THE FLOGGING CONTINUES IN BOISE: BARTONE STILL UNDEFEATED IN 2014

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August 11, 2014, AA/FD HQ—Despite a series of determined efforts by his competitors to staunch this year’s proverbial bleeding, at the Pepsi Nightfire Nationals in Boise, Idaho front-engine Top Fuel Dragster driver Tony Bartone won his third straight NHRA Heritage Series event and continued his merciless assault on anybody standing between himself and the 2014 Points Title.

Before the clutch dust settled in Boise on Sunday night, there was no shortage of optimism and bravado amongst Bartone’s adversaries.

“We want him first round,” driver Jim Young said, before adding: “Go big or go home.” Young, who was a distant second in the 2014 Heritage Series Top Fuel points, qualified in the #1 position at Boise with a ¼-mile elapsed time of 5.80 seconds and saw this race as an opportunity to upend Bartone and salvage his season. Others echoed Young’s sentiments. “Tell anybody that will listen, we are going to win this thing,” declared Frank Ousley, engine consultant on Jim Murphy’s “WW2” entry, who was slotted 3rd in the points race. “We want this next one!!!” the head of the “Champion Speed Shop” team texted, moments before lining up against Bartone in the semi-final round.

All strong words. None of which mattered. Deaf to the dissent and the bluster, Bartone continued his undefeated streak, and has now won ten straight rounds of drag racing in 2014. At Boise, after qualifying second with a 5.83 at 261 mph, Bartone drove around Ron August (5.85 to 6.13), Adam Sorokin (5.90 to 6.12) and finally Young, (5.76 to 6.39). In each of these heats, Bartone lazily spotted his competition the lead at the hit, and then furiously gave chase while relying upon his Steve Boggs-provided horsepower to blast by the other racer and get to the finish line first. The last round against Young was the most demoralizing to the other racers. Bartone’s 5.76-second clocking stood for Low ET of the Nightfire Nationals, and his trap-speed of 267 mph earned him Top Speed of the Meet laurels.

Which is merely following form for the Long Island City, New York-based racer. Bartone has not only not lost in 2014, in each event he also set Low ET and Top Speed. In short, Tony is crushing it.

And now, with two events left this year, and with Young and Murphy’s Points Title hopes not only unlikely but a very distant mathematical possibility, the remaining drama in the Heritage Series comes to this: Will Tony Bartone go perfect for the season? -30—

(The next event in the NHRA Heritage Top Fuel Series is the New England Hot Rod Reunion, September 12-14 at Epping, New Hampshire.)

 

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SPOILER ALERT: SOROKIN AND CHAMPION TO STALK AA/FUELERS IN BOISE

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Champion Speed Shop lights up Boise, Idaho.

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August 7, 2014, AA/FD HQ—Despite a start-and-stop 2014 season, Adam Sorokin, driver of the Chevy-powered “Champion Speed Shop” AA/Fuel Dragster, is spooling up to spoil the hopes of his competition at this weekend’s Pepsi Nightfire Nationals in Boise, Idaho.

Sorokin welcomes the challenge of taking down the likes of Tony Bartone, a New York-based dragster driver who has dominated the front-engine Top Fuel circuit thus far in 2014 with back-to-back wins at the Bakersfield March Meet and Bowling Green, Kentucky.

“We can run well at Boise,” Sorokin said. “That track doesn’t necessarily reward the big-power cars, but the one that can get down the track at the end of the night. The trick is being there at the end.”

In 2014 Sorokin posted a semi-final finish in Bakersfield, but the team opted to skip Bowling Green.

“After the March Meet, we were only 3 or 4 points from being in 3rd place in the championship,” Sorokin said. “Not going to Bowling Green hurt us points-wise and dropped us to 8th. So not really being in contention for another championship, we just want to win the remaining races.”

Last week the team underwent private tests to raise performance and lower expenses.

“We’ve been working to get the combination to reduce the work the guys have to do between rounds and stop forcing us to pay these piston manufacturers so much of our money!” Sorokin exclaimed.

With three races left on the calendar, Sorokin is poised to upend the hopes of anybody in his way, meaning not only Bartone’s but also those of Jim Young, who is second in points and tenaciously giving chase.

At Boise, Young will be in his third different dragster in as many races. Having towed his own small-block Chevy-powered fueler from his home in Wisconsin to Bakersfield in March, and then commandeering the McClain’s Brothers’ big-block Bowtie rail at Kentucky in June, this weekend Young will be stabbing and steering a Chrysler-derivative Hemi.

“(This is my) first hemi,” Young confirmed, while thanking Utah-based dragster owner Steve Harwood for the opportunity to remain in contention for the Top Fuel Title. “I hope the wick’s longer than a Chevy’s.”

Despite long odds of catching the 2014 AA/FD Heritage Series Points leader, Young remains cagey and optimistic. “I hope to face Bartone in the first round. Go big or go home.”

In the way of Sorokin, Young and Bartone’s aspirations will be a cluster of California-based hitters, including, Jim Murphy, Rick White, Rick Williamson, and Terry Cox.

One factor working for Young: The Harwood-prepped “Nitro-Hemi” entry won Top Fuel at Boise last year. One factor is Sorokin’s favor: He likes upsetting apple carts, only to see which way the apples roll.