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
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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
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Bret Williamson - 5.89 - 229
Rick White - 6.52 - 200
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Pete Wittenberg - 5.71-246
Frank McBee Jr. - 7.31-131
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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

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

MENDY FRY WINS REUNION FOR THREE-PEAT AND NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY

CHRR18-6BAKERSFIELD, 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.

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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.

CHRR18-10Number 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.

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Photos Arlene Eliason and High-Speed Motorsports

TOP FUEL FRENZY AT FAMOSO FOR CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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