rick McGee and crew have been putting in plenty of extra hours preparing their Hemi-powered “Overtime Special” dragster for battle at the ‘patch.
And in a gesture to ensure future participation in the sport, the Jim McLennan Drag Racing Foundation is once again firing up its successful Top Fuel Intern program, taking students from Bakersfield College and tasking them with mechanical maintenance on these exotic front-engine Top Fuel dragsters. Solidifying the Reunion’s relationship to the past and present, former Top Fuel Champion, stunt driver Kelly Brown will serve as the Reunion’s Grand Marshal.
Event Honorees include crew-chief extraordinaire Bob Brandt, A/Fuel driver and trainer Jerry Darien, onetime Hot Rod Magazine Editor and current drag racing journalist-historian Dave Wallace Jr., former Car Craft Magazine Editor and drag racer Rick Voegelin, and 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Champion Jim Murphy.
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 the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum curated collection of nitro-burning history in is annual “Cacklefest.” Historic push-starts are scheduled to occur throughout the weekend. Hundreds of Hot Rods and Customs will complement a swap meet full of vintage speed parts along with specialty equipment and memorabilia vendors on the midway.
To purchase California Hot Rod Reunion tickets call 1-800-884-NHRA, head over to NHRA or drive on out to Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
27th CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION TOP FUEL SCHEDULE:
Friday, October 19th
Top Fuel Qualifying Session 1: 11:00 AM
Top Fuel Qualifying Session 2: 3:00 PM
Saturday, October 20th
Top Fuel Qualifying Session 3: 12:00 noon
Top Fuel Round 1: 3:00 PM
Sunday, October 21st
National Anthem & Pre-race Ceremonies 10:45 AM
Top Fuel Eliminations Round 2 11:30 AM
Final Eliminations – All Categories 4:00 PM
Schedule subject to change
NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES
Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship points standings heading into the 27th California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, the 4th and last race in the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series following the cancellation of the Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway Park.
1) Mendy Fry 334
2) Pete Wittenberg 188
3) Brendan Murry 179
4) Adam Sorokin 164
5) Dusty Green 161
6) Bret Williamson 131
7) Jim Murphy 126
8) Jim Young 97
9) Tyler Hilton 85
10)Tim Cullinan 84
11) Rick White 54
12) Jason Greenwood 52
12) Dan Horan 52
13) Julius Hughes 51
14) Phil Ruskowski 20
15) Rick McGee 10
15) Dave Miller 10
15) Paul Schultz 10
Pete Wittenberg took the Top Fuel win over Mendy Fry at the 60th March Meet in a dramatic conclusion to a manic March Meet weekend at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. The Top Fuel Final ran into a dark and cold Sunday night after incessant rain torpedoed Saturday racing action. Wittenberg struck the tires and pedaled the KMA Circuit Breaker out of the gate as Mendy Fry charged ahead, but Fry clipped a half-track cone driving through tire shake and darkness in the High-Speed dragster for a centerline disqualification.
Front-engine Top Fuel dragster competition ramped up at the 2018 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet with nitro testing on Thursday and kicked off officially with Friday Qualifying. Rain prevented two scheduled Saturday Top Fuel qualifying sessions from running and left the All-American Fuel Dragster Dirty Dozen with a single qualifying session instead of three. After calling it due to rain on Saturday afternoon, officials made the decision to run 8-car Top Fuel Eliminations on Sunday based on Friday qualifying session order. With last minute hopes of running 12-car Eliminations dashed, four weather-beaten racers towed back home.
Runner-up Mendy Fry was on track to the Top Fuel Final rain or shine at the 60th March Meet. Fry took #1 Qualifier with a 5.73 ET at 219 MPH blast. She then set Top Speed in a Round One Eliminations with a 5.96 ET at 261 MPH win over Adam Sorokin and the Champion Speed Shop, and set low ET in the Semi-Final round with a 5.60 ET at 250 MPH victory against Jim Murphy after he lost traction in the WW2 out of the gate. Murphy grabbed a Round One Eliminations win with a 5.84 ET at 231 against Rick White who ran a 6.22 ET at 242 MPH in the Neal and White AA/Fuel dragster.Pete Wittenberg held the #3 Qualifying spot going into Sunday Eliminations and advanced to the Semi-Finals with a 5.84 ET at 221 MPH win over Brendan Murry. Bret Williamson drove the Forever Young dragster on fire past the stripe for a dramatic 5.79 ET at 212 MPH win against Dan Horan Jr. that set Williams and Wittenberg up for a Semi-Final battle. Wittenberg moved on to the Final with a 5.83 ET at 219 MPH against Williamson who ran a 5.94 ET at 238 MPH. Pete Wittenberg went from getting his Top Fuel license and going a single round the 59th March Meet to the Top Fuel final at the 60th March Meet.The Final round paired up Mendy Fry in the High-Speed Motorsports dragster and Wittenberg in the Jimi Young-tuned KMA Circuit Breaker. Darkness fell as did the temperature before the finalists hit their burnouts and staged in for the Top Fuel decider at the 60th March Meet. Wittenberg lost traction off the line and pedaled the KMA Circuit Breaker in an attempt get 3000-plus horsepower back down to the ground. Mendy Fry pulled away for the lead unaware of Wittenberg’s situation but encountered tire shake in the dark and clipped the half-track cone for a disqualification.Pete Wittenberg ran the gamut of emotions in the cockpit. “I hit the throttle, and the car went up in smoke. I pedaled it. I rolled back into it. I saw her way out there, and I lifted and thought ‘that was fun, we’re out,’ then I saw here come over into my lane a little bit, and there was a role reversal in my head”. Wittenberg took the 60th March Meet Top Fuel trophy home just a short year after first strapping into the KMA Circuit breaker as a licensed Top Fuel racer. Drag racing, as Jungle Jim Lieberman famously said, is far out.