October 15, 2014, AA/FD HQ—Despite having their buttocks handed to them all year by an East Coast interloper, California-based Top Fuel teams will endeavor to save face and salvage their season. They have one race remaining on the 2014 NHRA Heritage Series schedule that they can use as a means for revenge: this weekend’s California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway, north of Bakersfield. Their target: Tony Bartone.
By virtue of sweeping all four Heritage Series events so far, New York-based dragster driver Tony Bartone has earned the NHRA Heritage Series Title. That much is settled, as is 2nd place, a position claimed by Wisconsin resident, Jim Young, who has netted runner-up results in three races already. What is up for grabs is the Reunion Event win laurels, and the California crowd maintains it is theirs, almost as birthright.
The East Coast? The Midwest? New York? Wisconsin? Those states could be on another planet as far as the West Coast-centric AA/Fuel Dragster scene is concerned.
Among the California dragster drivers who have the best shot of not only upending Bartone’s undefeated streak are racers like Adam Sorokin in the explosive Chevy-powered “Champion Speed Shop” entry, Jim Murphy in the always stout “WW2” dragster as well as Denver Schutz in the fierce “RE3” machine.
During last year’s action-packed California Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel Eliminator, Sorokin and Schutz see-sawed for the event win, and after a near-collision at the finish line, the victory was taken by Sorokin. Earlier that afternoon, Murphy claimed the 2013 Heritage Series Points Title. This year Murphy might have to settle for third place, and even that is up for grabs. And Sorokin and Schutz don’t need to drive around each other — they need to get drive around Bartone. -30–