BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (October
21, 2018) The 2018 California Hot Rod Reunion® presented
by Automobile Club of Southern California completed competition
at Auto Club Famoso Raceway on Sunday crowning not only event
winners but also many champions in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage
Mendy Fry piloted her High Speed
Motorsports dragster to victory with a 5.61-second pass at 259.36
mph in the Nostalgia Top Fuel final taking out Rick McGee. Fry
was the top qualifier for the weekend and achieved the low ET
for the event in the semi-finals with a 5.550 ET.
In Nostalgia Funny Car, Jason
Rupert took home the Wally when he ran a 5.63 pass at 259.51
in his 1969 Camaro bettering Rian Konnos 5.855 pass at
Other winners included Brian
Hope in AA / Fuel Altered, Drew Austin in A / Fuel, John Marottek
in Junior Fuel, Steve Faller in 7.0 Pro, Bernie Plourd in Nostalgia
Eliminator 1, Robert Johnson in Nostalgia Eliminator 2, Lindsey
Lister in Nostalgia Eliminator 3, Brian Rogers in A / Gas, Val
Miller in B / Gas, Bill Becker in C / Gas, Bill Norton in D /
Gas, Scott White in AA / Gas, Roger Holder in Pro Mod, Jack Goodrich
in A / FX, and Alex George in Hot Rod.
The 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage
Series champions are Mendy Fry in Top Fuel, Bobby Cottrell in
Funny Car, Drew Austin in A / Fuel, John Marottek in Jr. Fuel,
Brad Denny in 7.0 Pro, Dustin Lee in Nostalgia Eliminator 1,
Robert Johnson in Nostalgia Eliminator 2, Ed DeStaute in Nostalgia
Eliminator 3, Frank Merenda in A / Gas, Kevin Riley in B / Gas,
Chris Rea in C / Gas, Ed Carey in D / Gas, and Dale Hicks in
Mendy Fry arrived
at the 27th California Hot Rod Reunion with the 2018 NHRA Hot
Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel championship already in hand and
drove the High-Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel Dragster over the finish
line for the event win. Her Top Fuel victory at Famoso Raceway
in Bakersfield marked a three-peat season clincher for Fry and
the team after successive wins the National Hot Rod Reunion and
Nightfire Nationals Fry has already clinched her first Top Fuel
world championship in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Drag Racing Series,
Its been a banner year for Fry, who has put together impressive
performances time and time again, winning two races in 2018.
But even with the championship clinched, the team wanted to cap
the season with a CHRR win.
a total celebratory weekend, but were not going to the
(Hot Rod Reunion®) just to sit on our butts and celebrate,
Fry said. There are real rivalries that have formed this
year and clinching the title early has only intensified that.
For me, winning the title makes it even more important to do
well at this race. Weve had a great season and to go and
lay an egg at the reunion would really be anticlimactic. I feel
like we can go and kick some butt.
the theme this season for Fry, who has enjoyed immense success
driving the High-Speed Motorsports dragster for Tom Shelar. After
racing in Nostalgia Funny Car, Fry went back to the Top Fuel
ranks in 2017, joining up with Shelar for a memorable campaign.
She won the March Meet in Bakersfield that year, finishing second
to Jim Young in a tight points battle. But this season Fry and
her team have been a step ahead, consistently running low E.T.
and top speed at nearly every event, going to four final rounds.
While its already been a dream season for Fry, winning
the Hot Rod Reunion® would be the ultimate capper to the
belongs to the team, Fry said. Theyve upped
the bar for me as a driver, and thankfully I havent screwed
it up this year. The thing thats really helped is getting
to know the car. Theyre giving me something that repeats
and because the team is so consistent and the maintenance on
the car is second to none, its really upped my confidence
level. I love this track and going there. My first Top Fuel win
happened at the March Meet and it feels like Im home there.
only one round of racing this year, ran the table on Low ET and
Top Speed at every event except for Top Speed at the National
Hot Rod Reunion. Id say Tom Shelar and the crew have it
dialed in. My team gave me the car to beat, and I didnt
screw it up. So this win is theirs. Im just glad they picked
me. said Mendy.
Driving for the
legendary Bucky Austin for the second season has brought out
the best in Cottrell, who enjoyed success in A/Fuel and 7.0 Pro
before moving to the Funny Car ranks. Now, hes on the verge
of his first championship, a fact that still hasnt sunk
like a dream come true, Cottrell said. If you would
have told me I would have a chance to win a championship my second
year driving Funny Car I would have laughed in your face. Its
just been a dream season and Im trying not to screw it
up. Everybody just clicks on the team. Everyone has a job to
do and theyre very good at it, and having Bucky on my side,
his direction and leadership has really made the biggest difference
in my driving the last couple years.
at the opportunity to move to Nostalgia Funny Car and drive for
Austin a year ago, and hes come into his own this year
alongside the talented team. Cottrell won the March Meet in Bakersfield
and has seven overall wins in 2018, including a number of victories
in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Drag Racing Series. He still has
a tiny bit of work to do to clinch the championship at the Hot
Rod Reunion® over Shawn Bowen, but Cottrell is still aiming
for a big result.
just very aggressive and he just gets me intense, gets me fired
up, Cottrell said. Like I tell the crew, this (opponent)
is trying to take whats mine and Im not going to
let it happen. Im glad he gave me the opportunity and Im
just excited about it. Just the way hes explained stuff,
hes really easy to understand. I build cars for a living,
so we connected in that aspect and its worked out so far.
Everyone on this team is passionate and I dont want to
let them down.
Funny Car, Jason Rupert took home the Wally when he ran a 5.63
pass at 259.51 in his 1969 Camaro bettering Rian Konnos
5.855 pass at 241.84.
"The car ran so good last
night (in the first round of eliminations), I was hoping this
would happen," said Rupert. "I go to every race with
the intention of winning but everyone else does too. We had a
lot of weird stuff happen in the pits but my guys persevered.
They do a great job."
Car Qualifying Session One
midday. Let the oil downs begin.
First pair, first
session. Brad Thompson from close by Visalia, CA, in his Jail
Break/System 1 '69 Camaro and Billy Morris from La Quinta, CA,
in his "Problem Child" '69 Camaro.
Thompson started to run on aluminum
and clicked it to a 5.850 at just 208.04. Morris carded a 6.05
Pair two matched Matt Bynum from
Ypsilanti, MI, driving the "Nitro Nick" '70 Camaro
and Dan Horan Jr. who hales from Rancho Cascades, CA, in his
Pair three featured Jon Capps
from Las Vegas, NV, in the "Dark Side" '79 Challenger
and soon to be FC Champion Bobby Cottrell from Whittier, CA,
driving the Austin and O'Brien '69 Camaro.
Capps carded a 6.282
at 225.26 while Cottrell went low with a 5.738 at 246.93 .
Up next was Geoff Monise from
Buena, Park CA, in the "Quarter Pounder" '77 Monza
and Bill Windham who resides in El Dorado Hills, CA, driving
his "Shakedown" '69 Camaro.
Had this been a race it couldn't
have been closer. Windham stopped the clocks with a 6.05 at 240.51
while Monise also carded a 6.05 at 241.02. Would have been won
on the starting line.
Next pair matched Tim Nemeth
down from Chilliwack, BC, in his "Iceman" '77 Firebird
and second generation driver Justin Taylor from Anaheim, Ca,
in the Mean Wicked Nasty & Mean '73 Mustang.
Nemeth stopped the clocks with
a solid 5.853 at 244.12 while Taylor fell short with a 6.012
at 233.16. On to session two.
Out of the water box came Tony
Jurado in his brand new Capital Punishment 69
Camaro, and Ryan Konno who was about to embark on the best weekend
of his career.
Konno carded a flawless 5.82
at 250.74. Jurado made an intentional shut off for the first
run on the car.
Up next for their first shot
at the Famoso quarter mile was Cory Lee from Oceanside CA, in
Gary Turner's "Pedaler" '79 Challenger. In the other
lane was Jeff Utterback from Santa Monica CA, driving the Pisano
& Matsubara '74 Vega.
Lee got a 5.825 at 250.74
time slip while Utterback slowed to a 6.314 at 218.55.
Reigning FC champion
Ryan Hodgson from Sturgeon County, AB, Canada in the Pacemaker
'69 Camaro and Mike Halstead from Sonora, CA, driving the "Code
Red" '78 Camaro.
Hodgson carded a solid
5.787 at 245.00 as Halstead coasted through with a 9.025.
With the flopper
qualifying nearing an end, it was John Hale up from Addison,
TX, in his "One Bad Texan" '69 Camaro and Steve Densham
in the famlies "Teachers Pet".
Densham stepped right up and
went low with a 5.679 at 252.90 while Hale jumped into the field
with a 5.736 at 255.92.
This pair featured
Matt Melendez from Glen Ellen, CA, in his "Cacklin
Critter" '70 Challenger. New to the circuit, its a former
Shawn Bowen car now tuned by Jake Sanders. In the other lane
was Marc Meadors from Alamo, CA, 'driving his Fuel Curve '70
The next to last pair was Jeff
Arend from La Verne, CA, in the California Huster '78 Firebird
and Jason Rupert out of Yorba Linda, CA, driving his Littlefield
& Rupert '69 Camaro.
Rupert went into tire
shake and scrapped the run.
Arend went straight to
the #2 hole with a 5.714 at 252.90.
The last car in a long session
that included 2 oil downs was Kris Krabill from Tacoma, WA, driving
the Cascade Automotive '79 Omni owned by Rick and Sharise Akers
with tuning help from Del & Chuck Worsham who were there
at the Reunion, The body is the former Will Martin Speed
Racer 79 Omni
Krabill slowed to a 6.219
Fuel Qualifying Session 1
Make Your Reservations