Mendy Fry - A Very Popular Top Fuel Win

Hodgson Captures Funny Car

This is just a teaser page. Full race coverage will be available when
the thousands of photos are processed and placed on Web pages.

 

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 Bakersfield, 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 entire meet.

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.

 

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TOP FUEL FINAL

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Fry left hard and had stout early numbers.

 

 

 

 

 

Stopping the 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.

 

 

 

 

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FUNNY CAR FINAL

 

Fuel Funny Car boiled down to #5 qualifier Ryan Hodgson and the current HRHRS Funny Car Champion and #3 qualifier, Kris Krabill.

 

 

Hodgson 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.

 

The fire 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.

 

By instinct, 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.

 

 

Paramedic Sean 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.

 

More of this incredible sequence will be featured on the final race coverage.

 

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WINNERS CIRCLE

 

 

Mendy Fry - High Speed Motorsports - 5.59 at 252 mph.
Runner-up: Jim Murphy - broke on burnout

 

 

 

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Ryan Hodgson - Ron Hodgson/Pacemaker - 5.60 at 259
Runner-up: Kris Krabill

 

 

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Brian Hall - AA/FA - The Tramp - 6.06 at 214
Runner-up: James Generalao Jr.

 

 

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Rear Engine Top Fuel - Mike Halstead - Mike's Transmission - 6.04 at 229
Runner-up: Jim Maroney

 

 

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Nostalgia Eliminator 1 - Dan Schrokosch
Runner-up: Dan Martin

 

 

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Nostalgia Eliminator 2 - Todd Fernandez
Runner-up: Danny See

 

 

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Nostalgia Eliminator 3 - Ed DeStaute
Runner-up: Ron Kolb

 

 

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7.0 Pro - Todd Ellingson
Runner-up: Mark Hall

 

 

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A/Gas - Mike Mossi
Runner-up: Steve Galileo

 

 

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B/Gas - Rich Harrison
Runner-up: Doug Aralza

 

 

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C/Gas - Chris Rea
Runner-up: Gary Lynch

 

 

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D/Gas - Ed Carey, 4 time March Meet winner
Runner-up: Mike Rabener

 

 

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Hot Rod - Justin Crosby
Runner-up: Josh Wagner

 

 

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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, they’re probably in it for the points and will be motivated to make the trip.

 

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