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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TOP FUEL FRENZY AT FAMOSO FOR CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION

chrr-aafd-38A baker’s dozen’s worth of AA/Fuel Dragster combatants will close out the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series this weekend with a supercharged 8-car Top Fuel Eliminator at the 27th California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California.

Thirteen drivers representing three generations of nitromethane-fueled drag racing are ready for the final race of competition. With an incontestable points advantage following consecutive event wins at the NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion and Nightfire Nationals, second-generation drag racer Mendy Fry and the “High-Speed Motorsports” team are already the 2018 Nostalgia Top Fuel Champions. But for the rest of the field, it’s not over until its over and the battle for the event win and number two Nostalgia Top Fuel points position will certainly be fierce at Famoso.chrr-aafd-23

Current 2nd place points sitter and March Meet Winner Pete Wittenberg is back in the saddle of his early-model Hemi-powered “KMA Circuit Breaker” after a semi-final finish at the Nightfire Nationals in Boise. Venerable Brendan Murry is heading out of the Murry Building in San Jose, California with the “Running Wild” late-model Hemi-propelled dragster in tow. Second generation dragster driver Adam Sorokin is confident that the “Champion Speed Shop” small-block Chevrolet combination can make more with less at Bakersfield. “We’re concentrating more on making the car run harder and longer. We will be just staying on our side of the tree and maximizing everything we can,” said Sorokin.

chrr-aafd-12After a Herculean runner-up finish at Boise, Dusty Green will once again team up with Steve Harwood’s “Nitro-Hemi” contender. Bret Williamson will strap into Mike Fuller’s “Forever Young” AA/Fuel entry. 2006 CHRR Top Fuel winner Jim Murphy will drive the “WW2” fueler as an event Honoree. Last year’s Reunion winner Jim Young is hauling his Hemi-powered “Young Guns” rail to Bakersfield from Wisconsin and third-generation drag racer Tyler Hilton is moving towards California after posting the quickest and fastest time yet in the big-block Chevrolet-powered “Great Expectations III” AA/Fuel Dragster at the Nightfire Nationals in Boise, Idaho with a blistering 5.88 ET at 249 MPH.

Rick White is suiting up in the “Neal & White” front-engine dragster, and Dan Horan Jr. will push his departed father “Digger Dan” Horan’s front engine dragster towards the high fives with a tuneup from 1995 March Meet winner Fritz Kaiser. Phil Ruskowski and the Island Nitro Gang are motoring to Famoso from Canada with their small-block Chevrolet-powered “Xhibitionist” digger. Veteran driver Rick McGee and crew have been putting in plenty of extra hours preparing their Hemi-powered “Overtime Special” dragster for battle at the ‘patch.

And in a gesture to ensure future participation in the sport, the Jim McLennan Drag Racing Foundation is once again firing up its successful Top Fuel Intern program, taking students from Bakersfield College and tasking them with mechanical maintenance on these exotic front-engine Top Fuel dragsters. Solidifying the Reunion’s relationship to the past and present, former Top Fuel Champion, stunt driver Kelly Brown will serve as the Reunion’s Grand Marshal.

Event Honorees include crew-chief extraordinaire Bob Brandt, A/Fuel driver and trainer Jerry Darien, onetime Hot Rod Magazine Editor and current drag racing journalist-historian Dave Wallace Jr., former Car Craft Magazine Editor and drag racer Rick Voegelin, and 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Champion Jim Murphy.

chrr-aafd-29The 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 the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum curated collection of nitro-burning history in is annual “Cacklefest.” Historic push-starts are scheduled to occur throughout the weekend. Hundreds of Hot Rods and Customs will complement a swap meet full of vintage speed parts along with specialty equipment and memorabilia vendors on the midway.

To purchase California Hot Rod Reunion tickets call 1-800-884-NHRA, head over to NHRA or drive on out to Auto Club Famoso Raceway.

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27th CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION TOP FUEL SCHEDULE:

Friday, October 19th
Top Fuel Qualifying Session 1: 11:00 AM
Top Fuel Qualifying Session 2: 3:00 PM

Saturday, October 20th
Top Fuel Qualifying Session 3: 12:00 noon
Top Fuel Round 1: 3:00 PM

Sunday, October 21st
National Anthem & Pre-race Ceremonies 10:45 AM
Top Fuel Eliminations Round 2 11:30 AM
Final Eliminations – All Categories 4:00 PM

Schedule subject to change

NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES

Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship points standings heading into the 27th California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, the 4th and last race in the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series following the cancellation of the Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway Park.

1) Mendy Fry 334
2) Pete Wittenberg 188
3) Brendan Murry 179
4) Adam Sorokin 164
5) Dusty Green 161
6) Bret Williamson 131
7) Jim Murphy 126
8) Jim Young 97
9) Tyler Hilton 85
10)Tim Cullinan 84
11) Rick White 54
12) Jason Greenwood 52
12) Dan Horan 52
13) Julius Hughes 51
14) Phil Ruskowski 20
15) Rick McGee 10
15) Dave Miller 10
15) Paul Schultz 10

Follow all the AAFD Top Fuel action on Facebook
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MENDY FRY WINS TOP FUEL AT NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS

47-nightfire-nationals-10Driving through violent tire-shake, Mendy Fry took the 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel victory, Low ET and Top Speed with a 5.66 ET at 254 MPH blast in her “High Speed Motorsports” AA/Fuel dragster at Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho. “It was pretty bad — I didn’t think I was going to make it. The team gave me a great car, and I didn’t screw up,” said Mendy.

Runner-up Dusty Green pushed Steve Harwood’s “Nitro-Hemi” to a 6.04 ET at 198 MPH in the final after his holeshot-assisted 2nd-round battle with Pete Wittenberg was settled by few thousandths of a second margin of victory. “It was a great weekend for the Nitro-Hemi team. We had a good run against Pete and just didn’t have enough for the High Speed Motorsports team”, said Dusty.

As examples of the class’s camaraderie, Bowling Green runner-up Jim Young texted tuning advice to semi-finalists Wittenberg and vanquished foes from the “KMA Circuit Breaker” and Brendan Murry’s “Running Wild” teams gathered to help Dusty Green and the Nitro-Hemi crew prepare for the final round. “That is what this sport is about. Awesome people. I can’t thank them enough”, said Dusty.

QUALIFYING ACTION

Session One Qualifying kicked off Friday afternoon with nine AA/Fuel dragsters battling for nitro supremacy in 100-plus degree temperatures. Mendy Fry struck the tires on the 150-degree track Friday but motored to the top of the ladder Saturday afternoon with a 5.68 ET. Adam Sorokin landed the number two slot with a 5.85 ET in the Chevy-powered “Champion Speed Shop” entry. Dusty Green pushed the Nitro-Hemi to number three with a 5.97 ET at 243 MPH. Tyler Hilton stepped up with his family’s “Great Expectations III” to the number four position with a 6.07 ET, landing ahead of number five Bret Williamson’s and the “Forever Young” fueler’s 6.09 ET. Brendan Murry drove the Running Wild to number six with a 6.18 ET and Pete Wittenberg came back after breaking a drive belt in Session One to qualified seventh with a 6.22. Jim Murphy landed the “WW2” fueler in the number eight slot with a 6.58 and Canadian Phil Ruskowski was 1st Alternate following a herculean effort to get to the Nightfire Nationals after an engine explosion at a previous race.

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TOP FUEL ELIMINATIONS UNDER THE LIGHTS

The Nightfire Nationals is famous for header flames under the lights and Saturday night’s Round One Eliminations saw Mendy Fry run a 5.67 ET at 253 MPH for the win over Jim Murphy’s 6.48 ET at 158 MPH. Pete Wittenberg turned on the KMA Circuit Breaker for a 5.73 ET at 253 MPH win on Adam Sorokin, who pushed the small block Chevrolet to 5.90 ET at 244 MPH. Dusty Green extracted a 5.98 ET at 248 MPH from the Nitro-Hemi ahead of Brendan Murry, who ran an 8.62 ET in the Running Wild. Tyler Hilton blasted the Great Expectations III to a 6.03 ET at 243 MPH over Brett Williamson’s 6.11 ET at 221 MPH, setting the stage for the Semi-Final battle on Sunday.

SEMI-FINAL MAYHEM

Semi-Final Top Fuel competition was tight and fierce. Pete Wittenberg ran a 5.71 ET at 252 MPH with a .145 reaction time and yet didn’t catch Dusty Green’s 5.80 ET at 241 MPH with an .054 reaction time. The margin of victory? 6/1000ths of a second and a few inches Inches at the stripe. Mendy Fry posted a 5.69 ET at 231 MPH to beat Tyler Hilton’s 5.88 ET at 249 MPH — the quickest and fastest run ever for the Great Expectations III big-block Chevrolet-powered AA/Fuel dragster. Tyler, his dad Robert, grandmother Alison Lee and crew divined the formula for success with a blend of timing and clutch fine-tuning and ran the weekend with minimal engine carnage.

TOP FUEL DECIDER

The combined forces united at the Nitro-Hemi pit thrashed through an engine teardown for a shot at victory in a Hemi vs. Hemi Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel decider. At the green light, Dusty Green got out of the gate with .112 reaction time, but in the end it wasn’t enough against Mendy Fry who kept her foot down and muscled through tire shake for the win.

After striking the tires in Session One qualifying, Mendy Fry drove the High Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel dragster with remarkable consistency through qualifying and eliminations with 5.66, 5.67, 5.69 and 5.66 runs for event Low ET and 254 MPH Top Speed.

Mendy Fry’s victory at the 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway earned her the number one position in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship points battle heading into the fourth race of the five-race 2018 season at the Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway Park September 21st and 22nd.

All photos Arlene Eliason and AAFD. 

MORE TOP FUEL

Have a Dragstrip Rumble for full VIDEO coverage of the AAFD racing scene
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47th PEPSI NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS TOP FUEL PHOTO EXTRA!

TOP FUEL HERITAGE CONTINUES AT FIREBIRD RACEWAY

boise-rollcall-1Nine All-American Fuel Dragsters teams are loaded up with drums of nitro and motoring towards Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho for this weekend’s 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals, the third race in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Nostalgia Top Fuel points series. The eight-car Nostalgia Top Fuel Eliminations battle will continue a half-century of drag racing competition heritage at the premiere motorsports event in the Gem State

Current series points leader Mendy Fry is gunning to hold onto the lead after her victory at the National Hot Rod Reunion at Bowling Green, Kentucky in the High-Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel Dragster. Brendan Murry is heading out from San Jose, California in the number two position after an outstanding performance in the Running Wild dragster at Bowling Green.

“We feel like we’ve got something to give them now,” Murry reported. “We’ve put a few runs on the car and we’re starting to learn how to tune it. We’re making enough power knock the tires off at over 210 MPH. We’re working on it!”

Bakersfield March Meet winner Pete Wittenberg is hitting the Nightfire Nationals with high hopes at taking back the number one slot from his number three position in the KMA Circuit Breaker and expects a challenge with the change in altitude from his Southern California stomping grounds. “We’re loaded and ready for battle. I was number one in points but not being able to participate at Bowling Green bumped me to number three. I want that number one back.”

Adam Sorokin and the Champion Speed Shop are holding onto 4th place after what has so far been a tumultuous season as the team pushed to extract more power from their small block Chevrolet powered canopy special. “We are in a bit of a learning mode this year. We changed a few things this year that had promise but didn’t really yield the results we were looking for. A couple things are going back to a known variable. We’ll see what happens.”

Nightfire Nationals defending champion Jim Murphy has made a few changes to his WW2 dragster and is driving towards a repeat Nightfire Nationals win from the number eight points position after stepping out of Bowling Green to help rebuild the fire-ravaged Sonoma County California region he calls home.

“We’ve gone out twice at the local track here in Sonoma and made some half-passes. We’re going up to Boise and try and do the best we can. We’ll probably use the first couple qualifiers almost like a test session just to make sure we’ve got our arms around it, but we think we’ve made some positive changes. We’ll do a little better in that area and then we’ll be going up to win the race.”

Seventh place points holder Bret Williamson will strap into the hemi-powered Mike Fuller Forever Young AA/Fuel Dragster and California-based racer Dusty Green will once again meet up with the Nitro-Hemi from Colorado with eyes on climbing up out of a rain-soaked March Meet and unlucky National Hot Rod Reunion at Bowling Green. “So far we have had a rough season and we are hoping to turn it around in Boise. We usually run respectably there and would love to turn this season around”.

Tyler Hilton and his dad Robert Hilton have sorted out some changes on their Great Expectations III AA/Fueler and are hoping to step up at Boise and keep their fearsome big block Chevrolet from overpowering the tires. “We tried some different stuff since Bowling Green but we are going back to where we were and are pretty confident”.

Last and certainly not least are Phil Ruskowski and the Island Nitro Gang who are making a herculean effort to put their Xibitionist Nostalgia Top Fueler back together and get out to Boise after an explosion at Lucas Oil Canadian National races took out the small block Chevrolet in a supercharged fireball.

“We then made a hit on Saturday after some adjustments and with plans of stepping off at 1000 feet. At half track it felt good and going right down the grove and I was just thinking that I was on a strong pass and 1000 feet was coming up fast and BOOM!!!! ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!!! I was on fire there was parts and pieces flying every which way and the blower was in a state of hang time. The percussion was impressive. I got the Xibitionist stopped still on fire but the safety crew was on it. After the fire was out and all the parts that were in orbit came back to earth the Xibitionist was sitting there smoking in the shutdown area.”

Thanks to tremendous support from the team and spouses along with sponsors and friends signs are better than good that Phil and the Island Nitro Gang are going to make the 47th Pepsi Nitro Nationals an international Top Fuel competition. “Getting to Boise is taking all my thoughts and time. Right now when I go to bed I don’t dream of sandy beaches I dream of BOISE and we can’t wait to see you all there! Small blocks on Nitro Forever”, said Phil on his Island Nitro Facebook Group.

NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS TOP FUEL SCHEDULE
Nightfire Nationals AA/Fuel Dragster, AA/Fuel Altered, and AA/Funny Car nitro qualifying and eliminations run from Friday, August 10th through Sunday, August 12th. The 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals kicks off on Thursday, August 9th with Sportsman racing at 12:30 PM. Run schedule is subject to change.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10th
Gates Open: 9:00 AM
AA/FD Qualifying Session 1 (Q1): 2 PM
AA/FD Qualifying Session 2 (Q2): 8 PM

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11th
Gates Open: 9:00 AM
AA/FD Qualifying Session 3 (Q3): 2 PM
AA/FD Round 1 Eliminations (E1): 8 PM

SUNDAY, AUGUST 12th
Gates Open: 9:00 am
AA/FD Round 2 Semi-Final Eliminations (E2): 2 PM
AA/FD Final Eliminations (E3): 4 PM

POINTS STANDINGS:
NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship points standings ahead of the 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway.

1 Mendy Fry 216
2 Brendan Murry 126
3 Pete Wittenberg 116
4 Adam Sorokin 107
5 Jim Young 97
6 Tim Cullinan 84
7 Bret Williamson 77
8 Jim Murphy 75
9 Dusty Green 65
10 Rick White 54
11 Jason Greenwood 52
11 Dan Horan 52
13 Julius Hughes 51
14 Rick McGee 10
14 Phil Ruskowski 10
14 Dave Miller 10
14 Paul Schultz 10
14 Tyler Hilton 10

FIREBIRD RACEWAY
AA/Fuel Dragsters will join awful fuel-huffing AA/Fuel Altereds, nitro-burning AA/Funny Cars, unruly Pro Mods, fire-powered Jet Dragsters and the wheelstanding Outlaw Stagecoach for daytime and under-the-lights drag racing action. Firebird Raceway is located 5 miles north of Idaho State Highway 44 on Idaho State Highway 16. Tickets are available at participating local Stinker Stores. For more information contact Firebird Raceway at 208-938-8986 and on the web at http://www.firebirdonline.com or the official Firebird Raceway Facebook Page

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NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES
The 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway is the third battle for the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship. Head on over to www.nhrahotrodheritage.com for an upcoming race schedule, news, points, results, rules and more.

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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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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