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.

┬ęDave 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.

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