HERITAGE SERIES TOP FUEL STORMS NHRA VEGAS STAGE

Las Vegas, Nevada – The All-American Fuel Dragsters coalition has dispatched a quartet of 260-mph front-engine Nostalgia Top Fuel ambassadors to the NHRA Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway October 25th-28th. Four teams spanning three generations of AA/Fuel drag racing are slated to run three special exhibition sessions and bring the fans a taste of Top Fuel, NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series-style.

At Vegas, Adam Sorokin will drive the Champion Speed Shop small-block Chevrolet powered AA/Fuel dragster, Bret Williamson will strap into the Mike Fuller Motorsports Forever Young Hemi, and young Tyler Hilton — backed by his father Robert Hilton and grandmother Alison Lee — will pilot the big-block Chevrolet powered Great Expectations III machine. California Hot Rod Reunion winner and 2018 NHRA Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel champion Mendy Fry will drive the Tom Shelar-tuned High Speed Motorsports Hemi-powered juggernaut.

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To the uninitiated, what makes this class unique is not just the bravado of the drivers sitting behind 3500-horsepower blown-on-nitro motors during fierce, spectacular competition (as showcased at NHRA Hot Rod Reunions), but also its connection to NHRA’s heritage. 2nd-generation driver Adam Sorokin’s father Mike Sorokin was the “shoe” of the legendary “Surfers” Top Fuel car in the 1960s. Williamson’s father Don Williamson was a first-wave Funny Car racer with his “Hairy Canary” Valiant. Mendy grew up in her dad Ron Fry’s NorCal-based chassis shop, and Jim & Allison Lee’s campaigned their first “Great Expectations” AA/Fuel Dragster in 1965.

Because of these competitors connection to the sport’s past as well as its commitment to the sport’s future, AAFD President and Champion Speed Shop owner Bob McLennan has spearheaded the effort to bring Top Fuel drag racing heritage to Las Vegas. “The All-American Fuel Dragsters association has been making great strides with our Nostalgia Top Fuel class in 2018. We’re honored to run AA/Fuel dragsters at an NHRA national series event and hope the fans enjoy some front-engine Top Fuel from the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series.”

Nostalgia Top Fuel is currently scheduled to run following Friday’s 12:30 PM Funny Car and Top Fuel Q-1 session, Saturday’s 12:30 PM Top Fuel and Funny Car Q-2 session, and preceding the Parade of Champions and Finals on Sunday. As always, the schedule subject to change. Tune into the NHRA Toyota Nationals on FOX or NHRA All Access for Mello Yello Racing Series competition and the unique appearance of Nostalgia Top Fuel from the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series.

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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

MENDY FRY WINS TOP FUEL BATTLE AT BOWLING GREEN

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Mendy Fry drove the High-Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel dragster to victory over Jim Young and the Young Guns in a fierce Top Fuel final at the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Mendy Fry took the Top Fuel win in the High-Speed Motorsports dragster at the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion with a 5.72 ET at 252 MPH over Jim Young, who ran a 5.84 ET at 256 MPH. The final round was a dramatic conclusion to three days of sweltering racing action as front-engine Top Fuel contenders fought for a slot in eight car eliminations. Fry and Young tossed the lead back and forth until everything changed at half track. “He left on me with a .78 light to a .134 light. The lead changed a few times. The incrementals were pretty close until about half track and then I didn’t see him until I pulled the chutes!”

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Mendy Fry and Jim Young in Qualifying at the 2018 Holley National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Runner-up Jim Young took the Young Guns dragster from the number two qualifying slot into the decider and posted event Top Speed even after getting out of the groove and drifting towards the wall before crossing the stripe at 256 MPH. “It got away from me a little bit”, said the Wisconsin-based contender, who didn’t make the decision to head out to Bowling Green until the Sunday before the race. Young also grabbed Top Speed in qualifying with a 254 MPH blast and has his eyes on pushing the Young Guns dragster to 270 MPH.

bowling-green-fuel-23Mendy Fry credited her victory to Crew Chief Tom Shelar and the High-Speed Motorsports dragster team for taming often unpredictable nitromethane with race-winning consistency from number one qualifier to the winner’s circle. “It was a bracket car all weekend. He knows how to read this track. In this heat, the track is 150 degrees and it’s greasy. He gave me a car that could win.” Fry’s victory at Bowling Green puts her at number one in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Top Fuel points championship heading into race three of the 5-race series.

TOP FUEL ELIMINATIONS

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Top Fuel Eliminations kicked off on a 90-plus degree Saturday. Jim Young moved onto the semi-final with a 5.81 ET at 251 MPH over Jason Greenwood, who ran a 6.22 ET at 237 MPH. Mendy Fry took a first round win with a 5.68 ET at 243 MPH over Julius Hughes who got the hole shot with a .043 light and ran a 6.33 ET at 231 MPH after stepping up the Atlanta Speed Shop dragster all weekend. Turbo Tim Cullinan rapped the throttle and cackled the Irish Bomb down the track into the semi-final after a blower belt failure shut Dusty Green down and the Nitro-Hemi was backed out of the box after the burnout. Brendan Murry blasted his 426 hemi-powered Running Wild to a 6.00 at 200 MPH for the win over Adam Sorokin, who struck the tires and pedaled the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet in pursuit to a 6.39 ET at 221 MPH.

SEMI-FINAL RACING ACTION

Dusty Green’s gremlins ambled over to the Irish Bomb in the Top Fuel Semi-Final as Turbo Tim Cullinan was pushed back out of the box with a broken throttle cable and Mendy Fry took the round on a single with a 5.71 ET at 220 MPH. “That’s drag racing”, said Cullinan who qualified in fifth place with a 5.95 ET at 213 MPH. Brendan Murry left on Jim Young but lost traction after the Running Wild made too much power for the tires. “I ran out of track”, said the smiling San Jose, California based Top Fuel racer who was satisfied the Running Wild was back into the 5-second zone and his win against Adam Sorokin and the South San Francisco based Champion Speed Shop.

KENTUCKY FRIED TOP FUEL

bowling-green-fuel-31The Top Fuel fight on the way to the final was as hot as the weather and It was brutally hot at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Eleven Top Fuelers showed up to rumble, but only eight could battle for the title. Diamond Dave Miller ran a 6.14 ET at 166 MPH for the 9th position. Paul Schultz took the Spirit of Tulsa to a 6.54 ET at 194 MPH and tenth position. Tyler Hilton carried the Great Expectations III to a 7.50 ET at 213 MPH as the fearsome sounding big block Chevrolet overpowered the tires.

NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES RACING

Next stop for the All American Fuel Dragster coalition is the 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho August 9th-12th for the third race in the runup towards the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Nostalgia Top Fuel championship title.

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ORIGINAL TOP FUEL SET FOR BATTLE AT BOWLING GREEN

nhrr-top-fuel-14The All American Fuel Dragster coalition is tuned up for original Top Fuel action at the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky on June 14th-16th. A dozen dragster teams are motoring in from across the USA to battle in the second race of the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship and launch front-engine Top Fuel back into the future one 5-second 250 MPH nitro-burning 1/4-mile at a time.

West Coast racers are bringing their original Top Fuel California special blend to Bowling Green. March Meet runner-up Mendy Fry and the High-Speed Motorsports dragster, Dusty Green and the Nitro-Hemi, and Brendan Murry in his Running Wild digger make up the hemi-powered contingent while Adam Sorokin and the South San Francisco-based Champion Speed Shop stand ready to show the Chrysler crowd what their small-block Chevrolet special is capable of.nhrr-top-fuel-16

Ohio’s own Tyler Hilton will strap into the big block Chevrolet-powered Great Expectations III and “Turbo” Tim Cullinan is on the way from Illinois with his Irish Bomb AA/Fuel dragster decked out with a new body, period-perfect paint, and a late-model motor. Following some recent shakeout testing, Julius Hughes is heading in with a 426 Keith Black “elephant” in his Atlanta Speed Shop dragster. Paul Schultz is carrying the hemi-powered Spirit of Tulsa with him from Oklahoma and Wisconsin’s own Jason Greenwood is hoping for a fireball-free Beech Bend weekend. Rounding out the confirmed entries is veteran fuel racer “Diamond” Dave Miller, who will also pound the pavement with this early-model Donovan, and lastly “Mighty” Jim Young, who returns to competition for the first time since cleaning the California cars clocks with his conquest of all comers at last year’s Bakersfield Hot Rod Reunion.

After a rain-soaked March Meet weekend in Bakersfield, everyone is looking forward to torrid Top Fuel racing action and good times at the drags. “The National Hot Rod Reunion at Bowling Green is one of my personal favorites and it’s really fun to race in front of the very enthusiastic crowd that’s always there. I’m definitely looking forward to it. There will be some really strong cars out there”, said Adam Sorokin. Nitro-Hemi driver Dusty Green agrees. “No matter what we will make it a good time. Hopefully, the weather is nice and sweet tea cold”.nhrr-top-fuel-5

More Nitro
The AAFD front-engine Top Fuel dragster coalition will join forces with fire-breathing Fuel Altereds and nitro-huffing Funny Cars at Bowling Green because more nitromethane is better nitromethane. Header flames will burn on into Saturday night after racing action concludes with the nitro-fueled parade and presentation known as the Cacklefest.

Event Grand Marshall Larry Lombardo
Onetime NHRA Pro Stock world champion Larry Lombardo is the 2018 Grand Marshal for the 16th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance. Event honorees include Warhorse Funny Car builder-driver and Little Red Wagon wheelstander Jay Howell, Street Eliminator veteran Bo Laws, former Super Stock and current Nostalgia Pro Stock driver Ed Miller, repeat NHRA Division 3 champ Joe Williamson, and longtime tech director Greg Xakellis. The Honoree’s Reception happens Friday from 6-8 PM at the National Corvette Museum and will feature customs, hot rods, and select Cacklefest cars ready thunder out nitro-fueled history.

Event Schedule:
Holley National Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel action gets underway with session one qualifying on Thursday, June 14th at 3:00. Session two qualifying is scheduled for Friday, June 15th at high noon with session three and final qualifying slated for Friday at 3 PM. Eliminations commence on Saturday at 1 PM. As nitromethane is unpredictable at best the schedule subject to change.

Thursday, June 14th:
Qualifying Session One    3 PM

Friday, June 15th:
Qualifying Session Two    12 PM
Qualifying Final Session    3 PM

Saturday, June 16th:
Round One Eliminations     1 PM
Round Two Eliminations     3:30 PM

All-American Fuel Dragsters and AAFD Explained
If you’re asking yourself just what is the AAFD, then check out this video interview with All American Fuel Dragsters President Bob McLennan and Whit Bazemore from Dragstrip Rumble.

NHRA Hot Rod Heritage
The 16th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway Park is the second salvo in the 5-race battle for the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship. Head on over to www.nhrahotrodheritage.com for an upcoming race schedule, news, points, results, rules and more.

WITTENBERG VICTORIOUS AT MARCH MEET IN KMA CIRCUIT BREAKER

pete-wittenberg-launchPete 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.

fry-chargeRunner-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.white-murphyPete 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.horan-williamson-E1The 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.W03Pete 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.

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The 2018 Good Vibrations Motorsports 60th March Meet was the opening salvo in the 5-race NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Top Fuel Championship battle. Next up for the All-American Fuel Dragsters and legions of vintage drag racing fans is the 16th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky June 14-16, 2018.

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