“High Speed Motorsports” wins the Mastercam Top Fuel Shootout. (photo by Ted Soqui)

“Good Vibrations’ Saturday Night Nitro,” Auto Club Famoso Raceway, September 19, 2015—For the second time this summer, front-engine Top Fuel virtuoso Bill Dunlap zoomed ahead of Rick White and captured the Title in the winner-take-all Mastercam Top Fuel Shootout in Bakersfield.

By virtue of his .044 second reaction time in his “High Speed Motorsports” machine, Dunlap launched ahead of the always-powerful “Neal & White Racing” dragster and was not to be caught.

“I didn’t see him until I pulled the parachutes and he blasted by me,” Dunlap said. “So I knew it had to be close.”

Dunlap won the event on skill and desire; indeed, his 5.75-second quarter-mile elapsed time with a top-end speed of 240 mph was inferior to the 5.73 that engine maestro Chuck Neal provided for his driver. Despite Dunlap’s holeshot, White never gave up, as evidenced by Rick’s speed of 247 mph.

Earlier, in the “all-run” first round of eliminations which determined the two quickest cars that would meet in the Shootout final, Dunlap laid down a Low ET 5.63 at 251 mph to drive around Jim Murphy, who cranked out a 5.69 at 238 mph in his Roland Leong-tuned “WW2” rail. Next, Rick White posted a 5.76 at a thundering 256 mph — numbers which stood for Top Speed of the Meet — to upend Champion Speed Shop’s 6.06. And finally, after Bret Williamson suffered from a trashed clutch earlier that afternoon in the “Forever Young” entry and missed showtime, Rick McGee singled to a 6.09 in his “Overtime Special.”

Because of their respective times of 5.63 and 5.69, the final round of the Mastercam Top Fuel Shootout was to be a rematch between Dunlap and Murphy.

Unfortunately, WW2 had endured crankshaft issues all day and couldn’t make the call. White was the alternate and gave Bill Dunlap nearly all he could handle, but fell short of upending High Speed, who have won half of the events they have entered this year.

The AA/Fuel Dragsters wrap up their season next month at the California Hot Rod Reunion, also at Famoso. If the numbers and the action from the Shootout are any barometers, it should be some rather fierce competition.



Champion Speed Shop (photo by Ted Soqui)

Champion Speed Shop (photo by Ted Soqui)

Good Vibrations’ Saturday Night Nitro, “Mastercam Top Fuel Shootout,” Auto Club Famoso Raceway, September 17, 2015—As the sun begins to set on a season that has been spectacular, somber and sometimes frustrating, this Saturday night Adam Sorokin will saddle up in his fiery Champion Speed Shop dragster in Bakersfield and shoot it out with a half-dozen of the finest AA/Fuelers from all parts of California.

Sorokin has some unfinished business in Bakersfield: Earlier this year, in an explosive, ferocious finale Sorokin came within a burnt eyelash of winning the prestigious March Meet here and now aims to not only claim Saturday’s Mastercam Top Fuel Shootout, but also to use the entire “Saturday Night Nitro” event as an exercise to lengthen the fuse on his Chevy-powered race car.

“We’ve been trying to get further down the track and reduce our parts carnage,” Sorokin said. “We just have to stop the present parts attrition situation we’ve been having. We’re getting there, but we need laps.”

Beyond the pragmatism of Sorokin’s team keeping its powder dry this weekend at Famoso Raceway, there is also a poignancy to its pursuit of perfection. For Champion, this isn’t just a gunfight… this is also a salute.

“We intend to honor our recently departed teammate, Jeff Stich,” Sorokin said, in reference to veteran Champion Speed Shop pit-crew leader Stich who passed away after a sprint-car pit accident on September 5th. “He’s irreplaceable. He made us a better team. We’re not gonna’ limit honoring him to just one race, though. He will continue to be a part of the team as long as there’s a Champion Speed Shop race car.”

Joining South San Francisco’s Champion entry for the Mastercam Top Fuel Shootout will be Jim Murphy’s “WW2” rail out of Santa Rosa, the Tedford & McGee “Overtime Special” from Kern County, San Diego’s “Neal & White Racing” and the Bay Area-based “Forever Young” machine, as well as defending Shootout winner “High Speed Motorsports” out of Orange County.

Saturday’s action-packed Top Fuel Eliminator format is simple: All front-engine Top Fuelers run at 7:30 and the two quickest return at 10:00 in a winner-take-all “shootout” sponsored by Mastercam.

Also on the marquee during what the track is calling “Fan Appreciation Night” are over a dozen AA/Funny Cars and as many as ten AA/Fuel Altereds. -30–


2015 Saturday Night Nitro @ Famoso – September 19


Saturday Only Tickets $20
Kids 12 & Under Free
Gates Open 8am
Time Trials & Qualifying as called starting 10am till 6pm
Saturday Night Nitro Parade 6:30pm
Saturday Night Nitro 7pm Qualifying
Saturday Night Nitro 9:30pm Funny Car Quick 8, Fuel Altered Quick 4, Top Fuel Quick 2
Run Order – Funny Car/Fuel Altered/Top Fuel/Jet Cars Close the Show
Secure Track