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

MENDY FRY ROCKS TOP FUEL VICTORY AT SPOKANE

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.

QUALIFYING ROUNDS

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

DRIVERETMPH
Mendy Fry5.68216
Pete Wittenberg5.70245
Bret Williamson5.91206
Tyler Hilton6.05237
Adam Sorokin6.11187
Jim Murphy6.14212
Phil Ruskowski7.14176

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.

SEMI-FINALS

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.”

Tom Shelar

Next stop for the All-American Fuel Dragsters coalition is the Nitro Nationals, September 21st and 22nd at Tulsa Raceway Park.

The High Speed Motorsports team in the Nitro Summer Nationals Winner’s Circle at Spokane Valley Raceway

MENDY FRY COLLECTS SECOND NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP

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

QUALIFYING ROUNDUP

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

Mendy Fry breaks the Firebird Raceway Top Fuel record with a 5.62-second run at the 48th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals

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.

SPOKANE OR BUST!

Next stop for the All American Fuel Dragsters is the Nitro Summer Nationals at Spokane County Raceway this weekend Friday the 16th through Sunday the 17th.

48TH PEPSI NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS PHOTO EXTRA

PHOTOS BY SANDRA ALBERTI

TOP FUEL TITANS SET TO TEAR IT UP AT THE MARCH MEET

white-murphy

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”.

pete-wittenberg-lanes

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.

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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.

aafd-nightfire-nationals-40

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.

bowling-green-fuel-9