Past March Meet Events
2015 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet • March 5-8, 2015
Is this Heaven? No, it’s Bakersfield, and that is just how the 2015 Good Vibrations March Meet felt to fans and racers alike. Perfect California weather provided the backdrop to an amazing 4 days of drag racing, So many racers showed up to participate that they were spilling into the staging lanes. Fans parked almost 1/2 a mile away to walk to the gates, all to be part of the March Meet. The warm days gave way to the hot action on the drag strip at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
AA/TF Top Fuel
The Top Fuel class was left spinning in the vortex created by Tony Bartone in 2014 when he swept the Heritage series. Every round of qualifying and every race, Bartone dominated with MPH and low ET. As qualifying got underway on Thursday, the Bartone Brothers juggernaut picked up right where they left off in the 2014 season, qualifying number 1 with a 5.573 @241.32 mph.
Bartone quickly dispatched Dan Horan in the first round as the Horan team struggled to get the car down the track. Horan finished qualifying with a head scratching 17.550 @ 43.47 mph. They just ran out of time to get a handle on the car, offering up a 8.534 @ 94.69 mph run to Bartone’s blistering 5.584 @ 232.55mph.
Bartone would skip right to the finals with a bye in the second round and another freebie when Dusty Green couldn't make the call for the semi finals. Bartone ran a 5.597 and a 5.660 in his single rounds.
From the middle of the pack, genetically gifted ace digger pilot Adam Sorokin and the Champion Speed Shop team started their march to the finals. Qualifying #8 with a 5.936 @ 198.76 mph, the team would have their work cut out for them. Round one was their first bit of luck as #7 qualifier Rick White couldn’t make the call, and Sorokin ran a single. The clutch locked up almost immediately at the hit, spinning the tires before the 60’ cone. The car limped through the lights 11.454 @ 84.60 mph. Not a good start to eliminations.
Round 2 paired Adam Sorokin with Bill Dunlap. The tenacious 74-years-young driver qualified in the #2 spot. Adam drilled the start with a .076 RT to Dunlap’s .127. Dunlap’s High Speed Motorsports rail wondered a little left at the hit and by the 1/8 mile had drifted out of the groove as he gave chase to Sorokin. Bill wrestled with the unruly beast as the car lurched back to the right after striking the 1000’ cone. This upset the car in the trap and as the chutes came out Dunlap found himself skating up the concrete barrier. The car climbed up the barrier just a bit as Bill got the program back under control. Adam in the other lane had thrown some rods out and was busy bringing the smoldering Champion Speed Shop car to a halt so the fire crews could douse the brief fire. Sorokin ran 5.705 @ 238.13 mph to Dunlap’s 5.838 @ 209.23 mph.
Sorokin would face #3 qualifier Denver Schutz in the semi’s. The Champion Speed Shop team was thrashing on the car to make the call after the last round. With both of the diggers staged Sorokin cut a prophetic .037 light. He would need it as 2 time runner up Schutz gave chase. Schutz cut a lazy .144 light and stormed to a 5.765 @ 235.97 mph blast, but Sorokin’s hole shot held up with a slower, but winning 5.774 @ 230.10 mph. The Top Fuel Finals were set.
TOP FUEL FINALS
Adam Sorokin and the Champion Speed team had other ideas about letting Bartone abuse the Top Fuel field any further and set the small block dragster on kill. At the tree Sorokin rolled in first. Bartone seemed a little flustered as his digger jolted into the lights. The ambers flashed and Sorokin left first cutting his worst light of the day, a .097. Bartone saved his worst RT for last too, cutting a .143 light. The Sorokin guided Champion Speed Shop car was out first and leaving Bartone behind.
Sorokin was on a charge. .097 to the 60’ to Bartones .143. Adam was 3.717 @ 215.53 mph at the 1/8 to Bartone’s 3.736 @ 215.27 mph, but the small block’s fuse ran out in a spectacular boom around 900’. A big puff of flame and smoke along with some side panels slowed the digger enough to let Bartone charge by with a record setting 5.531 @270.81mph. The Boggs tuned rail detonated at the stripe.
Tony Bartone - “Eight, nine hundred, thousand feet, I looked over, Adam was right there. No letting up, tried to drive it to the finish line. He blew up, I blew up, got the win light.”
Adam Sorokin - “Wow, what a weekend at the March Meet! We struggled early on with a few woes. All the time, the car was showing signs it wanted to run. We had a little luck in the first round of eliminations when Rick White didn't make the call, giving us a single. It was a good thing, because we had a clutch disc issue which resulted in the clutch welding itself up and smoking the tires. 2nd round against Bill Dunlap, the car ran good running a 5.705ET, but it was a wild one with me kicking a couple rods out of the motor and having a fire and Bill going for a scary ride. Semis was a nail biter as we rolled up at the absolute last second to run against Denver Schutz. We had to change a motor, wiring and fire bottles to get to this round. What a crew I have! They are amazing to get that thing back together! The car ran a 5.77ET against Denver's quicker 5.76, but we were lucky enough to still get the win and go to the final. We loaded the car for bear against Tony Bartone. I hit the throttle and held on. My car was a rocket ship! I couldn't hear Tony the whole way down to around a 1000ft. The supercharger could take it no longer, and decided to exit the vehicle....vertically...and maybe horizontally too. I then hear Tony coming, and couldn't do anything about it. He went by at the stripe and took the win. Our incremental’s were better all the way down until that point. We're getting closer to getting the last 300 ft figured out. I can't wait for the next one! Good weekend!”
AA/FC Funny Car
After a few months of slumber for the Funny Cars, the shenanigans got started early as Cruz Pedregon posted a video to the internet calling out the funny car drivers and teams. This light hearted prodding upped the tension as the field made its way onto the drag strip.
Defending Heritage Funny Car Champion turned Big Show driver, John Hale rolled his car off the trailer and to the starting line during Thursday's test session and cracked off a 5.66 sending notice to the rest of the field that despite his vertical move to the pro series, he still had one bad hot rod in the Heritage series.
Friday was the first day of qualifying for the funny cars and things got a little weird. Some of the heavy hitters were struggling to get their cars down the track and by the final session on Saturday, there were a few of the hopefuls on the outside looking in. Cruz Pedregon had issue after issue with the California Charger. At one point the car shook the tires so bad that it broke the wheelie bars off. The Frank Ousley tuned Crop Duster driven by John Capps managed no better than 22nd. The final qualifying position was held by Chris Davis with a 6.008 @ 234.57 mph. Dan Horan lead the field with a 5.715 @ 257.24 mph run.
James Day in Gary Turner’s “The Pedaler” won the 2014 March Meet as the underdog against Horan. This year Day started out in a little better shape qualifying in the #5 slot with a 5.882 @ 239.06 mph lap. Day would face #12 qualifier Mark Sanders in the first round. Day ran a 5.862 @ 240.98 mph to beat Sander’s 5.889 @ 250.60 mph.
Steven Densham placed the “Teachers Pet” flopper in the #2 slot just behind Horan with a 5.739 @ 248.57 blast. He would face #15 qualifier Rian Konno in round one. Densham ran a 5.780 @ 248.99 mph to Konno’s 6.504 @ 158.99 mph.
Day would get a single in the second round as Thompson was unable to make the call and Day coasted the car down the track to save parts.
Densham wouldn't have it so easy as his second round squared him off with ace driver Jason Rupert. Rupert qualified #7 and dispatched Garten in round one. Densham was off the line first with a .097 RT to Rupert’s .135. Densham running a 5.734 @ 247.66 mph to Rupert’s 5.811 @ 251.49.
Day would meet #8 qualifier John Weaver in the semis. Weaver had beat Overholser and then pole sitter Horan with a couple of 5.70’s passes to get to the semis. Day got out on Weaver and never looked back. Day’s 5.801 @ 239.87 to Weaver’s 6.240 @ 171.86 mph saw the 2014 March Meet winner going to the final for the 2nd year in a row.
Densham’s semi against former March Meet winner Kris Krabill was almost his exit to the trailer. Krabill had qualified #6 and made it past Lee and #3 qualifier Townsend to get to the semis. Krabill drilled the light with a .072 RT. Densham was dead late with a .216 RT but the Gary Densham tuneup pulled the “Teachers Pet” past Krabill at the stripe. Densham ran 5.715 @ 251.20 to Krabill’s 5.886 @ 248.11. The MOV .027.
FUNNY CAR FINALS
Day found himself back in the finals at the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet again as the underdog. Densham had lane choice and picked the favorite left lane. Day knew he’d be on the back foot and rolled “The Pedaler” in deep turning off the top light. Densham wasn’t phased as the ambers flashed. Day cut a .019 light but Densham was right behind him with a .095 RT. As the floppers roared off in the twilight the header flames leaped above the window sills. Densham had saved the best for last running low ET of the meet. 5.694 @ 249.16 mph to Day’s strong but losing 5.874 @ 242.41 mph.
Steven Densham - “Couldn’t ask for a better car, couldn’t ask for a better team. My dad was tuning and he had everything set up perfect.”
James Day - “Even with rollin in deep and a .019 light it wasn't meant to be. I wanted that second March Meet trophy but Densham deserved it..... Congrats to an amazing family.”
AA/FA Fuel Altered
22 Fuel altereds showed up vying for a spot in the 8 car field. Sean Belt hitched a ride with the Ousley’s and won over the crowd with their flavor of nitro altered racing. Their basement built, off the shelf parts “Metal Mafia” altered had a sound and style indicative to the fuel altered mentality. Keeping a flame spewing, nitro burning, short wheelbase car pointed at the right end of the race track requires a special kind of crazy and all the timing cones trembled in fear as these monsters took to the strip.
Defending champion Dan Hix dispatched Wilson in the first round when Wilson went a little too fast. 5.860 on a 6.00 index. 2014 Runner up Jeremy Sullivan edged by Chris Bennett. 6.236 to 6.602.
Hix then took on Tom Padilla in a close race. Hix running 6.309 to Padilla's 6.429. Sullivan got past Shane Harter, 6.204 to Harter’s 6.468. The finals were set as a repeat of 2014. Hix vs Sullivan.
Sullivan couldn’t make the call and Hix took a single to claim the 2015 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet title.
Sean Belt - Metal Mafia AA/FA - “Wow! It seems to be the word I keep using after being a part of the March Meet! As long as I can remember I can recall thinking what it must feel like to run a real nitro car?'... Like it was some far off idea that you see on TV or people only tell stories about. Seeing it in magazines and later on the internet and always seeing the legendary faces and cars and names. Well this weekend it became a vivid full color reality experience! When we towed up to our waiting spot in the lanes for Q1 I poked my head out of the roof hatch of my basement built car powered by my stock all iron home built motor and thought 'holy s**t that's THE famous Sullivan family altered in the lane to face me!'. Suddenly it was real!
The weekend began with crowds coming by and guys sorta whispering and nudging each other with most the comments being 'sure enough this squirrel showed up with an all iron motor on a LITTLE bit of nitro'... but after Q1 with a couple angry dry hops... wing high header flames... a heavy haze of 92% nitro fumes and a shower of sparks from the clutch can... the metal mafia AA/FA became THE talk of the entire event! I was overwhelmed with the amazing response. We've never had an opportunity to even run a quarter mile track before! Very proud to have made several VERY successful runs and earned a spot in an 8 car field that started with over 20 very wicked cars!
No way possible to say how proud I am of my team! In a sport dominated by money and high dollar parts and equipment we were literally bringing a pocketknife to a gunfight! and I'm extremely proud of our results!
Frank and Debra Ousley... you made such an amazing dream a reality for me and my guys. I'm so honored by your generosity!”
AA/RED Top Fuel Rear Engine Dragster
Brad Thompson pulled double duty this weekend piloting his ”Jail Breaker” funny car and the beautiful “Warren, Coburn & Miller” rear engine dragster. Brad took top honours in this fledgling class.
Local Bakersfield racer Darrell Waters returned to the winners circle repeating his 2013 win in A/Fuel. Waters qualified #2 and faced off with #1 qualifier Kin Bates in the final winning with a 6.500 @ 209.10 mph over Bates’ 10.951 @ 83.81 mph.
Scott Parks swept the Jr/Fuel field qualifying #1 and taking the final round with a 7.081 @ 179.78 mph over #2 qualifier Don Enriquez. Don ran 7.178 @ 185.72 mph.
AA/Supercharged saw #1 qualifier Howard Anderson defeat #2 qualifier Gary Reinero. Anderson ran 6.539 @ 213.43 to Reinero’s losing 6.797 @ 206.35 mph.
Jesse Adams survived from the #8 qualifying spot to make it to the finals in 7.0 Pro. This 32 car strong field was full of racers hitting the number with some change. The top 15 qualifiers were separated by less than .080 seconds. Luck was on Adams’ side as Ron Horn broke in the first round. Round 2 saw Richard High hand the win over by going red by -.008. Adams’ was tested in round 3 against Terri Lynne Brewster. Adams ran 7.116 @ 184.12 mph to Brewster’s 7.357 @ 185.15. Jess Sturgeon broke in round 4. #14 qualifier Kenny Buzdas lined up with Adams for the final, but Buzdas went red by just -.006 hand the win to Adams.
Nostalgia Eliminator 1
Another Bakersfield local, Jason Barta, took the NE1 field title, qualifying #1 with a dead-on-the-numbers 7.600. Barta faced #5 qualifier Jimmy Morosan in the finals. Barta running 7.697 @ 153.91 mph to Morosan’s slowing 9.967 @ 97.54 mph.
Nostalgia Eliminator 2
Bakersfield racers racked up yet another class win. Long time Auto Club Famoso Raceway staple (Dragster) Jeff Crider found himself in the winners circle after qualifying a lowly #29 in the huge 39 car NE2 field. Crider faced off against #21 qualifier Bill Workman in the finals. Bill was in a hurry to get this race over and went red by -.177. Crider jumped to give chase going red by .144, but it was over. At the stripe Bill ran 8.572 @ 154.17 to Crider’s 8.606 @ 149.53.
Nostalgia Eliminator 3
Ed DeStaute defeated Roger Turley for the NE3 title. Roger left -.012 early handing the win to Ed. Roger ran 9.600 @ 136.19 mph to Ed’s 9.618 @ 139.85 mph.
Keith Morovich added another win to the Bakersfield tally when he defeated Brian Rogers in A/Gas. Keith cut a .010 light on his way to a 7.630 @ 173.36 mph to beat Brian’s 7.643 @ 173.38 mph charge.
Tom Tourek survived several close rounds to take the title in B/Gas. Brian qualified #7 and faced #10 qualifier Cliff Boyles in the final. Both drivers went a little too fast with Tom running 8.592 @ 156.41 mph to beat Cliff’s 8.577 @ 157.34 mph.
C/Gas driver Wayne Hoover qualified a middle of the pack #13. Once eliminations started, Wayne would drill the tree all weekend long with his worst RT being .036. His Jedi powers giving him a holeshot win in round 1 over Don Flanagan. Wayne saved the best for the finals where he faced #23 qualifier Justin Shears. Wayne cut a perfect .000 light and ran 9.612 @ 139.79 mph to Justin’s 9.616 @ 138.48 mph.
Jake Wood qualified #4 in the huge 46 car D/Gas field. Jake battled his way to the finals where he faced off with #16 qualifier Dan Ficher. Jake’s .043 RT netted him a 10.623 @ 125.76 to beat Dan’s 10.619 @ 124.25 mph on a hole shot.
Josh Wagner rounded off the local’s trophy tally of 5 with a win is the massive Hot Hod class. Round 1 was over 90 cars! Wagner qualified his ‘72 Maverick in the #2 slot and would meet up with #12 qualifier Randy Aguiar in the finals. Both drivers surviving a brutal 6 rounds of racing. Wagner ran a 11.636 on a 11.60 dial in @ 112.11 mph to take the win over Aguiar’s 9.788 on a 9.78 dial in @ 133.87 mph. Wagner’s .053 RT bested Aguiar’s .130 RT for the win at the stripe.
Congratulations to all the 2015 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet Champions:
Top Fuel - Tony Bartone
Funny Car - Steven Densham
Fuel Altered - Dan Hix
RED - Brad Thompson
Jr/Fuel - Scott Parks
A/Fuel - Darrell Waters
AA/Supercharged - Howard Anderson
7.0 Pro - Jesse Adams
NE1 - Jason Barta
NE2 - Jeff Crider
NE3 - Ed DeStaute
A/Gas - Keith Morovich
B/Gas - Tom Tourek
C/Gas - Wayne Hoover
D/Gas - Jake Wood
Hot Rod - Joshua Wagner
Auto Club Famoso Raceway would like to thank all of the fans that came from near and far to be part of this event. A big thank you to all the competitors that provided some of the best racing in years.
Auto Club Famoso Raceway hosts racing events year round. If you enjoy nitro racing then make plans to attend the Good Vibrations Motorsports Saturday Night Nitro events June 27th and September 19th. Visit the website for more details. www.AutoClubFamosoRaceway.com
2014 March Meet Results
Complete Results PDF
A Day for Day and Bartone Takes Top Fuel Title
The 2014 March Meet welcomed drag racing fans from all 4 corners of the Earth with beautiful Southern California sunshine at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. By Saturday the faithful were over 6 deep at the fence. With nitro burning machines roaring down the quarter mile, there was no other place a nitro fan would want to be.
“This place is unbelievable," 16 time NHRA Funny Car Champ John Force proclaimed over the tracks PA system. "I couldn't find a parking space.” He then added, “This is bigger than a national event”. With 25 Funny Cars, 16 Top Fuel Dragsters and 8 Fuel Altereds, the 2014 March Meet was a Nitroholic’s dream.
Top Fuel round 1 got started Saturday afternoon as Rick White sent Roger Lechtenberg home. White running 5.756 @ 245.99 mph to Lechtenberg’s 7.155 @ 139.23 mph. Rick McGee won over Bill Dunlap. McGee ran 5.879 @ 232.39 mph to Dunlap’s 6.037 @ 205.57 mph. Rick Williamson took the win as Brendan Murry aborted his run with Williamson running 6.476 @ 245.81 mph.
The next pair saw Denver Schutz face off with 2012 & 2013 March Meet Champion Jim Young. Young brought his own small block digger out West as his previous ride had been bought last year by Jim Murphy. Young had a lead off the tree on Schutz with a .060 RT, but the small block blew the blower apart in the lights allowing a hard running Schutz to edge by. Schutz ran a 5.787 @ 238.81 mph to Young’s 5.870 @ 215.51.
Pole sitter Tony Bartone ran a single as Jim Boyd couldn't make the call, clicking it early with a 6.337 @ 162.20mph.
Dave Hirata and newcomer Dusty Green were the next pair of dragsters to the line. Hirata fired up the “Orange Crate” and promptly shut it back off. The clutch linkage had come apart and there was no reason to continue. In hindsight, he might have tried taking the light, as the “Circuit Breaker” piloted by Green shut off right after the hit with no time being recorded.
Ron August and Terry Cox brought the show back on the rails with a stunning side by side, stripe to stripe drag race. August drilled the tree with a .020 RT to Cox’s .094. Cox ran a stunning 5.816 @ 260.46 mph only to lose to August’s hole shot, with Ron running a 5.879 @ 239.57. The margin of victory was only .014 seconds.
The last pair in round one were two former March Meet Champions. Adam Sorokin in the Champion Speed car and 4 time March Meet Champion Jim Murphy in the WW2 digger. Murphy missed the last qualifying hit on Saturday as they struggled with one problem after another getting the car ready after it blew up on Friday. Murphy had the motor in and out of the car several times and barely made the call for round one. With no time to spare the WW2 team rolled the digger to the line and started her up. Murphy rolled into pre-stage first, Adam followed and had just staged when Jim roared off. Sorokin made a planned 1000’ pass 5.783 @ 213.64 mph. Murphy had this to say, “I jump in (the car) and my brain is fried. I red-light for the second time in my racing career of forty years”. The 5th March Meet title for Murphy will have to wait at least one more year.
Sunday morning fans awoke to a beautiful sunrise for day two of eliminations. Rick White went right to work showing the rest of the field that they were serious contender, running a stout 5.662 @ 249.72 to eliminate Dusty Green. Green was first off the light, but the Chuck Neil tune up in White’s car quickly ran him down with Green slowing to a 5.966 @ 206.10 mph.
Rick McGee and Rick Williamson paired up for round 2 and blasted down the quarter-mile side by side with McGee edging out the win with a 5.810 @ 242.28 mph to Williamson’s 5.870 @ 259.21.
Tony Bartone dispatched Ron August in the “Forever Young” car with a 5.629 @ 242.45 to August’s soft and slowing 6.589 @ 152.16mph.
Adam Sorokin and Denver Schutz were due up next, but as they went to start Schutz’s RE3 digger the motor promptly seized up and refused to turn. Adam completed his burnout and was passed a note that said “1/2 track” before pulling into the beams. Sorokin clicked it with a 6.493 @ 144.84 mph.
The semi finals pitted Adam Sorokin against Rick White. Sorokin knew the small block didn’t have the legs for the strong running White and cut a prophetic .035 light to get the bubble car out in front, but the small block ran out of air and detonated before the lights. White came storming by with a 5.739 @ 250.27 mph to Sorokin’s slowing 6.073 @ 211.26.
Tony Bartone pulled into the lights against Rick McGee knowing that they were in a vulnerable position. They had been working up to the big numbers that they knew that car was capable of but feared the McGee team was ahead of them in the tune up. He was right. Bartone cut a .061 to get out on McGee. McGee on the other hand had a drowsy .220 RT. Despite McGee running a quicker 5.706 @ 257.73 mph, Bartone turned on the win light with a hole shot. The long Islander running a 5.821 @ 213.20 mph to go on to the finals.
Sunday afternoon had cooled a bit and the track was in perfect condition as Tony Bartone and Rick White met in the finals. The number 1 and number 2 qualifiers had triumphed past a tough field to race for the Wally and a March Meet win. Bartone and White pulled into the lights like pros. No games being played here, just a heads up, to the stripe drag race. Bartone left first with a .090 RT to White’s .185 RT. The Steve Boggs tune up had Bratone’s McKinney dragster on a bender. At 60’ Bartone was almost 1/2 car in front of White. Bartone kept on pulling away with a thundering 5.623 @ 262.13 mph. White ran his second best 5.715 @ 252.53 mph, but it wasn't enough to deny Tony Bartone the 2014 March Meet Championship.
Bartone was elated with his March Meet win. “We have been trying to win one of these big races for a while,” he said. “We won a smaller one in Epping last year, but when that win light came on in the final I got goosebumps and I still have them now.”
As Funny Car eliminations got started on Saturday, the talk in the paddock was more about who wasn't in the 16 car field. 2013 March Meet champion Tim Boychuck qualified 19th. 2013 CHRR winner John Hale qualified 20th. 2013 March Meet runner up Mark Sanders qualified 23rd. Hale and Sanders were so upset at not making the field, they decided to race each other in a $500 match race after round 2. These guys couldn't go home without winning or losing something.
Dan Horan had lead the Funny Car field all weekend and secured pole with a strong 5.668 @ 257.83. Dale VanGundy trailed in the final qualifying spot with an excellent 5.904, bumping Ryan Konno out.
The first pair pitted veteran NHRA Top Fuel champion Del Worsham against young gun James Day. Day piloting a brand new Gary Turner’s “Pedaler”. Day got the hole shot on Worsham and held on with a 5.841 @ 244.66 mph to Worsham’s faster 5.831 @ 250.04 mph.
Current NHRA Heritage Series Champion Jason Rupert edged past a hard running Roger Garten with a 5.725 @ 258.27 mph to Garten’s 5.755 @ 248.07 mph. Rupert would set top speed with this lap.
Horan dispatched VanGundy with a effortless 5.683 @ 258.22. VanGundy duplicated his qualifying ET with a 5.904 with a improved 240.42 mph.
Steve Densham announced he was here to win with a strong 5.685 @ 248.89 to send Garrett Bateman packing with a losing 5.893 @ 239.91 mph.
Kris Krabill had no issues with Todd Paton running a 5.714 @ 248.98 mph to Paton’s troubled 18.716 @ 39.35 mph.
Tim Nemeth and Robert Overholser left together but Nemeth pulled away at the top end to win with a 5.726 @ 250.78 over Overholser’s 5.874 @ 248.16.
East Coast pilot Peter Gallen pulled his Funny Car all the way across America to get out of the Pennsylvania cold. Qualifying a respectable 11th, he faced off with #5 qualifier Richard Townsend. Gallen left first and never looked back running a 5.965 @ 245.09 to Townsend’s slowing 7.056 @ 137.86
The last pair had pitted Brad Thompson’s new school flopper against the more period correct “Nitro Nick” Vega piloted by Jesse Adams. Thompson left on a .091 RT and tripped the clocks with a 5.790 @ 234.17 mph. Adams ran a respectable but losing 5.88 @ 241.80 MPH.
Round 2 saw Kris Krabill face off with Tim Nemeth. This was going to be a close one, as both cars had been running similar numbers all weekend long. Krabill left first with a .088 RT to Nemeth’s .107. Krabill needed every bit of his starting lead as Nemeth ran a 5.754 @ 242.15 mph. Krabill’s 5.763 @ 242.93 mph and his start line advantage pulled him past Nemeth into the semi finals.
James Day had previously dispatched veteran big show driver Del Worsham in round one. Round 2 saw him draw Steve Densham, son of veteran big show driver Gary Densham. If Day was going to make it to the finals, he was going to have to prove himself to one heavy hitter at a time. As the floppers fired up, Densham rolled through the water box, did his burn out, and then the car shut off. He coasted to the top end and off the track. Day and crew took advantage of this single and cracked off a 5.760 @ 246.21 mph.
Horan and Thompson lined up next. Thompson smoked the tires as Horan rumbled to a 5.706 @ 256.11 mph.
Rupert and Gallen lined up for the final pair in round 2. Gallen drilled the tree with a .077 RT as Rupert gave chase. Gallen’s hole shot held up to a charging Rupert. Gallen winning with a 5.822 @ 240.81 mph to Rupert’s losing 5.809 @ 252.61 mph.
First out in the semi finals were youngster James Day and veteran Peter Gallen. Gallen knew he needed to be out on the hard running “Pedaler” if he was going to make it to the final round. And try he did, but by .002 to soon. Gallen’s red light gave Day an uncontested trip to the finals. Gallen clicked it and Day ran a 5.815 @ 227.92 mph.
Horan and Krabill met for the second semi finals paring. These men are some of the toughest racers in the series and they have a history of beating up on each other. They delivered another side by side blast. Krabill was out first, but not by much. Krabill’s .084 RT to Horan’s .090 RT. By 1/2 track Horan had started to reel in Krabill and at the stripe it was Horan by a hair. Horan won with a 5.730 @ 249.58 mph to Krabill’s 5.770 @ 252.80 mph. Horan advances to face Day in the finals.
The Funny Car final lined up Dan Horan and James Day. On paper Horan had this round covered. Horan had been in the sixes and sevens consistently as Day had broke into the sevens only a couple of rounds before. Day rolled in first after both cars finished their burnouts. Horan took a bit to roll in. Day was having none of the perceived shenanigans and rolled in deep, turning the top bulb off just as Horan lit the staging bulb. After a short breath the ambers flashed and they were off. Day drilled the start with a .043 RT as Horan seemed dazed by the top bulb going out and cut a way late .200 RT. From the starting line no one could tell whose race this was. It was obvious that Horan was running Day down, but could he catch him? Then the chutes popped out of Day’s car before the finish line kicking up a cloud of dust. The team reacted with angst but it was quickly reversed into elation as the win light turned on in Day’s lane.
Day ran a 5.883 @ 228.31 mph. Horan ran out of racetrack. Horan’s 5.726 @ 255.19 mph wasn’t enough to overcome Day’s hole shot. James Day proved again why we run the race.
Day was quoted “This is just amazing! It really hasn’t set in yet. Dale Pulde is my all-time hero. He was text messaging me just fifteen minutes ago. He is the greatest funny car driver on the planet. I love him to death, but this is huge man, to put your name up there with Prudhomme, Garlits, Beadle and all them guys. You can’t beat that, this is huge.” Indeed the whole team was beaming with accomplishment, pride and maybe a little disbelief in the winner’s circle.
Eight Fuel Altereds entered into the first Fuel Altered class since 1970 at the 2014 March Meet. To level the field, the altereds would race by two rules. 1. Must run on nitro. 2. Run on a 6 second index. That was it. The turnout was great. From re-bodied funny cars to Mike Boyd and the “Winged Express” to Dan Hix’s “transformer style” altered, the fans were in for a great show.
Round one matched Keith Wilson and the “Witch Doctor” against John Weaver. Wilson’s “Witch Doctor” wiggled it’s way down the quarter-mile to a 6.137 to beat Weaver’s 6.719
Jeremy Sullivan faced off with Dean Oberg. Sullivan took the win with a 6.294 as Oberg struggled down the track.
Dan Hix made a single as Bryan Bruhn couldn’t make the call. Hix ran a 6.269
The crowd went crazy for the next pair. Mike Boyd in the famous “Winged Express” squared off against Ron August. This was the very first time that this version of the “Winged Express” had competed in eliminations. Boyd was a little anxious to get the party started and went red by -.118. But if you have ever seen the “Winged Express” with Mike at the wheel, you know that lifting isn’t in his vocabulary. He drove the Wing from stripe to stripe, mostly on 2 wheels. August watched the mayhem a few ticks behind, running a 6.329 to advance to the next round.
Round 2 paired Wilson and Hix. Both drivers had almost identical RT, Wilson’s .153 an Hix’s .156. The pair squirmed their way down the track side by side with Hix turning on the win light with a 6.086 to Wilson’s 6.146.
Sullivan singled as August couldn’t make the call, setting up the final of Sullivan -vs- Hix.
As the Altereds lined up for the final, the crowd had the best of both worlds. The new “transformer style” of Dan Hix in one lane, and the “plausiblyperiod correct” Fiat of Jeremy Sullivan in the other. As the lights flashed both drivers seemed to take a deep breath before they closed their eyes and stabbed the throttle. Hix had a RT of .240 to Sullivan’s .214. At the stripe it was Hix by a tick, clocking a 6.115 to Sullivan’s 6.210.
The return of the Fuel Altered class was a huge success with the crowds. Watching these cars struggle with a decent set up during qualifying was sight to behold. No timing cones were safe when the altereds came to the lanes.
Champion - #457 Tony Bartone
RT .090 - ET 5.623 - MPH 262.13
Runner Up - #7131 Rick White
RT .185 - ET 5.715 - MPH 252.52
Champion - #709 James Day
RT .043 - ET 5.883 - MPH 228.31
Runner Up - #736 Dan Horan
RT .200 - ET 5.726 - MPH 255.19
Champion - #575 Dan Hix
RT .240 - ET 6.115 - MPH 206.16
Runner Up - #J700 Jeremy Sullivan
RT .214 - ET 6.210 - MPH 220.55
Champion - #6460 Ryan Davenport
RT .010 - ET 6.196 - MPH 218.55
Runner Up - #7573 Kin Bates
RT .042 - ET 7.282 - MPH 207.21
Champion - #7828 Wayne Ramey
RT .220 - ET 7.073 - MPH 187.11
Runner Up - #723 Don Enriquez
RT -.006 - ET 7.201 - MPH 173.01
Champion - #791 Richard High
RT .054 - ET 7.147 - MPH 159.59
Runner Up - #731J Brad Denney
RT -.010 - ET 7.198 - MPH 190.06
Champion - #721G Jerry Jahansen
RT .066 - ET 7.061 - MPH 173.34
Runner Up - #7098 Tony Jurado
RT -.030 - ET 7.175 - MPH 192.02
Nostalgia Eliminator 1
Champion - #7011 Bill Webber
RT .028 - ET 7.553 - MPH 169.42
Runner Up - #7795 Alan Hull
RT .041 - ET 7.545 - MPH 169.85
Nostalgia Eliminator 2
Champion - #727M Tom Mardis
RT .102 - ET 8.627 - MPH 157.45
Runner Up - #7477 Miguel Lomas
RT .040 - ET 8.551 - MPH 152.23
Nostalgia Eliminator 3
Champion - #7720 Rick Harrison
RT .050 - ET 9.508 - MPH 139.89
Runner Up - #Q711 Troy Moyle
RT .084 - ET 9.499 - MPH 138.90
Champion - #711R Brian Rogers
RT .015 - ET 7.597 - MPH 179.28
Runner Up - #7931 Chris Beanes
RT .018 - ET 7.590 - MPH 179.95
Champion - #7589 Cliff Boyles
RT .007 - ET 8.591 - MPH 161.19
Runner Up - #758M Michael Boss
RT -.008 - ET 8.638 - MPH 157.39
Champion - #7708 Todd Lindgren
RT .040 - ET 9.601 - MPH 141.46
Runner Up - #N726 Neal Westbrook
RT .013 - ET 9.597 - MPH 139.10
Champion - #R785 Sam Tucker
RT .058 - ET 10.580 - MPH 126.93
Runner Up - #152 Bryson Kleeman
RT .039 - ET 10.570 - MPH 127.51
Champion - #7485 James Kirkman
RT .049 - ET 10.221 - MPH 131.00
Runner Up - #R755 Eric Christianson
RT .077 - ET 10.718 - MPH 123.95
2013 March Meet - Young Repeats and Boychuk finds Redemption
Weather and the March Meet go hand in hand. Someone posted on Facebook “It wouldn't be the March Meet without a little rain.” And indeed mother nature showed that she still could have her say, for a little while. After a rained out Friday and a delayed start on Saturday, fuel qualifying and eliminations got underway for the 2013 March Meet.
Everyone was anxious to get started racing at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. During Thursday's test session, Top Fuel Driver Tony Bartone blasted off a 5.561 with an early shut off. He was 217 mph at half track and coasted through the lights at 220 mph having obviously clicked it somewhere past half track. This was the fastest ET for a FED to date. The pass was made during a test session so the number won't go into the books, but it sure was a booming start to the weekend.
At the end of a cold Saturday of qualifying, Jim Young had poked the Crop Duster in the number 1 slot with a 5.68 @ 245.18 mph just in front of a determined and hard running Denver Schutz. Schutz started eliminations from the #2 spot with a 5.736 @ 255.25 mph. Rick White was right on his heels with a 5.738. Series champion Adam Sorokin could manage no better than a 13.807 as the Champion Speed car had massive tire problems and never got a good pass during qualifying.
Round 1 of Top Fuel saw Jim Young take on Adam Sorokin. On paper this should have been over before it started but the Champion Speed Shop guys showed why they won the championship last year and gave the Crop Duster a scare with a stout 5.873 @ 240.77 mph. Young clicked a 5.656 @ 264.44 to send Sorokin and the guys packing.
Meanwhile Denver Schutz drew #11 qualifier Tony Bartone in round 1. Bartone was unable to post a huge qualifying number like his pass on Thursday, but everyone knew what the car was capable of and this first round for Schutz wasn’t going to be easy. Bartone beat Schutz off the line but slowed to a 5.98 @ 201.58 mph while Denver ran a 5.71 @ 246.30 mph to get to round 2.
4 time March Meet winner Jim Murphy qualified 7th place with a 6.068 @ 211.49 mph and faced #6 Bill Dunlap in round 1. Bill fouled at the start and Jim took a shot at lane choice with a 5.90 @ 215.20.
Rick White went to the next round when #10 qualifier Howard Haight broke. #4 Rick McGee got past #9 Larry Gotelli Jr. with a 5.745 @ 228.00 mph to Larry’s 6.207 @ 189.90 mph. Rick WIlliamson drilled a .036 light to click a 5.807 @ 227.88 mph to Ron August Jr.’s 6.00 @ 237.55 mph.
Rick White, Rick McGee and Rick Williamson all advanced to round 2 making it pretty easy for the tower announcers as round 2 had 3 Ricks, 2 Jims and a Denver thrown in just to mess up the scheme.
White and McGee squared off in round 2 with an amazing side by side pass with White running down McGee after a late get away. White clicked a 5.675 @ 258.57 mph to McGee’s 5.766 @ 214.93 mph.
Young and Murphy paired up next with Murphy putting age and treachery to use on the light with a .022 reaction time, but the Young piloted Crop Duster ran down the WW2 digger. Young ran a 5.689 @ 266.11 mph to Murphy’s 5.802 @ 254.40 mph.
Denver clicked off a 5.654 @ 254.86 to beat Williamson’s 6.402 @ a slowing 164.45 mph.
In round 3 Jim Young would get the bye for a trip to the finals as Denver Schutz and Rick White faced off. Schutz’ digger ran hard for the first 1000 feet but fell off in the top end as White tried to run him down, but Denver crossed the stripe first with a 5.692 @ 243.94 mph as White was charging with a 5.766 @ 252.80 mph. Young took a shot at lane choice but struck the tires and coasted through with a 8.008 @ 97.58 mph. The finals were set. Young vs Schutz.
For Denver, a trip to the finals was a long way from 2012 when his dragster drove into tire shake and drifted out of the groove in qualifying. The digger then went cone hunting, collecting the ⅛ mile cone just about square on the nose. Denver wrestled the car back into his lane getting the beast up on 2 wheels and slapping the wall before throwing the laundry out and bringing the adventure to a close. Denver wasn’t hurt, but it was a quick end to his weekend.
Jim Young was a long way from his house in Salem, Wisconsin, but he obviously feels right at home in Bakersfield, piloting the Frank and Debra Ousley owned Crop Duster to the finals 2 years in a row. Holding the #1 qualifying spot would do him little good as Denver had lane choice going into the finals late Sunday afternoon.
Neither team or driver was going to leave anything on the line. Young was relegated to the right lane as Denver chose the left lane. No one had won in the right lane all day. As the cars blasted away from the starting line it looked dead even. Both cars left hard and sashayed down the groove with header flames belching into the twilight sky. At the stripe it was Jim Young in the Crop Duster running his best ET of eliminations; 5.651 at a thundering 269.08 mph to beat Denver’s 5.703 @ 242.15
“Nothing beats this,” Young said. “Two in a row. The car ran flawless and the crew did a great job. The chassis worked good and the track was great. I can’t say enough about the crew and Frank tuning, and the Neil and Parks chassis. It’s awesome. Ousley Racing really has it going on.”
34 Nitro Funny Cars showed up for the 16 car field at the 2013 March Meet. Tricky qualifying conditions after Friday’s rain pushed the bump to 6.021 with Rian Konno locking in the #16 spot. There were some serious hitters that failed to qualify for the 16 car shootout as everyone tried to come to grips with the conditions. At the end of Q2 Jason Rupert had climbed to the top of the pile with a 5.702 @ 254.47 mph with #2 Ron Capps and #3 Steven Densham close on his heels. As the slug fest began Sunday morning it was quickly apparent that low 5.80s or .70s was what it was going to take to survive to the next round.Mark Sanders began his comeback from a nasty 2012 qualifying accident with a brand new car tuned by his Son Jake Sanders. #10 qualifier Mark Sanders would face off with # 7 qualifier Dan Horan. Sanders would turn on the win light with a 5.765 @ 251.53 to Horan’s 5.803 @ 254.04 pretty much setting the standard for the close competition in the funny car field.
Will Martin was lucky to be at the March Meet after a freak driveline issue in testing before the race left the Jam Air team in limbo. CP-Carrillo stepped in to help get the team to the race. 25 years ago team founder John Martin won the last “Modern Day” March Meet and set the track ET record in nitro funny car. John is currently battling health issues pulling him away from the business and race team. Martin qualified the Jam Air car in the #13 spot.
”I don’t think a race means more to me than the upcoming March Meet,” said the younger Martin. “We almost pulled the plug on testing and the first few races due to dad’s health. However, dad, being the true racer he is, said go test and get ready to kick butt, so that’s what we are trying to do.”
Round 1 paired WIll Martin against # 4 qualifier Chad Head. Head promptly sent the Jam Air team home with a strong 5.752 @ 253.09 mph to Martin’s 6.075 @ 207.08 mph.
#5 John Hale defeated #12 Dennis LaCharite. Hale running 5.818 @ 248.98 mph to Dennis’ 5.950 @ 245.72 mph
Ron Capps drew #15 Garrett Bateman in round 1.
“Winning here would go so much deeper than a trophy or the win,” Capps said. “This is one of the races I never missed as a kid. Whether my dad raced or not, I was always with him as a kid.”
Capps defeated Bateman. 5.838 @ 244.92 mph to Bateman’s 6.034 @ 237.09 mph.
#14 Roger Garten got a free ride into round 2 when #3 qualifier Steven Densham couldn’t make the call. Garten clocked a 5.975 @ 250.46 mph.
Del Worsham drew heavy hitter #11 James Day in the battle of the Arrows. Del winning this round with a 5.775 @250.46 mph over Day’s 6.080 @221.74 mph.
Tim Boychuk was on a mission to prove that last years trip to the finals wasn't a fluke. After being stripped of the win last year when the fuel pump failed post race scrutiny, the Canadian set his sights on making everything right again. First in line was #9 Robert Overholser. Boychuk had qualified in the #8 spot with a 5.852, Overholser in the #9 slot with a 5.869 a difference of 0.017. As the two staged, no one could call this one. Side by side the floppers roared off to the finish line with Boychuk edging out Overholser with a 5.753 @ 252.43 mph to Overholser’s losing 5.858 @ 246.30 mph.
In round 2 Roger Garten upset Del Worsham in a side by side duel to the stripe. Garten running a 5.804 @ 244.21 mph to Worsham’s 5.851 @ 246.89 mph.
Boychuk paired up with #1 qualifier Jason Rupert. Rupert struck the tires and Boychuk ran a 5.859 @ 239.06 mph as Rupert coasted through the lights with a 9.904 @ 85.27 mph.
Head defeated Hale as Hale smoked the tires. Head running a 5.709 @ 254.18 mph to Hale’s 9.057 @ 98.63 mph.Ron Capps and Mark Sanders squared off in round 2. Sanders was a little late on the light but the Mustang ran hard and clicked the lights with a 5.863 @ 238.55 mph to Capp’s tire shaking pass of 6.239 @ 219.19
Round 3 had Sanders vs Garten for a trip to the finals. Sanders and Garten left side by side. Sanders with a RT of .148 and Garten with a RT of .149. At the stripe it was Sanders by a nose. Sanders’ winning 5.858 @ 238.09 to Garten’s 5.873 @ 245.94 mph.
Boychuk and Head lined up for a showdown, but just as Head came up on the rev’s the clutch pedal broke and he rolled through the staging lights. Boychuk caught it out of the corner of his eye and aborted his pass. Boychuk rolled out the top at 12.8 @ 65 mph. He would not get lane choice against Sanders.
As Boychuk and Sanders came back to the line for the finals the air was electric around the racetrack. No matter who won, it was going to be epic. Sanders coming back from a hard crash in qualifying last year and Boychuk proving last year was no fluke. Everyone was on their feet as the nitro fumes hung in the still evening air. The ambers went out and the the 2 floppers leaped from the starting line. But by 60 feet it was over. Sanders’ Mustang had twisted the splines out of the drive shaft. Boychuk’s Firebird was on a bender clicking the lights with a 5.814 @ 249.21 mph. Sanders’ Mustang limped down the 1320 feet by sheer willpower.
“It’s a good feeling after last year’s fiasco and to get it done again was just perfect,” said Boychuk. “Feeling a bit of redemption here.”
Sanders was elated with his runner-up results. “We are on Cloud 8 -- Cloud 9 if we’d won -- but it took a year for me to come back, and six months for my kid Jake to build this car and body. We are back and this is a great way to start it off!”
Group 1 and 2 Results -
A/Fuel was an emotional round for the Waters crew. The legendary Tony Waters passed away in December 2012. Darrell Waters had been to the finals before only to be denied the victory. Waters qualified #1 and was paired up Bill Wayne in the finals on Monday. Both drivers were on the wheel with Waters trailing Wayne off the line by a 1/100 of a second. Waters ran him down running 6.352 @ 220.58 mph just nipping Wayne’s 6.432 @ 211.69.
Wayne Ramey survived the Jr/Fuel eliminations meeting Richard Brady in the finals. Brady went red and Ramey ran a 7.046 @ 187.68 mph on a 6.98 dial in.
Michael Peck battled through the 23 car 7.0Pro class to take the win over Bobby Cottell in the final round. Peck wins with a 7.027 @ 166.91mph on a 7.0 index. Cottrell had problems and coasted through the lights 18.88 @ 39 mph.
NE1 - 7.60 Index
Winner - Danny Schrokosch 7.627 @ 167.93mph.
Runner Up - Steve Schoenfeld 7.631 @ 165.76 mph.
NE2 - 8.60 Index
Winner - Rick Nordness 8.611 @ 145.69 mph.
Runner Up - Jason Francev 8.550 @ 154.67 mph (Broke out).
NE3 - 9.60 Index
Winner - Roger Turley 9.539 @ 135.67
Runner Up - Lindsey Lister 9.507 @ 134.60 mph.
A/Gas - 7.60 Index
Winner - Dean Hill 7.551 @ 183.49 mph.
Runner Up- Ray Padgett 7.604 @ 180.14 mph. Foul -.003
B/Gas - 8.60 Index
Winner - John Saliani 8.612 @ 157.37 mph.
Runner Up- Kevin Riley - 8.584 @ 151.41 (Broke out)
C/Gas - 9.60 Index
Winner - Ken Brown 9.576 @ 130.48 mph.
Runner Up- Jason Barta 9.544 @ 137.13 mph.
D/Gas - 10.60 Index
Winner - Ed Carey 10.681 @ 120.83 mph.
Runner Up- David Mallory 10.753 @ 124.51 mph.
Winner - Alan Ross 10.355 @ 129.38 mph on a 10.37 dial inRunner Up- Bill Smith Jr. 11.981 @ 113.45 mph on 11.99 dial in. Went red by -.078
Auto Club Famoso Raceway
33559 Famoso Rd.
McFarland CA. 93250
Office/Fax - (844) 34NITRO (844-346-4876)