July 13, 2013

Robert Overholser
Wins July Saturday Night Nitro




The second of three Saturday Night Nitro events took place over the weekend of July 12-13 at Bakersfield's Auto Club Raceway. In addition to the fuel cars on the grounds, the West Coast Hot Rod Assn. ran an event with plenty of doorslammers, pro mods, import tuners, some motorcycles (both gas and nitro), RED's and a few Junior dragsters thrown in for good measure. Also, Mike Sullivan's beautiful blue and white Fiat fuel altered made one pass Saturday night to everyone's delight. Add the jets on for icing and you had something for everybody.




Saturday dawned sunny and hot ... hey, its Bakersfield in July!


Out early for a test was Steve Easton in Godfrey's "Burnin Money". Steve is the clutch man for Courtney Force's Big Show car and seems equally at home with both the wrenches and the steering wheel.





Chris Bennett in the Pure Heaven IV Camaro.




Leon Fitzgerald







Ed Dougan in the Fighting Irish Camaro.






The Video Guy, Les Mayhew wiring up one of his in-car mini cams.



Rick Rogers in "Smokey's Darkside"





Eventual winner Robert Overholser in the "California Hustler".




Devery Howard taking Jason Rupert's seat in the Bays & Rupert Vega.


Dennis LaCharite in his Back in Black GTO.


One of three Top Fuel cars out for testing was Rick Williamson in Mike and Kathy Craig's car.





A/Fuel Big Show car out for some laps.



Mendy Fry and Donnie Couch




Out of the 13 floppers that showed up, the quick eight were comprised of Devery Howard in the Bays & Rupert "Black Plague” Camaro who went number one with a 5.780 at 246.30. Dan Horan Jr. was second with a 5.809 at 252.85 mph pass. Robert Overholser posted a 5.885 to take the #3 spot while Ryan Konno placed the “Kazanjian Lemon & Konno” Mustang into #4 with a 5.894. James Day in the “Pedaler” was right on Konno’s heels with a 5.899. There was very little breathing room back to Dennis Taylor who's 5.958 put him in the #6 just ahead of Dale Van Gundy’s 5.962 and Roger Garten’s 6.115.

Then the usual Chicago style eliminations took place with the four winning ET's being used to determine the overall event winner. Robert Overholser (5.72) edged out Rian Konno's (5.75), while Dan Horan Jr. had his Boise to Bakersfield Series winning streak broken (5.76). The fourth car would be Roger Garten (6.38) in a notable race. Opponent Devery Howard in the Bays & Rupert machine red-lit by an astonishing .221 seconds, so it was all Garten's until he hit the wall at the top end. Soon after, the announcement came over the PA that he was out of the car and walking around to everyone's relief.


With the sun and temps dropping, the fans were treated to a pre-race parade with Mike English doing the honors behind the mic.



Pure Heaven IV Camaro.


Fighting Irish


Burnin' Money


Among the cars that didn't make any practice runs was Dale Van Gundy's Quarter Pounder.


Rian Konno driven Kazanjian-Lemon-Konno Mustang.


Roger Garten's "War Horse" Mustang.


My old friend Dennis Taylor's slick Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty Mustang.



James Day in Gary Turner's "Pedaler".


"California Hustler"


Darkside Corvette


"California Hustler".


Bays & Rupert


Weeding out the quick 8, Rian Konno chimed in with a solid 5.89 for his chance to run for the money.


Roger Garten’s 6.115 was good for the bump spot.




Dale Van Gundy’s 5.962 good for #7.


Robert Overholser posted a 5.885 to take the #3 spot while James Day was there with a 5.899.





Dan Horan Jr. was second with a 5.809 at 252.85 mph pass while Dennis Taylor's 5.958 put him in the #6 spot.






Jason Rupert


Best for last, Devery Howard in the Bays & Rupert Camaro went number one with a 5.780 at 246.30.






Missing the quick eight, Ed Dugan in the “Fighting Irish” Camaro was just outside with a 6.139. Others who did not make it were Bob Godfrey who ran a 6.160, Dennis LaCharite, with a 6.265 lap. Chris Bennett brought out the “Pure Heaven IV” Camaro and posted a 7.047. Rick Rogers had a good 5.90 pass in testing earlier in the day, but some new parts didn't play nice as the car struck the tires right off the line and he pedaled to a 7.132.









The finals paired James Day and Ryan Konno as the first pair. Day struck the tires around 100 feet out as Konno stunned the crowd with a career best 5.753 at 248.39 mph.




Robert Overholser and Dennis Taylor were then paired. Both left hard but Taylor’s Mustang started throwing parts out the headers on the top end slowing to a 6.859 at 115.64. Overholser's stellar 5.720 at 246.84 would be good enough for the "winner" money.





Dale Van Gundy was unable to make it back for the finals so that put the #9 car, Ed Dougan up against Dan Horan Jr. Ed got a nice lead at the hit .119 to .176 . The “Fighting Irish” held the lead until it got out of the groove and lurched to the left giving Horan a 5.764 at 253.66 win.






The final pair out was Roger Garten and number 1 qualifier Devery Howard who went red by -.221. In spite of the red, Garten took off after Howard to give the fans a show. However, Howard realizing he went red clicked it. Garten had his hands full and drifted out of the groove into the left.

Garten kept it out of the left wall but not before the car came back to the right smacking the right wall with a glancing blow. The crippled car went through the lights 6.385 at 161.52 mph. Garten was unhurt.









Some of the cars took advantage of the track on Friday to do some testin' and tunin'. Here are a few random shots along eith the other cars that ran.







Greg Justice (son of WDIFL photog Steve) and Tony Ruggiero were out again putting laps on their new Nitro Harley's.



























With Track Manager, Blake Bowser in the forefront, the Famoso crew tried out a new "nostalgia" tree at the end of Friday night with a few door cars. It had the appearance of a pair of traffic stoplights coupled side by side and replaced the normal tree that the track uses.

A simple red, yellow & green arrangement aimed at each lane harkened back to the old days and seemed to be enjoyed by those who stayed to watch the tryout at the very end of the night.







Misc. cool shots....
















Rick White in the Neal & White NTF car.



Larry Gotelli Jr. was out once again testing the Circut Breaker NTF car.



Mike Sullivan AA/FA


And as they do, the jets put a period on the night.





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