HERITAGE SERIES TOP FUEL STORMS NHRA VEGAS STAGE

Las Vegas, Nevada – The All-American Fuel Dragsters coalition has dispatched a quartet of 260-mph front-engine Nostalgia Top Fuel ambassadors to the NHRA Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway October 25th-28th. Four teams spanning three generations of AA/Fuel drag racing are slated to run three special exhibition sessions and bring the fans a taste of Top Fuel, NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series-style.

At Vegas, Adam Sorokin will drive the Champion Speed Shop small-block Chevrolet powered AA/Fuel dragster, Bret Williamson will strap into the Mike Fuller Motorsports Forever Young Hemi, and young Tyler Hilton — backed by his father Robert Hilton and grandmother Alison Lee — will pilot the big-block Chevrolet powered Great Expectations III machine. California Hot Rod Reunion winner and 2018 NHRA Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel champion Mendy Fry will drive the Tom Shelar-tuned High Speed Motorsports Hemi-powered juggernaut.

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To the uninitiated, what makes this class unique is not just the bravado of the drivers sitting behind 3500-horsepower blown-on-nitro motors during fierce, spectacular competition (as showcased at NHRA Hot Rod Reunions), but also its connection to NHRA’s heritage. 2nd-generation driver Adam Sorokin’s father Mike Sorokin was the “shoe” of the legendary “Surfers” Top Fuel car in the 1960s. Williamson’s father Don Williamson was a first-wave Funny Car racer with his “Hairy Canary” Valiant. Mendy grew up in her dad Ron Fry’s NorCal-based chassis shop, and Jim & Allison Lee’s campaigned their first “Great Expectations” AA/Fuel Dragster in 1965.

Because of these competitors connection to the sport’s past as well as its commitment to the sport’s future, AAFD President and Champion Speed Shop owner Bob McLennan has spearheaded the effort to bring Top Fuel drag racing heritage to Las Vegas. “The All-American Fuel Dragsters association has been making great strides with our Nostalgia Top Fuel class in 2018. We’re honored to run AA/Fuel dragsters at an NHRA national series event and hope the fans enjoy some front-engine Top Fuel from the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series.”

Nostalgia Top Fuel is currently scheduled to run following Friday’s 12:30 PM Funny Car and Top Fuel Q-1 session, Saturday’s 12:30 PM Top Fuel and Funny Car Q-2 session, and preceding the Parade of Champions and Finals on Sunday. As always, the schedule subject to change. Tune into the NHRA Toyota Nationals on FOX or NHRA All Access for Mello Yello Racing Series competition and the unique appearance of Nostalgia Top Fuel from the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series.

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MENDY FRY WINS REUNION FOR THREE-PEAT AND NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY

CHRR18-6BAKERSFIELD, California – Mendy Fry drove into the 27th California Hot Rod Reunion with the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel championship already in hand and drove the High-Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel Dragster over the finish line for the event win. Her Top Fuel victory at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield marked a three-peat season clincher for Fry and the team after successive wins the National Hot Rod Reunion and Nightfire Nationals.

“We lost only one round of racing this year, ran the table on Low ET and Top Speed at every event except for Top Speed at the National Hot Rod Reunion. I’d say Tom Shelar and the crew have it dialed in. My team gave me the car to beat, and I didn’t screw it up. So this win is theirs. I’m just glad they picked me.” said Mendy.

Fry drove the High-Speed Motorsports dragster to number one position in explosive qualifying rounds and set event Low ET and Top Speed with a 5.55-second, 261 MPH Semi-Final win. Fry took the event win with a hard-charging 5.61 ET at 259 MPH over Rick McGee, who launched the Overtime Special to a 5.74 ET at 256 MPH for Runner Up. The final round was a dramatic conclusion to the 2018 Hot Rod Heritage season following a frenetic weekend of Top Fuel qualifying and racing action at the California Hot Rod Reunion.

BY THE NUMBERS

Through three Top Fuel qualifying sessions, some drivers saw newfound success and others met surprising disappointment as teams pushed to run the numbers while chasing Fry and the remarkably consistent High-Speed Motorsports entry. Dan Horan Jr. blasted out of the gate with a 5.87 ET at 253 MPH but hurt the Fritz Kaiser-tuned late-model Hemi in the Second Session. Irreparable damage to Horan’s mount brought Tyler Hilton and the Great Expectations III back into the show from the bump with his 5.90 ET and 255 MPH qualifying Top Speed.

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The qualifying shocker was 2017 Heritage Series Champion and Event Honoree Jim Murphy, who was unable to get the WW2 entry into the show. After missing the tune-up twice, Adam Sorokin lit the candles down the entire quarter-mile and blasted the Champion Speed small-block Chevrolet fueler into the running with a 5.72 at 243 MPH in Session Three. Dusty Green pedaled Steve Harwood’s Nitro Hemi to no avail after an extended Session Three cleanup and considerable track temperature drop. 2017 California Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel winner Jim Young drove the Young Guns into the number two qualifier spot.

BATTLE AT BAKERSFIELD

Round One Eliminations opened with Rick McGee pedaling his way into the Semi-Final with a 6.07 ET at 222 MPH after Jim Young red lit in the Young Guns dragster. Mendy Fry belted out a 5.58-second 258 MPH win over Tyler Hilton who extracted a 6.30 ET at 251 MPH out of the big-block Chevrolet. Pete Wittenberg moved on with a 5.73 ET at 244 MPH on a single after Rick White and Chuck Neal could not get their dragster out of reverse after the backup. Adam Sorokin took the win with an explosive 5.88 ET at 213 MPH after Bret Williamson got loose and the Forever Young went up in smoke.

CHRR18-10Number seven qualifier Rick McGee launched the Overtime Special into the final with a 5.74 ET at 233 MPH over Adam Sorokin who ran side-by-side up to the 1000-foot mark for a 6.00 ET at 182 MPH. In a March Meet final round rematch with an alternate outcome, Mendy Fry pushed the High-Speed Motorsports fueler to event low ET with a 5.55-second, 261-MPH run as Pete Wittenberg clipped a cone for a DQ and 6.15 ET at 169-MPH. Rick McGee grabbed the green in the final with a .036 reaction time in the Overtime Special but Fry charged hard past the 300-ft mark for the 5.61 ET at 259 MPH victory over McGee, who lit up the clocks with a 5.74 ET at 256 MPH for Runner-Up, closing out the 2018 season until the 2019 Bakersfield March Meet.

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Photos Arlene Eliason and High-Speed Motorsports

MENDY FRY WINS TOP FUEL BATTLE AT BOWLING GREEN

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Mendy Fry drove the High-Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel dragster to victory over Jim Young and the Young Guns in a fierce Top Fuel final at the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Mendy Fry took the Top Fuel win in the High-Speed Motorsports dragster at the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion with a 5.72 ET at 252 MPH over Jim Young, who ran a 5.84 ET at 256 MPH. The final round was a dramatic conclusion to three days of sweltering racing action as front-engine Top Fuel contenders fought for a slot in eight car eliminations. Fry and Young tossed the lead back and forth until everything changed at half track. “He left on me with a .78 light to a .134 light. The lead changed a few times. The incrementals were pretty close until about half track and then I didn’t see him until I pulled the chutes!”

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Mendy Fry and Jim Young in Qualifying at the 2018 Holley National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Runner-up Jim Young took the Young Guns dragster from the number two qualifying slot into the decider and posted event Top Speed even after getting out of the groove and drifting towards the wall before crossing the stripe at 256 MPH. “It got away from me a little bit”, said the Wisconsin-based contender, who didn’t make the decision to head out to Bowling Green until the Sunday before the race. Young also grabbed Top Speed in qualifying with a 254 MPH blast and has his eyes on pushing the Young Guns dragster to 270 MPH.

bowling-green-fuel-23Mendy Fry credited her victory to Crew Chief Tom Shelar and the High-Speed Motorsports dragster team for taming often unpredictable nitromethane with race-winning consistency from number one qualifier to the winner’s circle. “It was a bracket car all weekend. He knows how to read this track. In this heat, the track is 150 degrees and it’s greasy. He gave me a car that could win.” Fry’s victory at Bowling Green puts her at number one in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Top Fuel points championship heading into race three of the 5-race series.

TOP FUEL ELIMINATIONS

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Top Fuel Eliminations kicked off on a 90-plus degree Saturday. Jim Young moved onto the semi-final with a 5.81 ET at 251 MPH over Jason Greenwood, who ran a 6.22 ET at 237 MPH. Mendy Fry took a first round win with a 5.68 ET at 243 MPH over Julius Hughes who got the hole shot with a .043 light and ran a 6.33 ET at 231 MPH after stepping up the Atlanta Speed Shop dragster all weekend. Turbo Tim Cullinan rapped the throttle and cackled the Irish Bomb down the track into the semi-final after a blower belt failure shut Dusty Green down and the Nitro-Hemi was backed out of the box after the burnout. Brendan Murry blasted his 426 hemi-powered Running Wild to a 6.00 at 200 MPH for the win over Adam Sorokin, who struck the tires and pedaled the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet in pursuit to a 6.39 ET at 221 MPH.

SEMI-FINAL RACING ACTION

Dusty Green’s gremlins ambled over to the Irish Bomb in the Top Fuel Semi-Final as Turbo Tim Cullinan was pushed back out of the box with a broken throttle cable and Mendy Fry took the round on a single with a 5.71 ET at 220 MPH. “That’s drag racing”, said Cullinan who qualified in fifth place with a 5.95 ET at 213 MPH. Brendan Murry left on Jim Young but lost traction after the Running Wild made too much power for the tires. “I ran out of track”, said the smiling San Jose, California based Top Fuel racer who was satisfied the Running Wild was back into the 5-second zone and his win against Adam Sorokin and the South San Francisco based Champion Speed Shop.

KENTUCKY FRIED TOP FUEL

bowling-green-fuel-31The Top Fuel fight on the way to the final was as hot as the weather and It was brutally hot at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Eleven Top Fuelers showed up to rumble, but only eight could battle for the title. Diamond Dave Miller ran a 6.14 ET at 166 MPH for the 9th position. Paul Schultz took the Spirit of Tulsa to a 6.54 ET at 194 MPH and tenth position. Tyler Hilton carried the Great Expectations III to a 7.50 ET at 213 MPH as the fearsome sounding big block Chevrolet overpowered the tires.

NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES RACING

Next stop for the All American Fuel Dragster coalition is the 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho August 9th-12th for the third race in the runup towards the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Nostalgia Top Fuel championship title.

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ORIGINAL TOP FUEL SET FOR BATTLE AT BOWLING GREEN

nhrr-top-fuel-14The All American Fuel Dragster coalition is tuned up for original Top Fuel action at the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky on June 14th-16th. A dozen dragster teams are motoring in from across the USA to battle in the second race of the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship and launch front-engine Top Fuel back into the future one 5-second 250 MPH nitro-burning 1/4-mile at a time.

West Coast racers are bringing their original Top Fuel California special blend to Bowling Green. March Meet runner-up Mendy Fry and the High-Speed Motorsports dragster, Dusty Green and the Nitro-Hemi, and Brendan Murry in his Running Wild digger make up the hemi-powered contingent while Adam Sorokin and the South San Francisco-based Champion Speed Shop stand ready to show the Chrysler crowd what their small-block Chevrolet special is capable of.nhrr-top-fuel-16

Ohio’s own Tyler Hilton will strap into the big block Chevrolet-powered Great Expectations III and “Turbo” Tim Cullinan is on the way from Illinois with his Irish Bomb AA/Fuel dragster decked out with a new body, period-perfect paint, and a late-model motor. Following some recent shakeout testing, Julius Hughes is heading in with a 426 Keith Black “elephant” in his Atlanta Speed Shop dragster. Paul Schultz is carrying the hemi-powered Spirit of Tulsa with him from Oklahoma and Wisconsin’s own Jason Greenwood is hoping for a fireball-free Beech Bend weekend. Rounding out the confirmed entries is veteran fuel racer “Diamond” Dave Miller, who will also pound the pavement with this early-model Donovan, and lastly “Mighty” Jim Young, who returns to competition for the first time since cleaning the California cars clocks with his conquest of all comers at last year’s Bakersfield Hot Rod Reunion.

After a rain-soaked March Meet weekend in Bakersfield, everyone is looking forward to torrid Top Fuel racing action and good times at the drags. “The National Hot Rod Reunion at Bowling Green is one of my personal favorites and it’s really fun to race in front of the very enthusiastic crowd that’s always there. I’m definitely looking forward to it. There will be some really strong cars out there”, said Adam Sorokin. Nitro-Hemi driver Dusty Green agrees. “No matter what we will make it a good time. Hopefully, the weather is nice and sweet tea cold”.nhrr-top-fuel-5

More Nitro
The AAFD front-engine Top Fuel dragster coalition will join forces with fire-breathing Fuel Altereds and nitro-huffing Funny Cars at Bowling Green because more nitromethane is better nitromethane. Header flames will burn on into Saturday night after racing action concludes with the nitro-fueled parade and presentation known as the Cacklefest.

Event Grand Marshall Larry Lombardo
Onetime NHRA Pro Stock world champion Larry Lombardo is the 2018 Grand Marshal for the 16th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance. Event honorees include Warhorse Funny Car builder-driver and Little Red Wagon wheelstander Jay Howell, Street Eliminator veteran Bo Laws, former Super Stock and current Nostalgia Pro Stock driver Ed Miller, repeat NHRA Division 3 champ Joe Williamson, and longtime tech director Greg Xakellis. The Honoree’s Reception happens Friday from 6-8 PM at the National Corvette Museum and will feature customs, hot rods, and select Cacklefest cars ready thunder out nitro-fueled history.

Event Schedule:
Holley National Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel action gets underway with session one qualifying on Thursday, June 14th at 3:00. Session two qualifying is scheduled for Friday, June 15th at high noon with session three and final qualifying slated for Friday at 3 PM. Eliminations commence on Saturday at 1 PM. As nitromethane is unpredictable at best the schedule subject to change.

Thursday, June 14th:
Qualifying Session One    3 PM

Friday, June 15th:
Qualifying Session Two    12 PM
Qualifying Final Session    3 PM

Saturday, June 16th:
Round One Eliminations     1 PM
Round Two Eliminations     3:30 PM

All-American Fuel Dragsters and AAFD Explained
If you’re asking yourself just what is the AAFD, then check out this video interview with All American Fuel Dragsters President Bob McLennan and Whit Bazemore from Dragstrip Rumble.

NHRA Hot Rod Heritage
The 16th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway Park is the second salvo in the 5-race battle for the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship. Head on over to www.nhrahotrodheritage.com for an upcoming race schedule, news, points, results, rules and more.

YOUNG WINS CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION – MURPHY COLLECTS HERITAGE SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP

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BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA – Jim Young drove his Young Guns dragster to Top Fuel victory at the California Hot Rod Reunion after Jim Murphy damaged his WW2 AA/Fueler in the Semi-Final and did not return for the Final. Young advanced with methodical determination into a number 3 Qualifying spot, a 5.77 ET at 259 MPH Eliminations win over Rick McGee and Semi-Final win in a tight race against Mendy Fry with a 5.65 ET at 261 MPH blast that set event Top Speed.

Young’s run-it-to-the-stripe tuning strategy paid off for the Wisconsin-based team, who ran their AA/Fuel hemi throughout the weekend without extensive damage. Young plans to refine his winning formula over the Wisconsin winter with an eye on the mid-fives at the upcoming 2018 March Meet. “We’re right there. I know I could hit the 5.50s. We ran the same heads all weekend. Up until the Semi-Finals, we didn’t even have to take the motor apart. It can be done on a budget. Trust us!”

Veteran driver Jim Murphy was hoping for a Top Fuel Trifecta at the Hot Rod Reunion but the runner-up was all smiles after winning the rescheduled Boise Nightfire Nationals Final and taking the 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship. Murphy took the Nightfire Nationals win over Adam Sorokin and #1 Qualifier spot with a 5.65 ET at 249 MPH blast in the rescheduled race that ran during Session 3 Qualifying on Saturday. Murphy’s subsequent 5.74 ET at 226 MPH Eliminations win over Phil Ruskowski set up a second matchup with Sorokin for the Semi-Final.

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Murphy drove out the back door in the Semi-Final with a blazing 5.60 ET at 246 MPH to Sorokin’s 5.72 ET at 241 MPH and clinched the Top Fuel Championship. Unfortunately, the WW2 hemi sacrificed a connecting rod in the process. Chutes out and oiled in, Murphy said he made contact with the wall in the shutdown area. The glancing hit damaged one front wheel, bent the steering, and crumpled a canard. Uncertain of hidden damage Murphy chose not to return for the Final for safety reasons.

Even with a Top Fuel victory at hand, Jim Young and crew worked feverishly in the pits to deliver the Young Guns dragster to its 5.50 ET at 260 MPH tune-up target. What would have been a single for Young turned into a combination Victory Lap and Exhibition Run as Adam Sorokin suited up and climbed into the Champion Speed Shop Special for a side-by-side Top Fuel closer at the 26th NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion. Young ran a 6.31 ET at 137 MPH for an uncontested event win. Sorokin unleashed small block Chevrolet but the tires could not contain full power.

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TOP FUEL FOES TO MEET AGAIN AT CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION

Jim Murphy WW2The All American Fuel Dragsters coalition confirms that a full qualifying field of front-engine AA/Fuel dragsters are staged in for the 8-car Top Fuel Eliminations battle at the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. The Top Fuel tossup at Famoso is the last race for the hotly contested Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel championship title and marks the 26th running of the premier west coast vintage drag racing happening with legendary AA/Fuel racer and longtime NHRA chief starter Rick “The Iceman” Stewart as event Grand Marshal.

nitro-nationals-tulsa-3Current Top Fuel points leader Jim Murphy is gunning for his second championship title in the WW2 dragster with a slim 7-point lead over number two Mendy Fry, who took the Nitro Nationals win in her High Speed Motorsports dragster over Adam Sorokin in his small block Chevrolet-powered Champion Speed Shop fueler at Tulsa Raceway Park. Sorokin sits in the number three spot, but potential points upsets are already in the lanes at Famoso as Sorokin and Murphy will settle their rain-postponed Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel final round score in qualifying prior to eliminations.

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The California-based AA/fuelers face formidable threats from the midwest and challenges from the north. Jim Young is hauling the Young Guns dragster to California from Wisconsin and aiming for another Famoso Top Fuel victory. Ohio’s own Tyler Hilton is headed west after a weekend of footing his big block Chevrolet-powered Great Expectations III AA/Fuel dragster down the quarter mile at the Goodguys Nostalgia Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Phil Ruskowski and the Island Nitro Gang are motoring to Famoso from Canada with their small block Chevrolet-powered Xhibitionist digger.

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Two small blocks and one big block Chevrolet will confront a gathering of hemi-propelled AA/Fuelers for 8-car eliminations. Bret Williamson will strap into the Mike Fuller Forever Young AA/Fuel entry and Pete Wittenburg is back in the saddle of KMA Circuit Breaker hemi following his Top Fuel driving debut at the March Meet. Driver Rick McGee and crew have been putting in the hours on the hemi-powered Overtime Special dragster, and former big block Chevrolet believer Brendan Murry is heading out of the Murry Building in San Jose, California with the Running Wild hemi dragster in tow.

Is there an extra Top Fueler in the house? Number four points position holder Dusty Green will be at Famoso with helmet and hope after the unfortunate news that Steve Harwood and the Nitro Hemi AA/Fuel dragster would not be making the trip over the Rockies for the last race of the season. Last year’s Top Fuel Champion Tony Bartone is reportedly recovering from a back injury but his Hot Rod Heritage Series whereabouts remain mysterious. Longtime Top Fuelers Neil and White might show up to the 26th California Hot Rod Reunion and turn the qualifying field volume up to 11.

The All American Fuel Dragsters will join nitro-huffing Funny Cars, awful AA/Fuel Altereds, front-engine blown alcohol and injected nitro A/Fuel dragsters, and a Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum curated collection of historic drag cars of every stripe that may or may not have tipped the can into the tank for the California Hot Rod Reunion. Nitro-burning history in motion will continue into Saturday night as the trademark Cacklefest makes its way on track with a parade and presentation of nitromethane heritage from dozens of painstakingly restored fuel dragsters. Historic push-starts are scheduled to occur throughout the weekend-long celebration.

To purchase California Hot Rod Reunion tickets call 1-800-884-NHRA or online at NHRA.com/hotrodreunion. Next stop for the All American Fuel Dragster coalition is next year at the 2018 March Meet at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California Thursday, March 1st through Sunday, March 4th.March Meet racers and fans are so advised to get things sorted out sooner rather than later. Head over to www.nhrahotrodheritage.com for upcoming series race schedules, news, points, results, rules and more.

26th CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION TOP FUEL SCHEDULE:

FRIDAY OCTOBER 20TH
Qualifying Session One 11 AM
Qualifying Session Two  3 PM

SATURDAY OCTOBER 21ST
Qualifying Session Three 12 NOON
Eliminations Round One 4 PM

SUNDAY OCTOBER 22ND
Eliminations Round Two 11:30 AM
FINALS 4 PM

NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES TOP FUEL POINTS STANDINGS:

Top Fuel points standings heading into the 26th California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway and last race in the 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series. *Boise rain-postponed Nitro Nationals Top Fuel final round will run in qualifying prior to eliminations. Winner takes 20 points.

1. Jim Murphy* 388
2. Mendy Fry 381
3. Adam Sorokin* 298
4. Dusty Green 237
5. Jim Young 176
6. Tyler Hilton 157
7. Bret Williamson 128
8. Tony Bartone 126
9. Pete Wittenberg 74
10. Julius Hughes 64
11. Phil Ruskowski 62
12. Tim Cullinan 61
13. Rick McGee 52
13. Dave Miller 52
15. Paul Schultz 20
16. Brendan Murry 10
16. Jason Greenwood 10

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MENDY FRY COLLECTS TOP FUEL VICTORY AT NITRO NATIONALS

nitro-nationals-tulsa-1Mendy Fry pushed herself and the High Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel dragster to a victory over Adam Sorokin and the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet special at the Nitro Nationals September 22nd-23rd at Tulsa Raceway Park. Sorokin got the holeshot on the hit, but Fry kept her foot in the High Speed Motorsports fueler and fought off a drift toward the center line with every bit of steering for a 5.62 ET at 258 MPH win over Sorokin’s 5.75 ET at 245 MPH runner-up.

“It was all I could to keep it off the centerline, but I didn’t lift,” said Fry. Driver Adam Sorokin said the Champion Speed Shop special pulled strongly almost to the stripe but Fry took the race with a .075-second margin of victory and about 26 feet. Mendy Fry joined driver Tera Graves in the Nitro Nationals Winner’s Circle and marked the first time two women won concurrent Top Fuel and Nostalgia Funny Car wins at a NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Championship drag race.

QUALIFYING MAYHEM!

Top Fuel got off to a destructive start in Friday testing as Adam Sorokin motored through a front-engine fireball. Sorokin emerged unscathed, but the Chevrolet kicked two connecting rods through the block. Friday Qualifying under the lights saw more carnage when Jim Young ran the Young Guns dragster to an oil-soaked and subsequently disqualified conclusion while Tim Cullinan skated around the top end to number 4 with a 6.58 at 152 MPH. Julius Hughes pushed the Atlanta Speed Shop dragster to number 5 with a 7.35 ET at 131 MPH. Tyler Hilton lit the candles full track to a 6.17 ET at 232 MPH, and Mendy Fry clicked early in with a 5.87 at 201 MPH for low ET and number one qualifier. Paul Schultz and Dusty Green lost traction for 6th and 7th spots while Jim Murphy pushed back after the burnout with a fuel leak.

Saturday Qualifying saw more smoke and fire but not from Adam Sorokin, who posted a clean 5.92 ET at 212 MPH for a number 4 slot after sitting out Session 1 Friday Qualifying.  Julius Hughes launched his Atlanta Speed Shop dragster to a smoking but oil free 6.13 ET at 243 MPH and number 5 spot. Tyler Hilton did not improve, but Dusty Green hooked up the Nitro-Hemi with a 6.58 ET and number 7 position. Mendy Fry sat out Saturday qualifying, landing in number 3 after Jim Young and Jim Murphy lit up the boards with a 5.74 ET and 5.87 ET for 1 and 2 qualifiers. Tim Cullinan drove through a top end fireball after a screw plug blowout vented 10000 RPM worth of oily nitro that got the run thrown out. Cullinan made it into the show unharmed with his Friday ET, but Paul “Nobody” Schultz and the Spirit of Tulsa did not.

 

ELIMINATIONS ACTION

Round 1 Eliminations opened with Jim Young trailering Tim Cullinan with a 5.81 ET at 239 MPH in a penalty box Top Fuel matchup. Mendy Fry drove her hemi-powered fueler to a 5.73 ET at 232 MPH win over Tyler Hilton and his big block Chevrolet-powered Great Expectations III dragster. Dusty Green had the reaction time advantage in the Nitro-Hemi, but Jim Murphy and the WW2 prevailed with a 5.72 ET at 245 MPH and .031-second margin of victory over Green’s 5.80 ET at 247 MPH. Sorokin charged hard out of the gate ahead of Julius Hughes and clicked it early with a 5.81 ET at 219 MPH win in a small block Chevrolet vs. big block Chevrolet Top Fuel battle.Semi-Final Eliminations saw Adam Sorokin turn an impossibly quick .004 reaction time against Jim Young into a win for the Champion Speed Shop with a mere .023-second margin of victory that had the crowd scratching its head after Sorokin lit up the win light with a 5.70 ET at 234 MPH over Young’s 5.68 ET at 260 MPH. After going out with a red bulb against Murphy at the Nightfire Nationals, Mendy Fry dispatched the veteran hot shoe with a redemptive 5.68 ET at 259 MPH that set the stage for the final round Top Fuel fight as the WW2 dragster sent sparklers up out of the headers in protest with a 5.89 ET at 211 MPH.The Champion Speed Shop team delivered the special back into the lanes in a Herculean effort considering the parts carnage that marked the beginning of their weekend. High-Speed Motorsports got their hemi together for the second Chevrolet vs. hemi Top Fuel final in as many races. Those who stuck around as night worked towards morning were duly rewarded with a close race and dramatic conclusion to the two-day event that witnessed drag racing the way it was moving into the future with next-generation fans and tomorrow’s racers smiling as Mendy Fry lowered them into the cockpit of her Top Fuel dragster in the Winner’s Circle for photos and a lifetime of memories.

NEXT STOP: BAKERSFIELD!

The next and last stop in the 5-Race 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series is the California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. Adam Sorokin and Jim Murphy will run the postponed Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel final round. The assembled AAFD drivers and teams will then battle one last time for the 2017 Top Fuel Championship. Head over the NHRA Museum or Auto Club Famoso Raceway for more information and tickets to the premier vintage drag racing event on the west coast until the March Meet in 2018.

ALL TOP FUEL – ALL AMERICAN FUEL DRAGSTERS – ALL THE TIME

Like and follow the All American Fuel Dragsters on Facebook for an ongoing chronicle of NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel drag racing and more including event coverage, photos, results, and video highlights from upcoming episodes of the Dragstrip Rumble AA/Fuel Top Fuel Dragster video series. Like and follow the Dragstrip Rumble on Facebook and subscribe on YouTube for instant episode updates and front-engine Top Fuel drag racing action free of charge.

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