Late Saturday night at Spokane County Raceway, Mendy Fry won her third consecutive Heritage Series Top Fuel race. Fry charged hard out of the gate in the High Speed Motorsports dragster and posted a 5.79 ET at 241 MPH for the win against Bret Williamson, who took Runner-Up with a 6.72 ET at 172 MPH in the Mike Fuller Motorsports “Forever Young.” Fry pedaled through 3500-horsepower induced tire shake in every round at the Coors Light Nitro Summer Nationals and her midnight victory capped two days of supercharged-on-nitro drag racing action. With a commanding and near insurmountable lead in the season’s points battle, Fry and the High-Speed team are bringing their triple threat to the fifth battle in the 6-race in NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series at Tulsa Raceway Park.
The Nitro Summer Nationals ran over two days, with one session on Friday night and two sessions on Saturday ahead of Top Fuel Eliminator. Mendy Fry set Low ET in Q1 with a 5.68, but it was anybody’s race after Q3. Pete Wittenberg belted out a 5.70 ET at 245 MPH in the Circuit Breaker in Q2. Tyler Hilton drove the Great Expectations big block Chevrolet into the low sixes and matched Wittenberg’s 245 MPH Top Speed in Q3. Adam Sorokin extracted low six-second passes out of the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet and Bret Williamson capped Q3 with a 5.91-second assault in the Forever Young hemi. Jim Murphy overcame two rounds of traction issues with a 6.14 ET in Q3, and Phil Ruskowski held onto his 7.14-second Q2 run in the Xibitionist small block Chevrolet.
NITRO SUMMER NATIONALS QUALIFYING ORDER
TOP FUEL ELIMINATOR
Eliminations opened into the sunset as Phil Ruskowski moved into the semis with a 7.26 ET after Pete Wittenberg’s 7.19 ET was disqualified over a clipped cone. Adam Sorokin took the win with a 6-second flat 196 MPH holeshot over Tyler Hilton, who set low ET and Top Speed for the round with a 5.93 ET at 244 MPH in the big block Chevrolet “Great Expectations III.” Bret Williamson moved the “Forever Young” into the Semi-Final with a 5.94 241 MPH over Murphy’s 6.00-second flat 203 MPH run in the “WW2”. Mendy Fry shut down the High-Speed Motorsports dragster for a 7.21 at 117.66 MPH on a bye run single.
Mendy Fry opened the Semi-Final with a tire-shaking’ 6.54-second 149 MPH win over Adam Sorokin, who red-lit in the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevy and coasted through the traps. Bret Williamson lit up the night sky in the ‘Forever Young’ and moved onto the final with a 6.36-second 158 MPH run against Phil Ruskowski and his Xibitionist small block Chevy. The High-Speed and Mike Fuller Motorsports teams emerged from an epic pit thrash as Saturday turned to Sunday and concluded the event with a midnight race under the lights at Spokane County Raceway.
After three wins in three races the Mendy Fry High Speed Motorsports team matchup seems unstoppable but it hardly happened overnight. Fry credits the team for their nitro-huffing AA/Fuel dragster entry’s success due to their meticulous attention to detail, and crew chief Tom Shelar is quick to point out Fry’s skill, experience, and determination in the driver’s seat. “She learned how to pedal it through tire shake back when she got her Top Fuel license (in 2003) with ‘Root Beer’ Hedge. They would match race in all kinds of tough conditions all across the country. He taught her that you have to get to the finish line, no matter what.”
“She learned how to pedal it through tire shake back when she got her Top Fuel license (in 2003) with ‘Root Beer’ Hedge. They would match race in all kinds of tough conditions all across the country. He taught her that you have to get to the finish line, no matter what.”
Next stop for the All-American Fuel Dragsters coalition is the Nitro Nationals, September 21st and 22nd at Tulsa Raceway Park.
BAKERSFIELD, 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.
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.
Number 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.
Pete Wittenberg took the Top Fuel win over Mendy Fry at the 60th March Meet in a dramatic conclusion to a manic March Meet weekend at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. The Top Fuel Final ran into a dark and cold Sunday night after incessant rain torpedoed Saturday racing action. Wittenberg struck the tires and pedaled the KMA Circuit Breaker out of the gate as Mendy Fry charged ahead, but Fry clipped a half-track cone driving through tire shake and darkness in the High-Speed dragster for a centerline disqualification.
Front-engine Top Fuel dragster competition ramped up at the 2018 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet with nitro testing on Thursday and kicked off officially with Friday Qualifying. Rain prevented two scheduled Saturday Top Fuel qualifying sessions from running and left the All-American Fuel Dragster Dirty Dozen with a single qualifying session instead of three. After calling it due to rain on Saturday afternoon, officials made the decision to run 8-car Top Fuel Eliminations on Sunday based on Friday qualifying session order. With last minute hopes of running 12-car Eliminations dashed, four weather-beaten racers towed back home.
Runner-up Mendy Fry was on track to the Top Fuel Final rain or shine at the 60th March Meet. Fry took #1 Qualifier with a 5.73 ET at 219 MPH blast. She then set Top Speed in a Round One Eliminations with a 5.96 ET at 261 MPH win over Adam Sorokin and the Champion Speed Shop, and set low ET in the Semi-Final round with a 5.60 ET at 250 MPH victory against Jim Murphy after he lost traction in the WW2 out of the gate. Murphy grabbed a Round One Eliminations win with a 5.84 ET at 231 against Rick White who ran a 6.22 ET at 242 MPH in the Neal and White AA/Fuel dragster.Pete Wittenberg held the #3 Qualifying spot going into Sunday Eliminations and advanced to the Semi-Finals with a 5.84 ET at 221 MPH win over Brendan Murry. Bret Williamson drove the Forever Young dragster on fire past the stripe for a dramatic 5.79 ET at 212 MPH win against Dan Horan Jr. that set Williams and Wittenberg up for a Semi-Final battle. Wittenberg moved on to the Final with a 5.83 ET at 219 MPH against Williamson who ran a 5.94 ET at 238 MPH. Pete Wittenberg went from getting his Top Fuel license and going a single round the 59th March Meet to the Top Fuel final at the 60th March Meet.The Final round paired up Mendy Fry in the High-Speed Motorsports dragster and Wittenberg in the Jimi Young-tuned KMA Circuit Breaker. Darkness fell as did the temperature before the finalists hit their burnouts and staged in for the Top Fuel decider at the 60th March Meet. Wittenberg lost traction off the line and pedaled the KMA Circuit Breaker in an attempt get 3000-plus horsepower back down to the ground. Mendy Fry pulled away for the lead unaware of Wittenberg’s situation but encountered tire shake in the dark and clipped the half-track cone for a disqualification.Pete Wittenberg ran the gamut of emotions in the cockpit. “I hit the throttle, and the car went up in smoke. I pedaled it. I rolled back into it. I saw her way out there, and I lifted and thought ‘that was fun, we’re out,’ then I saw here come over into my lane a little bit, and there was a role reversal in my head”. Wittenberg took the 60th March Meet Top Fuel trophy home just a short year after first strapping into the KMA Circuit breaker as a licensed Top Fuel racer. Drag racing, as Jungle Jim Lieberman famously said, is far out.
Proving that print’s not dead, the Media Department of the All-American Fuel Dragsters have just published their 2015 Top Fuel Digest. This magazine features explosive coverage of the Bakersfield March Meet, the Nightfire Nationals, Bowling Green and more. Follow the exploits of Tony Bartone, Adam Sorokin, Bill Dunlap and the rest of the fearless fueler heroes as they made 2015 a year to remember. 36 pages of spectacular photography and razor-sharp race reporting. Edited by Cole Coonce. Cover photo by Ted Soqui. Available now at MagCloud.com …