NITRO NATIONALS AT TULSA RACEWAY PARK

WINNER: MENDY FRY AND HIGH SPEED MOTORSPORTS

Mendy Fry and Adam Sorokin in the 2019 Nitro Nationals Top Fuel Finals at Tulsa Raceway Park

Mendy Fry drove the High Speed Motorsports dragster into the night and won the Nitro Nationals Tulsa Raceway Park for the second time. Fry took the win with a 5.60-second 258 MPH blast over Runner Up Adam Sorokin, who posted a 5.98 ET at 186 MPH after the automatic shutoff malfunctioned and shut down the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet around the 800-foot mark. The Nitro Nationals was Fry’s fourth consecutive event victory and clinched her second NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship.

Onetime High Speed Motorsports driver-tuners Sean Bellemeur and Troy Green joined the crew and family in honor and triumph for Crew Chief Tom Shelar, who died unexpectedly before the race. Fry’s emotions ran strong from start to finish. “I started crying when I crossed the finish line, and it didn’t stop. Tom won this Championship in absentia. We all knew how to do our jobs. He taught us all very well and put together a Top Fuel dragster that’s an absolute bracket car. He assembled a team that works well together and empowered us to make the right decisions even without him here.”

Sorokin left on Fry with a .017 light and was on an all or nothing charge to the stripe when unseen forces snuffed out the supercharged-on-nitro small block Chevrolet at the 800-900 foot mark. Sorokin could only watch as Fry drove on for the win. “The Leahy device shot the cannon against the throttle, closed it, and shut the car off. I couldn’t push it back. I didn’t even see her until it started to happen and then she went through,” said Sorokin. Crew Chief Tony Bernardini noted the system triggered even though logs showed boost and oil pan pressure parameters well within limits.

The Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway park was the next to last race in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series ahead of the season-closing 28th California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield October 25th-27th.

Scroll down for a reverse chronological order round-by-round Nitro Nationals Top Fuel Qualifying and Eliminations rundown, photos, downloadable results, and more originally complied LIVE from Tulsa Raceway Park September 19th and 20th 2019.


FULL TOP FUEL NITRO NATIONALS EVENT ROUNDUP

TOP FUEL SEMI FINAL

Mendy Fry will battle Adam Sorokin for the 2019 Nitro Nationals Top Fuel title. Mendy Fry took the semi-final round with a 5.61-second 247 MPH blast after Tyler Hilton scrubbed when his Dad and Crew Chief Robert Hilton noticed a broken rear axle mount on the Great Expectations III. Great Expectations III. Adam Sorokin ran clean to the 1000-foot mark and shut it down for a 6.29 ET at 161 MPH on a bye. The pair will square off for the Top Fuel title at Tulsa Raceway Park in a final round rematch of the 2017 Nitro Nationals decider. 

SEMI-FINAL BATTLE SET: MENDY FRY VS. TYLER HILTON AND ADAM SOROKIN ON A BYE

Jim Murphy heats up the hides in the WW2 AA/Fuel dragster.

ELIMINATIONS ROUND ONE

Tyler Hilton blasted around Jim Murphy and the WW2 at the 1000-ft mark and lit up the clocks with 5.89-second 245 MPH in the Great Expectations III. Adam Sorokin pushed the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet past Tim Cullinan and the Irish Car Bomb and took the win with a nitro spud spittin’ 5.91 ET at 205 MPH. Mendy Fry ran the High Speed Motorsports hemi to the 1000-foot mark on a 5.64-second 222 MPH bye. Nitro Nationals Top Fuel Semi-Final is coming right up at Tulsa Raceway Park.

Tyler Hilton in the Great Expectations III big block Chevrolet-powered AA/Fuel dragster

TOP FUEL ELIMINATIONS LADDER IS SET: Session Two Qualifying is a wrap. Eliminations: Mendy Fry on a bye, Tyler Hilton vs. Jim Murphy, and Adam Sorokin vs. Tim Cullinan.

Adam Sorokin and Jim Murphy in Nitro Nationals Session Two Qualifying at Tulsa Raceway Park

SESSION TWO QUALIFYING ROUNDUP

Jim Murphy popped the blower in a 6.03-second 195 MPH wall hugger in the WW2. Tim Cullinan shaved a second off yesterday with a 6.13 ET at 171 MPH in the Irish Car Bomb. Adam Sorokin and Tyler Hilton ran just a few hundredths slower than Q1. Paul Schultz lost fire after the burnout and couldn’t get the Spirit of Tulsa restarted. Further inspection revealed the recently rebuilt magneto internals had come undone. After his Q1 no-time DQ and unable to stage in under power in Q2, NHRA rules dictate that Paul is unfortunately out of the running. Nitro Nationals Top Fuel Eliminations Run Ladder, final Qualifying order, and incrementals right here. Nitro Nationals TOP FUEL Eliminations scheduled for 6 PM at Tulsa Raceway Park.

SESSION ONE QUALIFYING ROUNDUP

Paul “Nobody” Schultz in the Spirit of Tulsa

Mendy Fry runs 5.66-seconds at 222 MPH for Low ET in the High Speed Motorsports hemi. Adam Sorokin cranks out a 5.91 ET at 210 MPH in the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet for the second slot. Tyler Hilton hits 241 MPH Top Speed and grabs third with a 5.94-second big-block Chevrolet blast. Tim Cullinan shuts down the Irish Car Bomb and takes fourth with a 7.31 ET at 138 MPH. Jim Murphy strikes the tires with a pedal and idles through the lights for fifth. Paul Schultz and the Spirit of Tulsa launched out of the box before the lights were active for a no time DQ. Nitro Nationals Session Two Top Fuel Qualifying scheduled for tomorrow at 2 PM CST at Tulsa Raceway Park.

Top Fuel Session One Qualifying results from the 2019 Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway Park

Pre-qualifying Top Fuel Test and Tune Preview

Four Top Fuel dragsters ran a 4 PM Test and Tune shakeout ahead of Session One Qualifying at Tulsa Raceway Park. Mendy Fry posted a 6.10 ET at 168 MPH in the High-Speed Motorsports dragster in an emotional first pass since the tragic loss of Crew Chief, tuner, and patriarch Tom Shelar. Jim Murphy clicked off a 6.40 ET at 129 MPH in the WW2 hemi. Adam Sorokin belted out a 6.24 ET at 162 MPH in the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet, and Tyler Hilton cranked a 6.62 ET at 155 MPH out of the Great Expectations III big block Chevrolet. The sun has broken through the clouds and Session One Top Fuel Qualifying is scheduled for 8 PM.

2019 NITRO NATIONALS PHOTO EXTRA

NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL FIGHT AT BOWLING GREEN

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Twelve Nostalgia Top Fuel contenders will battle for victory at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky at the 17th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance. All-American Fuel Dragster coalition drivers and teams are converging from across the USA for the three-day celebration of drag racing history and a shot at the title in the second NHRA Hot Rod Heritage series Nostalgia Top Fuel race. Nitro-burning mayhem kicks off on Thursday, June 13th and runs through Saturday, June 15th.

Julius Hughes will represent Hot’Lanta in his 426-powered “Atlanta Speed Shop” entry, and Tim Cullinan is heading in from the windy city in his Chicago-based “Irish Car Bomb.” Tyler Hilton in the “Great Expectations,” Joey Haas and the Mill Road Boys, and Gerald Hangey are all packing big-block Chevrolet power. The California contingent includes 2018 Season Champion Mendy Fry in the “High Speed Motorsports” car, Brendan Murry in the 426 Elephant-propelled “Running Wild,” Jim Murphy in the “WW2” and March Meet winner Adam Sorokin in the small-block Chevrolet powered “Champion Speed Shop” dragster.

“This is a tough race, but one of my absolute favorites,” said Sorokin. “We started the season pretty good with winning the March Meet. I’m hoping for all win lights on Saturday. Not too many, just enough to win that sucker.”

Jim Young and the Young Guns, Roger Lechtenberg in the “Nitro Bandit,” and Larry Gocha are heading in from the Midwest. Gocha is shooting for an NHRA license in his new car after Mendy Fry, Adam Sorokin, and Jim Young signed off on his IHRA license at Cordova. The longtime drag racer and his crew hope to step it up at Beech Bend. He said: “Anything we go past qualifying is a plus!” Jim Young helped Gocha get the former Western Hoist fueler together and also organized Nostalgia Top Fuel participation in a new “Open Fuel” 6.0 class, so those who don’t make the 8-car Eliminations can get in a few more runs.

Nostalgia Top Fuel titans will mix it up with nitro-huffing Funny Cars and unruly AA/Altereds, and the event will conclude on Saturday night with the on-track convergence of historic nitro-fueled race cars and header flames known as the Cacklefest. Side-by-side racing action from wheels-up Gassers and Nostalgia Pro Stock machines, a giant swap meet, as well as countless classics, hot rods, and customs at the Axalta Show ‘N Shine, and, finally, fire-breathing jet cars all make the 17th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion a must-see event. If you can’t make it to Kentucky then tune into Dragracer.tv for live video coverage from Beech Bend. Broadcast schedule TBA.

Grand Marshall and Honorees

Longtime big block Chevrolet Funny Car racer Randy Walls is the event Grand Marshall. Walls will join Honorees including radio and tv announcer Army Armstrong, current Rockingham Dragway operator and former NHRA media professional Steve Earwood, racer and builder Richard Maskin, Top Fuel Drag Racing School founder and Funny Car racer Paul Smith, and 1972 Le Grandnational front-engine Top Fuel champ Art Marshall. A special Honoree Celebration and Cruise-In will kickoff Friday, June 14th at 6:00 PM at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. Admission is free.

Nostalgia Top Fuel Racing Schedule 

Thursday, June 13th
Qualifying Session One 3 PM

Friday, June 14th
Qualifying Session Two 12 PM
Qualifying Final Session 3 PM

Saturday, June 15th
Round One Eliminations 1 PM
Round Two Eliminations 3:30 PM
Cacklefest 7:45 PM

Schedule subject to change

NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series

The 17th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway Park is the second salvo in the 5-race battle for the 2019 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship. Head on over to www.nhrahotrodheritage.com for an upcoming race schedule, news, points, results, rules and more.

ADAM SOROKIN WINS SECOND MARCH MEET IN CHAMPION SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET

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Bakersfield, California – Adam Sorokin is the 2019 Bakersfield March Meet Nostalgia Top Fuel Champion. Sorokin drove the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet-powered AA/Fuel dragster to victory with a 5.84 ET at 212 MPH as runner up Mendy Fry watched from the starting line with a broken throttle linkage in the High Speed Motorsports fueler. Sorokin’s second March Meet win with the Champion Speed Shop closed out a weekend of fierce competition at the historic drag racing event.

The 61st Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet saw record runs and unexpected turns on the quarter-mile as the Nostalgia Top Fuel field squared off at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Rick White emerged as #1 Qualifier with a 5.72 ET at 254 MPH after three frenetic sessions. 2018 March Meet winner Pete Wittenberg failed to qualify after three aborted runs and reigning Champion Mendy Fry drove through a blower explosion and damaging tire shake that had the High-Speed Motorsports team in the pits until 3 AM.

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Rick White opened Eliminations with a 6.09 ET at 175 MPH win on a single after Phil Ruskowski kept rolling in the “Xibitionist” after zinging the rpm’s and banging the blower on the burnout. Bret Williamson turned a 5.80 ET at 240 MPH in the Mike Fuller “Forever Young” that shut down Brendan Murry in the “Running Wild”. Mendy Fry blasted to a quickest and fastest ever 5.51 ET at 265 MPH win over Jim Murphy in the WW2. Adam Sorokin advanced with a 5.98 ET at 201 MPH as Rick McGee clipped some cones in the Tedford & McGee “Overtime Special”.

Sorokin drove the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet into the Final with a 5.83 ET 212 MPH win as Rick White struck the tires in the Neal & White AA/Fueler. Mendy Fry then broke her own Nostalgia Top Fuel record with a 5.49 ET 259 MPH Semi-Final blast over Bret Williamson’s 5.85 ET at 234 MPH. Side by side burnouts set up the Final round battle at Famoso and Sorokin etched his second March Meet win into the Top Fuel timeline behind the canopy of the Champion Speed Shop dragster.

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Over 50 years after his father Mike Sorokin won the March Meet and nearly 10 years after his first March Meet win, Sorokin was elated as he was interviewed by Jason Galvin on the top end at Famoso. “I was just hoping that they don’t run ’em on paper! We knew that we had something if things didn’t go their way. That 5.49 she ran was so stout. That team was so good. Amazing. For us to get by them, that’s the car to beat right now. I’m really happy.”

Head over to Auto Club Famoso Raceway for a complete rundown of official results and archived video coverage of the entire 61st Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet.

All photos Dave Kommel ©Dave Kommel Photography

Click here to download and view official results from the 61st Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet

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