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.
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.
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
- Pete Wittenberg 5.60, 254
- Jim Murphy 5.63, 252
- Bryan Hall 5.75, 263
- Bret Williamson 5.76, 253
- Dan Horan Jr. 5.79, 248
- Tyler Hester 5.84, 221
- Tyler Hilton 5.85, 233
- 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.
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