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.
Mendy Fry is the 48th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel Champion. Fry won with a 5.62 ET at 254 MPH in the High Speed Motorsports hemi against Adam Sorokin, who turned a 6.08 ET at 204 MPH in the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet for Runner-Up. The weekend saw Fry break the Firebird Raceway track record with a 5.62 ET for Number One Qualifier and then break it again with a 5.59 ET in a Semi-Final bye run. The final round win light marked back to back 2018 and 2019 Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel Championships for Mendy Fry and the High Speed Motorsports team at Boise. “I cannot begin to process how amazing my team is,” said Fry. “Tom Shelar owned it this weekend. He knew exactly what this car needed every run, and my team carried out the directions flawlessly.”
I cannot begin to process how amazing my team is. Tom Shelar owned it this weekend. He knew exactly what this car needed every run, and my team carried out the directions flawlessly.
Mendy Fry pushed the High Speed Motorsports hemi-powered dragster quicker through all three qualifying sessions and grabbed the number one slot with a 5.62-second Last Session run that set a new track record. Jim Murphy ran 249 MPH in the first Friday session for Top Speed but ran off the top end of the track in the second session. Jim said he didn’t get the chutes out and the WW2 blasted into the wheat field then went into a slow roll before coming to a stop. Jim emerged A-OK, but the run was disqualified. A herculean team effort got the WW2 repaired and into Eliminations on Saturday night. When the Idaho dust settled, final qualifying order was set for the 6-car Eliminations.
Mendy Fry 5.62 Adam Sorokin 5.88 Jim Murphy 5.90 Tyler Hilton 6.60 Brett Williamson 7.09 Phil Ruskowski 7.43
RECORD-BREAKING RUN VIDEO
TOP FUEL ELIMINATOR
Eliminations got underway on Saturday night under the lights. Adam Sorokin launched the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet out of the gate for a 6.11 ET at 209 MPH win over Bret Williamson’s 6.55 ET at 159 MPH in the Forever Young. Mendy Fry won with a 5.62 ET at 229 MPH to Phil Ruskowski’s 7.55 ET in his small block Chevrolet Xibitionist dragster.
Jim Murphy drove the WW2 to a 6.18 ET at 201 MPH win over Tyler Hilton’s 6.42 ET at 233 MPH in the Great Expectations III. Mendy Fry backed up her #1 Qualifier 5.62-second track record run with another 5.62 ET in the High Speed Motorsports hemi and moved onto the Final with an automatic Semi-Final Bye win. The Sorokin vs. Murphy Semi-Final winner would race Fry in the Top Fuel Final.
SEMI FINAL AND BONUS RUN
Sorokin pushed the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet into the Final with a 6.06 ET for the win as Jim Murphy struck the tires in the WW2 hemi. Mendy Fry broke her own track record with a 5.59 227 MPH blast in a promotor’s option bonus pair-up with Tyler Hilton in the Great Expectations III. Fry’s record-breaking run in the High Speed Motorsports dragster was technically a bye as she automatically advanced to the Final. Tyler Hilton idled down the track after the fearsome blown-on-nitro big block Chevrolet overpowered the tires.
Bakersfield, California – Top Fuel titans of the All-American Fuel Dragster coalition are loaded up with nitromethane and headed to the 61st Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway March 7th-10th. The historic event is the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series season opener and first shot at the championship for the front-engine nostalgia Top Fuel ranks.
Season champion Mendy Fry is back in the “High Speed Motorsports” dragster and last year’s March Meet winner Pete Wittenberg will stage in the “KMA Circuit Breaker.” Adam Sorokin will drop the lid on the small block Chevrolet-powered “Champion Speed Shop” dragster and Brendan Murry will light up his “Running Wild” 426 hemi. Bret Williamson will pilot the Mike Fuller “Forever Young” fueler and two-time March Meet champ Rick McGee will turn hours into seconds in the Tedford & McGee “Overtime Special”.
Four-time March Meet winner Jim Murphy will gun for a record 5th victory in his “WW2” dragster and driver Phil Ruskowski, the Island Nitro Gang and their small block Chevrolet “Xibitionist” digger are heading south from the Great White North. Land-speed luminary and 2011 March meet winner Rick White is strapping into the Neal & White “Autopower” AA/Fuel dragster at the ‘patch.
All-American Fuel Dragsters President Bob McLennan is proud to announce that the Top Fuel Internship program will return for its second year. The team effort between the Jim McLennan Foundation, Bakersfield College, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, and AAFD racers places select automotive students on Top Fuel crews for a real-world introduction to drag racing and course credit.
The March Meet Top Fuel battle starts with nitro-fueled testing on Thursday at 3 PM. Qualifying kicks off at 12 PM on Friday. Eliminations are currently scheduled for Sunday. Head over to the Auto Club Famoso Raceway for the latest March Meet information. Schedule subject to change!
The 61st Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet is the first of six races in the NHRA Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel championship season that concludes with the NHRA Motorsports Museum California Hot Rod Reunion in October 25th-27th at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Points count across all six races with the addition of the Nitro Summer Nationals at Spokane County Raceway August 16th-17th.
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.
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.
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.