AAFD02The All-American Fuel Dragsters coalition is bringing a dozen original Top Fuel dragsters to the 60th Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California March 1st-4th. The Nitro Dirty Dozen supercharged front-engine AA/Fuel dragsters will fight for 8 qualified slots in a battle for March Meet supremacy at the 2018 season opener of the 5-race NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series.

2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Top Fuel Champion and 4-time March Meet winner Jim Murphy is hoping to drive his WW2 hemi-powered dragster to victory and become the second 5-time winner of the storied drag race. A 5-feat will tie the only other 5-time March Meet winner Don “Big Daddy” Garlits, who set national Top Fuel dragster competition in motion with his Swamp Rat dragster at the first March Meet in 1959.

Reigning March Meet winner Mendy Fry reports strong numbers from pre-race testing at Famoso with the hemi-powered High Speed Motorsports front-engine Top Fuel dragster. “The 2017 March Meet winner is itching to get back in the car and heading into the race with a ton of confidence. We are ready”, said Fry. Adam Sorokin and the Champion Speed Shop will meet again at Famoso after posting stout testing numbers with their small block Chevrolet powered AA/Fuel special.

Steve Harwood’s Nitro-Hemi is heading over the Rocky Mountains from Colorado to meet up with California-based driver Dusty Green at Famoso, and Bret Williamson will suit up and strap into the Mike Fuller Forever Young hemi-powered entry. Pete Wittenberg is back at the March Meet in the KMA Circuit Breaker dragster a year after getting his license at the 59th March Meet. Tedford & McGee are bringing the fearsome Overtime Special into the fight with driver Rick McGee helping his nephew land a Top Fuel license at the event.

Phil Ruskowski and the Island Nitro Gang are once again carrying the front-engine Top Fuel dragster torch south from Canada to put northern fire into their small block Chevrolet-powered Xhibitionist at Bakersfield. Chicago’s own Turbo Tim Cullinan dressed his late-model hemi powered AA/Fuel dragster with a new paint scheme for the March Meet, and Brendan Murry is hauling his 426 hemi-powered Running Wild dragster out of his home garage in San Jose, California.

Rounding out the Nitro Dirty Dozen in Top Fuel row at Famoso are Rick White and the Neal & White AA/Fuel dragster, hoping to repeat their 2011 March Meet victory and Dan Horan Jr., who will suit up and drive his departed father’s front-engine AA/Fuel dragster with Fritz Kaiser putting the tune-up into the supercharged nitro-burning hemi. Longtime drag racer and front-engine Top Fuel great “Digger” Dan Horan Sr. passed away in 2016.

The 2018 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway the opening salvo in the 5-race battle for the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Top Fuel Championship. As more nitro is better nitro the AAFD Original Top Fuel dragsters will join forces at Famoso with unruly fuel altereds, vintage rear-engine Top Fuel dragsters, Funny Cars, injected and blown A/Fuel dragsters and an as yet unknown quantity of nitro-huffing entries for nitro-burning drag racing action that can only be the March Meet in Bakersfield.

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March Meet AAFD Top Fuel action starts with testing Thursday, March 1st at 3:00. First round qualifying (Q1) is scheduled for Friday the 2nd. Q2 is slated for Saturday the 3rd at 12 PM with Q3 at 3:00 PM. Eliminations commence on Sunday at 11:45 AM. As nitromethane is unpredictable at best, the March Meet schedule is subject to change. More information on the 60th March Meet and an all classes full event schedule can be found by clicking through to the Auto Club Famoso Raceway.

WEDNESDAY, February 28th
11:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Open Test & Tune
THURSDAY, March 1st
3:00 PM: Top Fuel Testing Session
FRIDAY, March 2nd
12:00 PM – Top Fuel Qualifying Session 1 (Q1)
SATURDAY, March 3rd
12:00 PM: Top Fuel Q2
3:00 PM: Top Fuel Q3
11:00 AM: Opening Ceremony
11:45 AM: Top Fuel Eliminations
2:00 PM: Top Fuel Semi-Final
4:15 PM: Top Fuel Final




An eight-car field of front-engine Top Fuel dragsters are motoring towards Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho to battle at the Pepsi Nightfire Nationals, the 3rd meet in the 5-race 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Top Fuel points series. Assembled drivers and teams will join the largest gathering of nitro-burning cars in Nightfire Nationals’ event history for three days of qualifying and heads-up eliminations under-the-lights in celebration of the 50th year of drag racing action at Firebird Raceway.

Bowling Green NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion event winner and current points leader Jim Murphy is wheeling the Roland Leong-tuned WW2 hemi-powered dragster with renewed consistency into the Boise battle after a March Meet defeat at the hands of 2nd place points holder Mendy Fry and the High-Speed Motorsports team. Reigning AA/FD Top Fuel champion and 3-time Nightfire Nationals event winner Tony Bartone and the Bartone Brothers are hauling in from the east coast for a hit at four event victories and climb from current number three points slot.

129Southern California based driver Adam Sorokin and the Champion Speed Shop out of South San Francisco have plans to extract a little more time and keep the fire inside the small-block Chevrolet powered dragster out on the top end of the 1320. “We have been doing a little work with our supercharger set up as well as other things. We’re just trying to get the car to last one more second”, said Sorokin who is currently locked into a 4th place points tie with Top Fuel hotshoe Dusty Green who will connect with the Nitro Hemi in Boise as it makes its way in from Colorado.

T111Eighth place points holder Bret Williamson will strap into the Mike Fuller Forever Young AA/Fuel dragster and drive double time out in front of the rear axle in one of 15 Xtreme Pro Mods slated to run at the event. Ohio based Tyler Hilton hopes to turn it up from an 11th place points slot after a run in at the Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals where he footed the Great Expectations III big-block Chevrolet powered AA/Fuel dragster to a 6.01 ET at 242 MPH with minimal engine carnage. “We had it thumpin’ up there in Seattle. The air was so good. Too good!”

Our nitromethane-powered neighbor to the north Phil Ruskowski is heading out to the Gem State with his small-block Chevrolet Mighty Mouse for some international front-engine Top Fuel competition after going up and out against Tyler Hilton at the Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals. Phil is currently tied for the 12th place with fellow front-engine Top Fuel dragster devotees Brendan Murry, Julius Hughes, Jason Greenwood, Paul Schultz and Tim Cullinan.


Eight AA/Fuel Dragsters, 10 AA/Fuel Altereds, and 18 nitro-burning AA/Funny Cars add up to 38 nitromethane-huffing entries and 150,000 plus stand-shaking horsepower of under-the-lights header flames action. Fifteen Pro Modified doorslammers, two jet-powered dragsters, two jet-powered funny cars and the crowd favorite Candyland Stagecoach wheelstander are on deck to add that much more fire to the Nightfire Nationals with wildcard late entries a distinct possibility.

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The Nightfire Nationals opens on Thursday, August 10th with Sportsman racing at 12:30 PM. Top Fuel dragsters, Awful Altereds, and Funny Cars run into qualifying and eliminations under-the-lights Friday, August 11th through Sunday, August 13th. The schedule is subject to change.


Session 1 Qualifying – 2 PM

Session 2 Qualifying – 7 PM


Last Session Qualifying – 2 PM

Round 1 Eliminations –  7 PM


Round 2 Eliminations – 2 PM

Final Eliminations – 4 PM


Firebird Raceway is located 5 miles north of Idaho State Highway 44 on Idaho State Highway 16. Discount tickets for the Nightfire Nationals are available at participating local Stinker Stores. For more information contact Firebird Raceway at 208-938-8986 or on the web at firebirdonline.com.


Top Fuel points standings heading into Race 3 of the 5-race NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series at the 46th Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway.

  1. Jim Murphy 214
  2. Mendy Fry 187
  3. Tony Bartone 126
  4. Adam Sorokin 109
  5. Dusty Green 109
  6. Jim Young 98
  7. Pete Wittenberg 74
  8. Bret Williamson 73
  9. Rick McGee 52
  10. Dave Miller 52
  11. Tyler Hilton 51
  12. Phil Ruskowski 10
  13. Brendan Murry 10
  14. Julius Hughes 10
  15. Paul Schultz 10
  16. Jason Greenwood 10
  17. Tim Cullinan 10



SatTF0514th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion, June 16-18, 2016, Beech Bend Raceway, Bowling Green, Ky.With the 2016 Heritage Series Top Fuel points race wide open, over a dozen supercharged and nitro-powered competitors from across the United States are gathering their steeds in Bowling Green in anticipation of claiming this week’s 8-car AA/Fuel Dragster Eliminator at the 14th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion.

Among those mounting up will be Stockton, California’s Rick Williamson, driver of the “Team Craig” dragster and current Heritage Series points leader as well as the recent March Meet victor. Following the Craig gang’s entry out of California on I-40 East is a nattering menagerie of their enemies, including Adam Sorokin with the Chevy-powered Champion Speed Shop fueler — March Meet runner-up and #2 in the points — and veteran nitro-man Jim Murphy with his fearsome “WW2railjob.

Murphy, who is making the scene with his Roland Leong-tuned digger, won here in 2013 on a holeshot, but has struggled to find a consistent combination after that decisive weekend. At the Bakersfield March Meet, he appeared to return to form before an unfortunate top-end collision during eliminations rattled his concentration and compromised his effort. Similarly, New York-based Tony Bartone, the 2014 Holley NHRR winner and two-time defending Heritage Series Points Champion, has also seen his once-dominant form contract recently.

Both Bartone and Murphy would love to repeat here, as a means of making the statement that their team has entirely too much knowledge, talent and gumption not to dominate. Moreover, a Top Fuel win by Bartone would serve as an emphatic punctuation mark to the deserved pomp and circumstance awarded to his crew chief, the legendary Steve Boggs who, in concert with his late brother Ron, will be anointed as an Honoree here this weekend.

There are other scores to settle here: Rick White, driver of the hard-charging “Neal & White” machine out of San Diego, wants to undo the damage from a first-round loss at the March Meet, which transpired, ironically, after Rick set Low ET at that prestigious event with a ferocious ¼-mile clocking of 5.54 seconds.

Additionally, Salem, Wisconsin’s Jim Young hopes to advance to the top of the points chart here and will light up the Kentucky concrete with his Chrysler-powered “Young Guns.” Fleshing out the field are Californian Brendan Murry, Paul Schultz’s “Spirit of Tulsa,” Tyler Hilton’s big-block Chevy-powered “Great Expectations III” from Virginia (by way of Ohio), Illinois-based Tim Cullinan, “Diamond” Dave Miller’s dragster from Atoka, Tennessee, Racine Wisconsin’s Jason Greenwood, Troy Ray’s new “Wildside II” digger out of Knoxville, Julius Hughes’ “Atlanta Speed Shop” special and 2011 NHRR Top Fuel winner Lincoln Hassell out of North Carolina.

California. New York. Wisconsin. Virginia. Ohio. Oklahoma. Illinois. Tennessee. Georgia. North Carolina. With such diversity and power, Top Fuel Eliminator at the 14th Holley National Hot Rod Reunion is anybody’s race — and merely qualifying for this fierce field could be a partial victory. Odds are, whoever wins this nitro-powered shootout will drive away as the Heritage Series Top Fuel Points Leader. -30-

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Only $9.99 at topfueldigest.com

AAFD HQ, December 8, 2015Who says print is dead? Not the AA/Fuel Dragster media mavens, who have organized a digest-format magazine chronicling all of this year’s action from the wildest circuit in drag racing, front-engine Top Fuel.

Available at topfueldigest.com, the 2015 AA/FD Top Fuel Digest compiles explosive coverage of the Bakersfield March Meet, the Boise Nightfire Nationals, Bowling Green and more. Follow the exploits of Tony Bartone, Adam Sorokin, Bill Dunlap and the rest of the fearless fueler heroes as they made 2015 a year to remember. An instant collectible for fans of nostalgia-style Top Fuel drag racing, the Digest has 36 pages of spectacular photography and razor-sharp race reporting with contributions from seasoned dragstrip shutter bugs “Max Cackle,” Ted Soqui, and Dave Kommel as well astute correspondence from veteran copy chimp Cole Coonce. -30




Proving that print’s not dead, the Media Department of the All-American Fuel Dragsters have just published their 2015 Top Fuel Digest. This magazine features explosive coverage of the Bakersfield March Meet, the Nightfire Nationals, Bowling Green and more. Follow the exploits of Tony Bartone, Adam Sorokin, Bill Dunlap and the rest of the fearless fueler heroes as they made 2015 a year to remember. 36 pages of spectacular photography and razor-sharp race reporting. Edited by Cole Coonce. Cover photo by Ted Soqui. Available now at MagCloud.com


Bill Dunlap chases down Denver Schutz and claims his 3rd CHRR Top Fuel Title.

Bill Dunlap chases down Denver Schutz and claims his 3rd CHRR Top Fuel Title.

24th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA, October 25, 2015—In a final round of competition that was as poignant as it was dramatic, 74-year-old “High Speed Motorsports’” driver Bill Dunlap seized victory from the maw of veteran nitro-racer Denver Schutz and claimed his 3rd California Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel Title.

Dunlap posted a strong ¼-mile elapsed time of 5.69 seconds coupled with a commanding top-end speed of 255 mph to Schutz’s 5.83 at 252 mph, but the margin of victory was narrower than those number suggest as Denver “put out the top bulb” and deep-staged his “RE3” machine before dropping a stiff holeshot on Dunlap, forcing the quicker High Speed dragster to drive around his adversary.

“He rolled in deep at the last minute,” Dunlap explained. “I just decided if he was going to do those things, I was going to stage last — I wasn’t going to stage first. I was waiting for it.”

What happened on the pass?

“He may have left on me, but I didn’t ever see him. I heard him for awhile and the noise kind of went away. The car was singing to me so I took it the stripe. I got out at the end and nobody down there knew who won.”

It was that close. Factoring in reaction times, Dunlap beat Schutz by four-hundredths of a second. Dunlap said the win here eased the sting of not winning the 2015 NHRA Heritage Series Point Title “a lot.”

For Fresno-based Schutz, that was the second consecutive heat where spectators marveled at his unorthodox start followed by a nail-biter of a finish. In the semi-finals, Denver unnerved 2015 Points Champion, #1 Qualifier and odds-on favorite Tony Bartone with a similar mud-in-your eye startling line stratagem, deep staging and then expertly dropping a holeshot. This startled Bartone, who belatedly gave pursuit in a see-sawing battle. Schutz held off Bartone with a 5.90 at 241 mph to Tony’s quicker-but-losing 5.82 at 202 mph.

“You only do it when you have to,” Schutz said afterwards, about the deep-stage. “It kind of a c.s. way to race but we are professionals and sometimes you do what you have to.”

“He threw me off and I was dead late,” Bartone confirmed. “That’s the story.”

Bartone added that a broken fuel line coupled with three dead holes four seconds into his run contributed to his loss.

Schutz’s performance during his last two rounds was a near-perfect finale to what turned out to be his career curtain call. Moments after scoring his hard-earned runner-up finish at the 24th CHRR, 70-year-old Denver Schutz announced his retirement from the sport. Among other achievements, Denver was the 1998 CHRR Top Fuel Champion.

“Quitting is hard,” Schutz explained. Suffice it to say, he went out in fine fashion. He took it deep. -30-

Just after the CHRR Top Fuel final, Denver Schutz announced his retirement.

Just after the CHRR Top Fuel final, Denver Schutz announced his retirement.


Jim Murphy and Roland Leong discuss strategy.

Jim Murphy and Roland Leong discuss strategy.

44th Nightfire Nationals, Firebird Raceway, Boise, ID, August 12, 2015—With High Speed Motorsports having recently ended the Bartone Brothers unprecedented 22-round win streak in NHRA Heritage Series Top Fuel competition, the rest of the class has smelled blood in the water and have begun sharking. To that end, at this weekend’s Pepsi Nightfire Nationals in Boise veteran nitro racer Jim Murphy and his “WW2” dragster are set to pounce on a full field of front-engined fuelers.

“I think that (High Speed driver) Bill Dunlap winning Bowling Green gave everyone in the Nostalgia Top Fuel class a glimmer of hope,” Murphy explained. “It has been apparent that Tony Bartone has completely dominated our class for the last year and a half. High Speed and the Champion Speed Shop have been getting closer and closer and I believe we can now be part of that group.”

Earlier this summer at Bakersfield’s “Saturday Night Nitro,” an after-hours test with a new crew chief validated Murphy’s claim about rejoining the Top Fuel elite. That event saw the debut of the collaboration between Murphy and an infamous tuner he raced with during the ‘70s Funny Car wars, Roland Leong a/k/a “the Hawaiian.” After midnight, the WW2 fueler laid down the quickest run of the event, a spectacular 5.67-second 1/4-mile elapsed time at a mere 237 mph, with Murphy shutting off at 1000-feet.

That stunning run set the stage for Boise: When asked about if there was anything to prove this week, the “Hawaiian” was as cagey and contrite. “The goal is just to get more runs and data and learn what I think this car wants,” Leong said. “I tell everyone I work for, I only know how to do it one run at a time and it takes a lot of laps to figure things out.”

If Murphy and Leong want to go rounds—whether in pursuit of “data” or the actual Nightfire Top Fuel title, they will have to fight through a full quota of competitors. Besides Bartone and Dunlap, among those entered in the Boise’s 8-car eliminator are sophomore hot-shoe Dusty Green, March Meet runner-up Adam Sorokin in the Champion Speed Shop small-block Chevrolet fueler, fan-favorite Brendan Murry, Rick Williamson in the “Team Craig” rail, and Ron August, Jr. in the “Forever Young” slingshot. All of these teams are hoping to upend the defending series and event champion Bartone, despite any pleas to the contrary.

“Right now we’re not trying to upend anyone,” Roland said, downplaying his notorious take-no-prisoners competitive ethos. “Hopefully the day will come when they will be trying to upend us.”

“We are still in the experimental stage with the tune-up,” Murphy said, echoing Roland’s sentiments. “But we now know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel—and it’s not a train coming back at us.”


44th Annual Pepsi Nightfire Nationals “Idaho’s Premiere Racing Event”

August 13-16

Fri., August 14: Nitro Qualifying: 7:45 pm. Concludes: 10 pm

Sat., August 15: Nitro Qualifying: 2 pm, 7:45 pm. Concludes: 10:30 pm

Sun., August 16: Nitro Eliminations: 2 pm. Concludes: 9 pm

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