WITTENBERG TAKES TOP FUEL AT MARCH MEET

Pete Wittenberg won his second March Meet championship with a 5.67-second 257 MPH blast in the KMA Circuit Breaker against Tyler Hilton, who turned a 5.92 ET at 229 MPH in the Great Expectations III for Runner-Up. Wittenberg held the #1 qualifying spot all weekend, posted event Low ET with a 5.60-second 254 MPH second session qualifying run, and powered the KMA Circuit Breaker into the winner’s circle for the second time since his 2018 win against Mendy Fry. “This one was way more emotional,” said Wittenberg. “The final was a solid race. It was great racing and weather all weekend.” Jimi Young brought his tuning experience to the Circuit Breaker team at Famoso, and the hemi-powered fueler was on full power out of the box.

Pete Wittenberg in the KMA Circuit Breaker
Tyler Hilton wheels up in the Great Expectations III

Tyler Hilton drove the big-block Chevrolet powered Great Expectations III into the decider with three generations of family drag racing heritage. His historic Runner-Up marked over 50 years since the Hilton&Lee Great Expectations I raced the March Meet in 1967. Hilton clocked a best ever 5.78 ET at 236 MPH in the last session qualifying that took out the engine and the time was disqualified. The team dropped in the reserve Rodek on Saturday night and powered through the pack. Hilton got the reaction time advantage, but hemi power prevailed over the Chevy. “It was good,” said Hilton. “I left on Pete. We had to put our spare in it last night, and it isn’t totally the same. But it was a great weekend. Running that ‘.78 was bitchin.”

MARCH MEET TOP FUEL QUALIFYING ACTION

The Top Fuel fight at Famoso kicked off with a Thursday night Nitro Testing session and Friday qualifying. Pete Wittenberg grabbed Low ET with a 5.73-second 234 MPH run. Bryan Hall clocked the “H&H Nomad” into close #2 with a 5.76 ET at 239 MPH. Rick White fouled out with an oildown that kicked out the rods and knocked the Autopower Neil & White hemi out of the running. The dirty dozen dropped down to eleven. Check out the video for all the Session One Qualifying action.

Full Session One Top Fuel qualifying action from CompetitionPlusTV. Tune in and turn it up!

Jim Murphy launched the “WW2” into the #2 slot with a 5.63-second 252 MPH run in the final qualifying session. Frank McBee Jr., Brendan Murry, and Adam Sorokin were out of the running heading into Top Fuel Eliminator. Sorokin lost traction at the hit in the last session as shaking the gremlins out of the all-new Champion Speed Shop dragster at the March Meet proved unsuccessful. Dusty Green and the “Triple Threat” bowed out broken heading into Top Fuel Eliminator, and Brendan Murry rolled the “Running Wild” into the lanes back in the #8 slot.

TOP FUEL FINAL AND QUALIFYING BY-THE-NUMBERS

The March Meet Top Fuel Final and more video action including Jim Murphy’s 5.63-second 252 MPH blast into the #2 slot.
  1. Pete Wittenberg 5.60, 254
  2. Jim Murphy 5.63, 252
  3. Bryan Hall 5.75, 263
  4. Bret Williamson 5.76, 253
  5. Dan Horan Jr. 5.79, 248
  6. Tyler Hester 5.84, 221
  7. Tyler Hilton 5.85, 233
  8. Dusty Green 5.90, 211

TOP FUEL ELIMINATOR

Eliminations kicked off as Wittenberg dispatched a tire-shaking Murray with a 5.68 ET at 247 MPH. Tyler Hilton got the holeshot and pedaled the Great Expectations III out the back door with a 6.08-second 227 MPH win over Jim Murphy’s 6.02 ET at 180 MPH in the WW2. Hilton’s margin of victory was 1/100th of second. Rookie driver Tyler Hester moved on in the Overtime Special with 5.89-second 212 MPH win after the Bryan Hall popped the blower for a 6.70 ET at 143 MPH in the H&H Nomad. Dan Horan Jr. won it with a 5.79-second 234 MPH charge around Bret Williamson, who posted a 5.90 ET at 241 MPH in the Forever Young.

SEMI-FINAL SHAKEOUT

Wittenberg got out and stayed out with a 5.66-second 250 MPH win over Horan’s 5.80 ET at 250 MPH. Hilton moved onto the decider with a 5.95-second 210 MPH win in a close fight with Hester, who turned a 6.00 ET at 199 MPH in his first time racing at the March Meet. The Semi-Final shakeout set the stage for the hemi vs. Chevy final round battle at Famoso. Pete Wittenberg and the hemi-powered KMA Circuit Breaker took home the trophy.

The 62nd Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet was the opening salvo in the 2020 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing series. The next stop for the All American Fuel Dragsters is the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion June 18th-20th at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Be there!

All photography ©Dave Kommel

TOP FUEL BY THE DOZEN AT BAKERSFIELD

Twelve AA/Fuel contenders are staged in for a Top Fuel dragster battle of the ages at the 62nd Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet. Veteran drivers in all-new cars and rookie hot shoes in proven performers will face off for the title as three generations of drag racers converge at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. The historic event is the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series season opener and the first of five races in the runup for the 2020 Nostalgia Top Fuel championship title.

©Dave Kommel Photography

Last year’s March Meet champion Adam Sorokin will suit up and close the canopy on the latest evolution of the Champion Speed Shop AA/Fueler. The all-new dragster brings South San Francisco hot rod heritage to the ‘patch with its handcrafted aluminum bodywork by Roy Brizio Street Rods and fearsome McLennan small-block Chevrolet power. Two-time March Meet champ Rick McGee is passing on the nitro knowledge to his nephew Tyler Hester, who will drive the Tedford & McGee “Overtime Special” in his first March Meet competition.

Tyler Hilton and the big block Chevrolet powered “Great Expectations III” are heading to the March Meet for the first time since his grandparents Jim and Alison Lee campaigned the original “Great Expectations I” in 1967. Tyler’s Dad and Crew Chief Robert Hilton, along with tuning ace Grandmother Alison Lee, will represent three generations of Top Fuel family heritage at Bakersfield. After a Funny Car tumble at the Winternationals, Dan Horan Jr. is rolling in with the Pete Kaiser-tuned dragster tribute to his late father, the legendary driver “Digger” Dan Horan Sr.

Jim Murphy will gun for a record 5th March Meet victory in his “WW2”, and 2018 March Meet winner Pete Wittenberg is making the connection in the “KMA Circuit Breaker.” Brendan Murry will put the whip to his “Running Wild” 426 hemi and 2011 March Meet champ Rick White will fire up the Neal & White “Autopower” entry. Dusty Green is bringing it back in threes with his “Triple Threat” hemi, and Bret Williamson will pilot the Mike Fuller Motorsports “Forever Young” fueler.

Bryan Hall put the finishing touches on the H&H Nomad hemi, and Frank McBee Jr. is back in the Valley Thunder Racing fueler. Both racers launched their new cars into the mix at the California Hot Rod Reunion last fall and are ready to put up a new year’s fight. 2018 and 2019 season champion Mendy Fry and the High Speed Motorsports team are out of the running for now, with no plan for a return at this time.

The March Meet Top Fuel battle kicks off with a Nitro Testing Session Thursday at 3 PM. Qualifying Session One is currently scheduled for Friday at 3 PM. Session Two hits at high noon on Saturday with Session Three at 3 PM. Eliminations are set for Sunday following 11 AM opening ceremonies. Head over to the Auto Club Famoso Raceway for the latest March Meet information. Schedule subject to change.

NEXT STOP MARCH MEET: HERITAGE SERIES OUT OF TIME AT WINTERNATIONALS

The All American Fuel Dragsters were in the house for the 60th Annual Lucas Winternationals, but couldn’t beat the odds of time. The NHRA invited select Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Pro Stock, Top Fuel, and Funny Car racers to help celebrate sixty years of Winternationals history, but a series of unforeseen events ran out the clock on scheduled Friday and Saturday exhibition sessions. Two pairs of front-engine fuelers got down the track Friday night, and race control scrubbed all Saturday Heritage Series runs.

Nostalgia nitro action kicked off on Friday with a Funny Car matchup between Dan Horan Jr. and Justin Taylor. Horan took the round with a 5.65 ET at 262 MPH, but his parachute failed to deploy. Horan grabbed the brakes, bounced into the sand traps, and stopped upside down in the nets. The seasoned Funny Car and Top Fuel dragster driver emerged A-OK, but the cleanup pushed the clock too far forward. Race control turned the waiting Nostalgia Funny Cars and Top Fuelers back to the pits and postponed further race action until after Top Alcohol qualifying sessions at the end of the day.

Mendy Fry and Tyler Hilton rolled their AA/Fuelers onto a cold track as the sun slipped behind the horizon. Fry ran a 5.75 ET at 197 MPH in the High Speed Motorsports hemi, and Hilton belted out a 5.97-second 226 MPH blast in the big-block Chevrolet-powered Great Expectations III. Adam Sorokin cackled out in the all-new Champion Speed Shop dragster with Rick White in the other lane. Sorokin clicked the small-block Chevrolet at half-track for a 6.31 ET at 179 MPH, and Rick White churned out a 6.30 ET at 173 MPH in the Neil & White dragster with an oildown that spelled the end of Friday night nitro under the lights.

Nostalgia Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock were in the lanes waiting for their Saturday sessions when a series of unforeseen oildowns, mishaps, and delays pushed the clock past the limit. Race control canceled all Heritage Series exhibition runs due to time constraints as the big show rolled on. The decision was disappointing for the invited Heritage Series racers and fans but not entirely unexpected, given the unyielding live television broadcast schedule of Winterationals Mello Yello Drag Racing Series action.

The weekend moved two-time Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Champion Mendy Fry, whose Friday night run might have been the last for her and the High-Speed Motorsports team. “We may bring the car out again, but there isn’t anything on our schedule at the moment,” said Fry. Adam Sorokin faced a different kind of uncertainty as he drove the untested Champion Speed Shop dragster to half-track on its inaugural run, and the two-time March Meet winning driver is looking forward to Famoso. “I want to see what it does on a full pass,” said Sorokin.

The next stop for the All-American Fuel Dragster coalition is the 62nd Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet presented by Lucas Oil – March 5th-8th at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. The famous fight at Famoso is the first of five NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship races. Head over to Famoso Raceway for March Meet information.

All roads lead to the 62nd Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.

All images are screen grabs from the NHRA.tv live stream of the 60th Annual Lucas Oil Internationals.

TRADITIONAL TOP FUEL TO THUNDER AT 60TH WINTERNATIONALS

Eight Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel dragsters are set to celebrate three generations of nitro-fueled drag racing history at the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. These traditional AA/Fuelers will once again run the Pomona Fairplex quarter-mile 50 years after Larry Dixon Sr. triumphed in anger as the last front-engined dragster to win Top Fuel at the Winternationals. The vintage-style Top Fuel dragsters will join Nostalgia Funny Cars and throwback Pro Stockers for multiple exhibition sessions and a “Parade of Champions” at the home of NHRA drag racing.

Two-time Heritage Series champion and second-generation racer Mendy Fry will drive the High Speed Motorsports dragster for what could be her curtain call following the tragic loss of Crew Chief Tom Shelar last year. Driver Adam Sorokin and Crew Chief Bob McLennan will honor their paternal racing heritage with the small-block Chevrolet powered Champion Speed Shop dragster. Adam’s father Mike Sorokin drove the Surfer’s front-engine fueler, and Bob’s dad Jim McLennan founded the Champion Speed Shop. Family traditionalist Tyler Hilton will thunder down the 1320 in the big-block Chevy-powered “Great Expectations III,” backed up by his father Bobby Hilton and grandmother Allison Lee

Dan Horan, Jr. will strap into the Pete “Fritz” Kaiser-tuned 426-c.i. Hemi-powered dragster in tribute to his departed father, “Digger” Dan Horan Sr., and then hop into his fearsome Funny Car for double doses of nitro action. Veteran driver Jim Murphy will carry four March Meet victories worth of savvy down the track in the “WW2” dragster, and Bret Williamson will pilot the Mike Fuller Motorsports “Forever Young” into the future. Rick White and the Neal & White Racing team are heading north from the San Diego area, and Brendan Murry will leave the prestigious Murry Building in San Jose with his “Running Wild” 426 hemi-powered fueler.

Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel is currently scheduled for two exhibition sessions following NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel and Funny Car Qualifying Q1 on Friday and Q3 on Saturday. The quickest two cars from these sessions are slated for a retro rematch following Q4 on Saturday. Head over to the NHRA for the latest event schedule and information. The 60th Annual Winternationals will air on FOX Sports television and stream live on the internet at NHRA ALL ACCESS.

Nostalgia Top Fuel at the 60th Winternationals heralds the 2020 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series racing season that officially kicks off at the Good Vibrations March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California March 5th-8th. Check out the five-race Nostalgia Top Fuel championship racing schedule here or head over to the the official NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series website for an all-classes 2020 event rundown.

UPDATES: 28th California Hot Rod Reunion

WINNER: MENDY FRY

MENDY FRY WINS SECOND CONSECUTIVE CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION

Mendy Fry is the 28th California Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel Champion. Fry drove the High Speed Motorsports dragster to victory with a 5.52 ET at 264 MPH after runner-up Pete Wittenberg red-lighted in his Circuit Breaker machine, disqualifying a 5.64 ET at 248 MPH. Fry arrived at Auto Club Famoso Raceway with her second Heritage Series Top Fuel Season Championship already clinched and won the race for the second year running.

“The final was nuts,” Fry said. “I thought I lost on a holeshot. I was beyond shocked and amazed that I did that. I walked off in the field at the top end because I couldn’t bear facing the team having let them down in that way. Then I found out Wittenberg red-lighted, and I screamed with joy like a little girl. I am so proud of Sean Bellemeur and the team for digging deep and making this win happen.”

Fry’s fifth consecutive Heritage Series event win was an emotional moment for the entire team as they triumphed in honor of High Speed Motorsports team founder and crew chief Tom Shelar, who died unexpectedly in August.

Fry set Low ET in Round One Eliminations with a 5.522-second win against Dan Horan Jr., who was behind the wheel of an all-new dragster built as a tribute to his departed father, Top Fuel driver “Digger” Dan Horan, Sr. Fry also clocked event Top Speed with her 5.526-second 264 MPH Final Round win to conclude the 2019 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel racing season.

Head over to the official All American Fuel Dragsters website for a round-by-round Top Fuel rundown with results, photos, videos, and more from the 28th California Hot Rod Reunion. The 2020 Heritage Series racing season begins at the famous Bakersfield March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway March 5th-7th.

“The final was nuts,” Fry said. “I thought I lost on a holeshot. I was beyond shocked and amazed that I did that. I walked off in the field at the top end because I couldn’t bear facing the team having let them down in that way. Then I found out Wittenberg red-lighted, and I screamed with joy like a little girl. I am so proud of Sean Bellemeur and the team for digging deep and making this win happen.”

– Mendy Fry

TOP FUEL updates, video, and more as it happened from the 28th Califiornia Hot Rod Reunion at Autoclub Famoso Raceway. Scroll down for Round-By-Round action and video coverage from all three days of NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series drag racing action.

TOP FUEL SEMI-FINAL ROUNDUP

MENDY FRY VS. PETE WITTENBERG IN THE FINAL. Bret Williamson got the holeshot in the “Forever Young” but Mendy Fry drove the High Speed Motorsports juggernaut around for a 5.69-second 204 MPH win. Pete Wittenberg clicked the “Circuit Breaker” for the win with a 5.78 ET at 214 MPH after Rick McGee clocked out early and lit up the red light in the “Overtime Special.”

TOP FUEL SEMI-FINAL RESULTS
DRIVER - ET - MPH
Mendy Fry - 5.69 - 204
Bret Williamson - 5.84 - 200
---------------------------------------
Pete Wittenberg - 5.78 - 214
Rick McGee - 7.90 - 94

ROUND ONE TOP FUEL ROUNDUP!

Mendy Fry reset Low ET and Top Speed with a 5.52-second 256 MPH win after Dan Horan Jr. red-lit. Pete Wittenberg took the win with a 5.71 ET at 246 MPH over Frank McBee Jr., who shut ‘er down for a 7.31 ET. Rick McGee blazed on with a 6.14 ET at 188 MPH as Jim Murphy struck the tires and coasted through. Bret Williamson lit up the win light with a 5.89 ET at 229 MPH over a trailing Rick White.

SEMI-FINAL ELIMINATIONS PAIRINGS: Mendy Fry vs. Bret Williamson and Pete Wittenberg vs. Rick McGee.

ROUND ONE ELIMINATIONS: 
DRIVER - ET - MPH
Mendy Fry 5.52 - 256
Dan Horan Jr. - 5.80 -252
---------------------------------------
Bret Williamson - 5.89 - 229
Rick White - 6.52 - 200
---------------------------------------
Pete Wittenberg - 5.71-246
Frank McBee Jr. - 7.31-131
---------------------------------------
Rick McGee - 6.14 - 188
Jim Murphy - 11.49 - 78

LIVE video Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!

Tune in to LIVE video of the 28th California Hot Rod Reunion. Round One Eliminations scheduled for 11:30 AM PST following opening ceremonies. PAIRINGS: Mendy Fry vs. Dan Horan Jr., Pete Wittenberg vs. Frank McBee Jr., Jim Murphy vs. Rick McGee, and Rick White vs. Bret Williamson.

Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY from the 28th California Hot Rod Reunion.

Saturday Session Three Qualifying

Mendy Fry holds onto #1 and Low ET with her 5.59-second Q1 run. Pete Wittenberg grabbed Top Speed and #2 with a 5.69-second 252 MPH blast. Rick McGee moved up to sixth with a 5.89. Frank McBee Jr. posted a 5.90 and bumped Tyler Hilton, who clocked a 5.98 that pushed Adam Sorokin out of the show. Top Fuel Eliminations commence at 11:30 AM SUNDAY.

Final Nostalgia Top Fuel qualifying order from the 28th California Hot Rod Reunion.

SESSION THREE RUN-BY-RUN:  Mendy Fry turned it off for a 5.70, Rick White ran a 5.81, Dan Horan Jr. ran a 5.94, Bret Williamson motored to a 5.99, Bryan Hall took a few hundredths out with a 6.13, Jim Murphy clicked off a 6.17, Adam Sorokin shut it down for a 6.23, Brendan Murry smoked a 6.85, Dusty Green skated to a 7.44, and Phil Ruskowski held in the pits.

Saturday Session Two Qualifying

Nostalgia Top Fuel Qualifying after Session Two from the 28th California Hot Rod Reunion

Bret Willamson and Adam Sorokin stepped up big and shut down early. Bryan Hall, Dusty Green, and Frank McBee ran their new rides quicker. Phil Ruskowski turned a 6.47 ET at 218 MPH and smoked his small block Chevy. Dan Horan Jr. and Brendan Murry go slightly slower with a 6.09 ET and 6.82 ET respectively. Rick McGee exhausted his hemi for a 7.03 ET and Pete Wittenburg pedaled to a 9.20 ET. Rick White hazed the tires and pedaled out with a 7.69 ET at 221 MPH. Jim Murphy, Mendy Fry, and Tyler Hilton all lost traction and coasted through with 11-second runs.

LIVE Saturday Video Streaming

Free streaming video coverage from the California Hot Road Reunion. Session Two Qualifying 12 PM. Session Three at 4 PM.

Recorded LIVE Saturday video streaming of the 28th California Hot Rod Reunion

Friday Session One Top Fuel Qualifying Results

Friday Nostalgia Top Fuel Qualifying is a wrap. Mendy Fry took Low ET with a 5.59-second 237 MPH blast. Jim Murphy ran a 5.37 ET at 247 MPH for #2 and Top Speed.

Unofficial Session One Nostalgia Top Fuel Session One Qualifying Results from the 28th California Hot Rod Reunion at Autoclub Famoso Raceway.

RUN-BY-RUN: Fourteen contenders battled for 8-car Elimnations including four all-new dragsters. Dan Horan turned a stout 5.98 ET at 234 MPH in the 426 hemi-powered tribute to his late father “Digger” Dan Horan. Rick McGee got out of the “Overtime Special” with a 6.10 ET at 194 MPH. Pete Wittenberg clocked a 5.92 ET at 244 MPH in the “KMA Circuit Breaker.” Bret Williamson smoked ’em in the “Forever Young” and coasted to a 10.76 ET. Brendan Murry puffed through the lights with a 6.62 ET at 147 MPH in the “Running Wild.” Bryan Hall directed the “Nomad” to a 6.41 ET at 201 MPH in his competition debut. Tyler Hilton backed down the big-block Chevrolet on the top end and posted a 6.28 ET at 186 MPH in the “Great Expectations III.” Rick White churned out a solid 5.79-second 230 MPH run in the Neil and White fueler. Phil Ruskowski pushed the small block Chevrolet “Xhibitionist” to a 6.88 ET at 185 MPH. Dusty Green and three backup representatives introduced the new “Triple Threat” with a 6.73 ET at 147 MPH. Frank McBee made a 6.98-second 129 MPH introduction in the new Thunder Valley Racing dragster and Adam Sorokin clicked the Champion Speed Shop special for a 6.31 ET at 165 MPH.

FRIDAY video recorded LIVE at the California Hot Rod Reunion

Check out the opening day of the 28th California Hot Rod Reunion at Autoclub Famoso Raceway