HILTON TAKES TOP FUEL AT TULSA – WITTENBERG CLINCHES CHAMPIONSHIP

Tyler Hilton hammered the big-block Chevrolet powered Great Expectations III into the Nitro Nationals winner’s circle with a 6.39 ET at 239 MPH after Runner-Up Pete Wittenberg struck the tires at the hit in the KMA Circuit Breaker.

After posting event Low ET and Top Speed, Wittenberg clinched the 2020 NHRA Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship in the season-closing AA/Fuel pedalfest that came down to a margin of victory of just five-thousandths of a second.

The track was cooling down as the two Top Fuel titans staged into the night. The “KMA Circuit Breaker” hemi broke traction first, but Wittenberg wasn’t the only one fighting the balance of power over pavement. Hilton said he felt things get loose a little further down track and rolled into the fearsome big block Chevrolet for the win. “I don’t think the track would have held a quick pedal. It was pretty close at the end, but I was there first.”

Wittenberg quickly recovered from the smokey step and launched the hemi-powered “KMA Circuit Breaker” into hot pursuit, driving out the back door at 246 MPH with an almost but not enough 6.43-second ET. The two-time Bakersfield March Meet Top Fuel winner came into the race in the number one points position and pulled the chutes on the Nitro Nationals as the 2020 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Champion.

2020 NHRA Heritage Series Top Fuel Season Champion Pete Wittenberg and the KMA Circuit Breaker crew. Photo: Mary Robinson

More: Hot Rod Heritage Series Championship rundown from the NHRA. Bates, Cottrell, and Wittenberg claim 2020 Heritage Series Championships

The Top Fuel season wrap-up at Tulsa Raceway park saw timing tree trip-ups and mechanical mishaps through two qualifying sessions and eliminations. Brendan Murry overcame qualifying troubles but went out in round one eliminations with a 6.63 to Pete Wittenberg’s winning 6.169. Tim Cullinan’s 5.88 dispatched Jim Murphy, and Tyler Hilton’s 6.05 defeated Paul Schultz. Dusty Green drove Steve Harwood’s “Nitro Hemi” into the semi-final with a 5.89 over Gary Wheeler in the all-new Grand Prix Auto AA/Fueler.  

Wittenberg moved into the final with a 5.89 at 195 after Dusty Green scrubbed with mechanical problems during the warmup, and Tyler Hilton’s 5.83-second 246 MPH win over Tim Cullinan set the stage for the final Nostalgia Top Fuel battle of 2020. In an opening ceremonies move that foreshadowed the outcome, Tulsa Raceway Park impresario Todd Martin recognized three generations of Hilton and Lee family drag racing achievement by presenting Alison Lee with a Lifetime Dedication Award. Jim and Alison Lee campaigned the original “Great Expectations II” AA/Fuel dragster in the ’60s and ’70s. 

With the California Hot Rod Reunion’s cancellation, the Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway Park marked the end of a tumultuous year for the NHRA Heritage Series drag racing community and the entire world. Head over the NHRA for the official 2020 Hot Rod Heritage Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship points final and mark the calendar for the 2021 March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California.

FOURTEEN FUELER FIGHT SET FOR FAMOSO

Fourteen AA/Fuel dragsters are loaded with nitro and heading to Bakersfield for the 28th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Four new Nostalgia Top Fuel class dragsters will make their racing debut into what promises to be an explosive qualifying fight for 8-car Eliminations. Qualifying starts Friday, Oct 25th, and the nitro will burn until the last pair thunders down the quarter-mile for the title on Sunday, Oct 27th.

Mendy Fry and the High Speed Motorsports team are heading into the last race of the season with the Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship in hand. Fry’s fourth consecutive event win at the Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway Park put her at an incontestable point advantage ahead of the season closer. It’s not over until it’s over in the fight for the event win. With four new dragsters and three generations of Top Fuel drivers, it’s anybody’s race. Qualifying will be fierce as the formidable field unleashes over 45,000 horsepower onto the 1320 in a supercharged nitro-fueled spectacle of speed.

Drag racer and builder Bryan Hall has followed up his fearsome nitro-huffing 5-second AA/Fuel Altered known as “The Tramp” with the H&H “Nomad”. The Rooman dragster was originally built for longtime Top Fuel favorite “Digger” Dan Horan Sr., who died in 2016. Hall bought the car from Dan Horan Jr. in late 2018, along with a new house that had a longer garage for the dragster. Hall said he built the early hemi-powered fueler “just to challenge myself. It’s definitely an exciting time for the dragster class.”

Dan Horan Jr. is fielding his own all-new Pete Kaiser tuned AA/Fuel dragster as a tribute to his father. The late-model hemi belted out a 5.87 ET at last year’s reunion in his Dad’s old car. Dusty Green is out of the “Nitro-Hemi” and into the “Triple Threat.” Dusty’s new 417 Rodeck hemi-powered beast is ready for action at Famoso. “It’s badass! The class is growing,” said the Northern California based driver. Driver Frank McBee Jr. and the Valley Thunder Racing gang are rolling in from Fresno with the fourth new dragster to make its racing debut.

Read on for the current 14-car roster, points standings, and a Nostalgia Top Fuel run schedule. The All American Fuel Dragsters will join nitro-huffing Funny Cars, awful AA/Fuel Altereds, injected nitro A/Fuel dragsters in competition, Moreover, the NHRA Motorsports Museum will simultaneously light off dozens of nitro-burning historic hot rods in a celebration known as the “Cacklefest.” Traditional push-starts are scheduled throughout the weekend. 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.

28th CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL ROSTER

1) Mendy Fry – High Speed Motorsports
2) Adam Sorokin – Champion Speed Shop
3) Jim Murphy – WW2
4) Tyler Hilton – Great Expectations III
5) Bret Williamson – Forever Young
6) Phil Ruskowski – Xhibitionist
7) Rick White – Neil and White
8) Pete Wittenberg – Circuit Breaker
9) Brendan Murry – Running Wild
10) Rick McGee – Overtime Special
11) Dusty Green – Triple Threat
12) Frank McBee – Valley Thunder Racing
13) Dan Horan Jr.
14) Bryan Hall – H&H Nomad

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS

NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship points heading into the 28th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion at Automobile Club of Southern California.

1) Mendy Fry – 565
2) Adam Sorokin – 438
3) Jim Murphy – 315
4) Tyler Hilton – 260
5) Bret Williamson – 227
6) Phil Ruskowski – 176
7) Tim Cullinan – 107
8) Jim Young – 97
9) Rick White – 78
10) Pete Wittenberg – 67
11) Brendan Murry – 62
12) Rick McGee – 54
13) Joey Haas – 53
14) Julius Hughes – 51
15) Gerald Hangey – 10
15) Roger Lechtenberg – 10
15) Paul Schultz – 10

NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL SCHEDULE (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

Friday, October 25th
Qualifying Session 1: 4 PM

Saturday, October 26th
Qualifying Session 2: 12 Noon
Qualifying Session 3: 4 PM
Cacklefest: 6 PM

Sunday, October 27th
National Anthem and Ceremonies: 10:45 AM
Eliminations: 11:30 AM
Final: 4 PM

ADAM SOROKIN WINS SECOND MARCH MEET IN CHAMPION SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET

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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.

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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.

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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.”

Head over to Auto Club Famoso Raceway for a complete rundown of official results and archived video coverage of the entire 61st Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet.

All photos Dave Kommel ©Dave Kommel Photography

Click here to download and view official results from the 61st Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet

TOP FUEL TITANS SET TO TEAR IT UP AT THE MARCH MEET

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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”.

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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.

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HERITAGE SERIES TOP FUEL STORMS NHRA VEGAS STAGE

Las Vegas, Nevada – The All-American Fuel Dragsters coalition has dispatched a quartet of 260-mph front-engine Nostalgia Top Fuel ambassadors to the NHRA Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway October 25th-28th. Four teams spanning three generations of AA/Fuel drag racing are slated to run three special exhibition sessions and bring the fans a taste of Top Fuel, NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series-style.

At Vegas, Adam Sorokin will drive the Champion Speed Shop small-block Chevrolet powered AA/Fuel dragster, Bret Williamson will strap into the Mike Fuller Motorsports Forever Young Hemi, and young Tyler Hilton — backed by his father Robert Hilton and grandmother Alison Lee — will pilot the big-block Chevrolet powered Great Expectations III machine. California Hot Rod Reunion winner and 2018 NHRA Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel champion Mendy Fry will drive the Tom Shelar-tuned High Speed Motorsports Hemi-powered juggernaut.

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To the uninitiated, what makes this class unique is not just the bravado of the drivers sitting behind 3500-horsepower blown-on-nitro motors during fierce, spectacular competition (as showcased at NHRA Hot Rod Reunions), but also its connection to NHRA’s heritage. 2nd-generation driver Adam Sorokin’s father Mike Sorokin was the “shoe” of the legendary “Surfers” Top Fuel car in the 1960s. Williamson’s father Don Williamson was a first-wave Funny Car racer with his “Hairy Canary” Valiant. Mendy grew up in her dad Ron Fry’s NorCal-based chassis shop, and Jim & Allison Lee’s campaigned their first “Great Expectations” AA/Fuel Dragster in 1965.

Because of these competitors connection to the sport’s past as well as its commitment to the sport’s future, AAFD President and Champion Speed Shop owner Bob McLennan has spearheaded the effort to bring Top Fuel drag racing heritage to Las Vegas. “The All-American Fuel Dragsters association has been making great strides with our Nostalgia Top Fuel class in 2018. We’re honored to run AA/Fuel dragsters at an NHRA national series event and hope the fans enjoy some front-engine Top Fuel from the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series.”

Nostalgia Top Fuel is currently scheduled to run following Friday’s 12:30 PM Funny Car and Top Fuel Q-1 session, Saturday’s 12:30 PM Top Fuel and Funny Car Q-2 session, and preceding the Parade of Champions and Finals on Sunday. As always, the schedule subject to change. Tune into the NHRA Toyota Nationals on FOX or NHRA All Access for Mello Yello Racing Series competition and the unique appearance of Nostalgia Top Fuel from the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series.

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