September 16, 2014, AA/FD HQFor the fourth time in as many events, this weekend an undefeated Tony Bartone helmed the “Bartone Bros.” AA/Fuel Dragster to yet another win in Top Fuel Eliminator, in this instance at the New England Reunion in Epping, New Hampshire. Moreover, for the fourth consecutive race this year the New York-based Bartone also set both Low ET and Top Speed of the Meet. His command of the class has been so thorough that with one race still left on the NHRA Heritage Series schedule, Bartone has already claimed the 2014 Points Title.

“People think we just showed up and dominated,” Bartone explained, when asked about the effort it took his team to reach this level of virtuosity. “In all honestly this is our fifth year of competition. We kept developing the program until we got it right.”

Indeed, the New England Reunion was another exercise in humbling the rest of the class. At Epping, Bartone qualified in the #1 position, with a ¼-mile elapsed time of 5.73, coupled with a Top Speed of 236-mph. In the final round of eliminations, Bartone had improved those numbers while dispatching #2 qualifier Jim Young, with a 5.70 at a blistering top-end trap speed of 271 mph to Young’s second-best 5.89. To his credit, Young and his “Tri-State Racing” Chevy-powered fueler made Bartone earn the victory, after Young left first with a .058 reaction time to Tony’s relatively tardy .108 starting line light. Young still had a wheel out on Tony at 1000’, but Bartone marched around his tenacious competitor.

But tenacity is a word also applicable to the Bartones.

“Somebody coined the phrase that this is a ‘California-centric’ series, and it is a California-based thing, but we went to them all,” Bartone said. “My brother (Michael) and I made a commitment to run all the events.”

That dedication paid off. But even after running the proverbial table four races in a row and clutching the 2014 Heritage Series Points Title trophy, the Steve Boggs-tuned entry of the Bartone Brother isn’t done.

In reference to the upcoming season-closing California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway, Bartone said he’d be there.

“It’s on the schedule,” he confirmed.

His reason for towing all the way across the country to California one more time?

“We want to sweep the series,” he said. “That would be something in itself.”

The California-based teams have been put on notice. They have one more opportunity to save face, and possibly extract a little revenge. Arguably, the damage has already been done. But none of the West Coast Top Fuel teams want to see Bartone finish the season undefeated.Cole Coonce— (c/o )











September 11, 2014, AA/FD HQWith two races left on this year’s NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series schedule, all-conquering AA/Fuel Dragster driver Tony Bartone arrives in New England Dragway this weekend poised to clinch the 2014 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Points Title.

Thus far this year the New York-based Bartone Brothers and their crew have traveled across the USA to Bakersfield, Boise and Bowling Green, laying waste to all comers. They not only swept these races — meaning they have won every single round of competition this year — but have also posted Top Speed and Low Elapsed Time each time. All of that domination must be exhausting. Luckily for the Bartone boys, this weekend the Long Island City residents have a relatively short commute of 250 miles to the NHRA New England Reunion in Epping, New Hampshire.

Upon arrival there, Tony hopes to finish off the field and win the Points Title. The Heritage Series Top Fuel points are tallied by any driver claiming his best four finishes out of five possible events. With his current lead of 127 points, a New England Reunion semi-final finish for Bartone means he will be impossible to catch. 

One drivers who hopes to thwart Bartone’s plans — or at least delay the inevitable — is Wisconsin-based drag racer Jim Young, who is second in points. In New Hampshire, Young will be driving the Chevrolet-powered “Tri-State Racing” entry of Stephen and Ernest McClain.

 To claim the Points Title Young will have to win the next two events and Bartone would have to lose first round, or not qualify at one or both remaining meets. With that in mind, Young is not above resorting to chicanery and disinformation.

“I told Bartone that the race was rescheduled to the week after,” Young said. “So maybe he won’t show.” 

If Bartone fell for Young’s gambit, as soon as he checks his text messages and finds out the truth he will only have to haul his operation a couple of hours to Epping. If this year’s performance on the dragstrip is any indicator, he’d make it there in record time. -30-

 (c/o )