CA - March 06, 2017:
The 59th edition
of the fabled March Meet offered five days of racing with near
perfect conditions with the exception of one weather weather
snag on Sunday. The event was completed on Monday that included
a couple of very exciting nitro finals.
Unlike the California
Hot Rod Reunion in October which is a gathering that includes
a race, the March Meet is a hard core drag race. That is not
to say that the grounds aren't littered with geezers, its just
that the focus is on the race track and everyone wants to win
the most prestigious race of the year.
After the chaos
of last October, the Auto Club Famoso management and crew were
all on the same page. In spite of 4 hours and 20 minutes of oil
downs on Friday (mostly funny car) and the late day rain out
on Sunday, Bowser's team did a great job getting nearly 500 cars
down the track. Huge kudos to the safety team for being on top
of every incident and the track crew doing a good job on all
the clean ups.
But as is my
style, WDIFL does better with photos than words, so I'll get
this teaser page up and jump into processing over 7000 photos
to see which make the cut for the final coverage.
In Top Fuel it
was Mendy Fry taking her first major win in her debut driving
the High Speed Motorsports fueler. Fry was paired with Jim Murphy
in the final who unfortunately broke a fuel pump drive shaft
on the burnout leaving Fry, in only her eighth pass in the car,
to single for the win. As and exclamation point, Fry proved she
would have been hard to beat posting low ET of eliminations 5.598
and 252 mph. The High Speed guys could have played it safe and
saved the parts but that's not the way Tom rolls. As some icing
on the cake, their 5.597 in round one was also low ET of the
Fry emerged triumphant
after near tragedy in Thursday afternoon Top Fuel testing session
when the input shaft broke on the hit and grenaded the clutch.
The Trick Titanium bell housing safely contained the havoc, but
the disintegrated clutch left the High-Speed team working night
into morning. The team recovered in time for a number eight qualifying
slot and subsequent climb up the eight car eliminations ladder
into March Meet history.
In funny car
two of the best made it to the final. From Edmonton, Alberta,
Canada it was Ryan Hodgson in the Ron Hodgson/Pacemaker Chevy
Camaro in the left lane and Kris Krabill in the Austin &
O'Brien Camaro in the left lane.
Both cars left
together and it was a good drag race for 1000' when something
went wrong with Krabill's engine and all hell broke loose. As
Hodgson motored on to a 5.60 at 259 mph win, the Austin Camaro
erupted in flames. In on of the worst FC fires in recent memory,
Krabill battled the flaming flopper all the way to the topend
turn out where the safely crew was right on top of him. They
were shooting water as Kris was climbing out the roof hatch.
The good news
is, Krabill did not suffer any burns and only an uncomfortable
amount of smoke inhalation. Paramedic Sean Bellemeur happened
to be close with the High Speed crew and was first on the scene
to assess Kris. The car appeared to be nearly a total loss, but
thanks to great safety equipment and a spot on safety team the
vet from Tacoma, WA will live to drive another day.
After rain stopped
the finals on Sunday it was left to a sunny Monday to write the
final chapter of the 2017 March Meet. In the Top Fuel final it
was Jim Murphy who was seeking his elusive fifth March Meet title
against Mendy Fry who was shooting for her first major win period.
Once again #5
was denied when Murphy's throttle stop failed on the burnout
allowing the engine to go like 11,000 rpm. As a result, the fuel
pump drive broke rendering his engine DOA. As his crew pushed
him back, Fry got the one finger from the starter meaning she
would have a single.
hard and had stout early numbers.
clocks with a 5.598 at 252.66 Fry proclaimed she would have been
hard to beat had Murphy raced. The High Speed guys could have
played it safe and saved the parts but that's not the way Tom
rolls. Relaying a signal from Shelar, Sean Bellemeur gave Mendy
the go-for-it nod, and she did.
Fuel Funny Car
boiled down to #5 qualifier Ryan Hodgson and the current HRHRS
Funny Car Champion and #3 qualifier, Kris Krabill.
had the lead from the start leaving Krabill to play catch up.
On the topend
it was Hodgson taking a convincing 5.609 at 259.91 win, but that
wasn't the story. Behind him Krabill's car had erupted in flames.
was so intense that the fire bottles failed to do their job.
These are just
a few of the 40+ shot sequence captured by Dan Kaplan who, along
with Don Ewald, was on the topend documenting the Top Fuel win
of Mendy Fry.
The car came
to a stop right at the first turn-out there the RMR safety team
was stationed and they were on him within seconds.
the first thing Krabill tried to do was get the body up in an
attempt to save it. In this case it was a fruitless effort.
Bellemeur happened to be on the top end with the HSMS team and
was the first one to Krabill. (note his visor) Sean deemed him
well with the exception of minor smoke inhalation.
The bottom line
here is Kris Krabill walked away from one of the worst Nostalgia
Funny Car fires in recent memory. Thanks to the Rocky Mountain
Raceway Safety Team and all the safety equipment mandated on
these cars. Kris will race another day, that we can bet on.
of this incredible sequence will be featured on the final race
Fry - High Speed Motorsports - 5.59 at 252 mph.
Jim Murphy - broke on burnout
Hodgson - Ron Hodgson/Pacemaker - 5.60 at 259
Hall - AA/FA - The Tramp - 6.06 at 214
Runner-up: James Generalao
Engine Top Fuel - Mike Halstead - Mike's Transmission - 6.04
Runner-up: Jim Maroney
Eliminator 1 - Dan Schrokosch
Runner-up: Dan Martin
Eliminator 2 - Todd Fernandez
Runner-up: Danny See
Eliminator 3 - Ed DeStaute
Runner-up: Ron Kolb
Pro - Todd Ellingson
Runner-up: Mark Hall
- Mike Mossi
Runner-up: Steve Galileo
- Rich Harrison
Runner-up: Doug Aralza
- Chris Rea
Runner-up: Gary Lynch
- Ed Carey, 4 time March Meet winner
Runner-up: Mike Rabener
Rod - Justin Crosby
Runner-up: Josh Wagner
For some unknown
reason (to me), AF and Jr. Fuel will be decided at the upcoming
Heritage race at Sacramento. Not so bad for Kin Bates (Redding,
CA) in AF but pretty tough on the Grand Prix Auto team from Tulsa,
OK. Although, since GP won AF at Wild Horse Pass, theyre
probably in it for the points and will be motivated to make the
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