Wittenberg Surprise Top Fuel Winner

Cottrell Captures Funny Car

 

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Bakersfield, CA - March 07, 2018:

The 2018 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet was plagued with cold and rainy weather that turned the schedule upside down. Thursday was dry and there were a lot of cars who took advantage of the open testing.

The race officially kicked off with Friday Qualifying. In the sole Top Fuel session that featured a host of off pace runs it was Mendy Fry who managed to put a good number up (5.736 at just 219.51) leaving her #1 and the class of the field by over two tenths. The 8 car bump spot was a dismal 7.515 at 215.27. With rain literally washing out the other two session meant that those racing on Sunday would a crap shoot with their lack of data and uncertain conditions.

After calling it due to rain on Saturday afternoon, officials made the decision to run 8-car Top Fuel Eliminations on Sunday based on Friday qualifying session order. With last minute hopes of running the All-American Fuel Dragster Dirty Dozen 12-car Eliminations dashed, four weather-beaten racers like Tim Cullinan who came all the way from Des Plaines IL, towed back home.

Top Fuel aside, Funny Car got two qualifying sessions with the third interrupted by rain on Saturday negating the times of the cars that did run. The first round of 16 cars was also canceled leaving the entire show to be run on Sunday adding to a schedule that had already gone wild. As a side note, all other classes got at least two sessions.

Sunday was insane. With all the cars that needed to get run and several time consuming delays, the finals were run well after dark. By then the cold temps were colder and the track surface was far below optimal heat.

But to get to those chilly finals, we need to take care of the business of qualifying and eliminations. Hope you enjoy the coverage

In Top Fuel it was Pete Wittenberg who took the Top Fuel win over Mendy Fry in a dramatic conclusion to a manic weekend. The nitro finals ran into a dark and cold Sunday night after incessant rain torpedoed Saturday racing action. Wittenberg struck the tires and pedaled the KMA Circuit Breaker out of the gate as Mendy Fry charged ahead, but Fry clipped a half-track timing block driving through tire shake and darkness in the High-Speed Motorsports dragster for a centerline disqualification.

Pleasant surprises have become the norm for Nostalgia Top Fuel driver Pete Wittenberg.

As for Wittenberg ,this was his first career Nostalgia Top Fuel crown and it came at the biggest race of the year. The win was particularly rewarding and was dedicated to the late Bob Richardson who fielded the "Circuit Breaker" name on many race cars over the 5+ decades. When Bob passed in 2014, Pete, who crewed for him, got together with some friends and slowly but surely got parts together to bring the car back into competition. At first Pete Kaiser was the tuner/driver but last year Wittenberg got his license and like they say, the rest is history.

It certainly wasn't the kind of monumental victory he'd envisioned for such a prestigious race, stopping the timers at 14.224 seconds, when his opponent Mendy Fry crossed the centerline to surrender a sure victory.

For the sophomore driver of the Circuit Breaker Top Fuel car, he'll take them as he can get them; absurd or conventional.

"It feels pretty amazing," Wittenberg said. "You know, the amount of effort that my crew put in and everything we've gone through to get to the winner’s circle is, I'm elated, you know."

"I got licensed one year ago at this race and I got to the semi-finals," Wittenberg revealed. "So I won first round and I lost second round. That was the only round win I've ever had before this."

Wittenberg left the starting line slightly behind Fry, but then his car struck the tires just past the tree. He never officially threw in the towel. The odds were clearly not in his favor as Fry reached half-track.

"I got back in the throttle," Wittenberg explained. "I saw her way out on me, so I lifted and I was coasting down there thinking, awe, man."

"Then I saw her come over and it took me a moment to realize what had happened, and that I won it."

For Fry, who had dominated every facet of the event as the defending race champion, heartbreak was so inadequate of a word.

"It left good, and I had no idea that he had smoked the tires," said Fry, who entered eliminations as the No. 1 qualifier. "It started shaking and moving around, I couldn't see where I was, and I just didn't want to yank on the wheel too hard. So, you know, I wish I had it back to do over again."

Fry understands there will be other races. "At least it's not wadded up," she added.

On the other end of the emotional spectrum, Wittenberg was just happy fate shined favorably under the lights at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.

"I got to stand on the tire, wait for my crew, arms up in the air," Wittenberg said. "Always wanted to do that. They came and picked me up, hooting and hollering, crying. It's just a big family thing. So it feels good."

Some Text courtesy of Competition Plus

 

In funny car two of the best made it to the final for the second year in a row. From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada it was Ryan Hodgson in the Ron Hodgson/Pacemaker Chevy Camaro in the left lane and Bobby Cottrell in the Austin & O'Brien Camaro in the right lane. A repeat of the 2017 final that was taken by Hodgson. This year the outcome was reversed.

Cottrell picked up where he left off a little under five months ago winning the 2017 California Hot Rod Reunion, Under the lights on a cold track he left first and took the prestigious win with a 5.723 at 241.41 to Hodgson's 5.957 at 240.17.

 

But to get to the finals, we need to take care of the business of qualifying and eliminations. Hope you enjoy the coverage

 

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Ready to Smell the Nitro?

 


Session One - Friday

Under cold and cloudy skies nitro qualifying kicked off with Funny Car.

 

 

The first pair out to challenge a cold but tight track was Dan Horan Jr. in '69 Camaro and Matt Bynum in the Nitro Nick '70 Camaro. Note the drastic difference between the "pro mod" style Camaro and the classic body on Bynum's car. Personally, I'll take the latter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pair two matched up Chris Davis in his "Old School Nitro" 1977 Plymouth Arrow. '77 Arrow and Shawn Bowen in the Bartone & Lebor '69 Camaro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pair three was Brad Thompson in his "Jail Break" and Geoff Monise in the VanGundy & Clark "Quarter Pounder" '77 Monza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Up next waa Tim Boychuck in his "Happy Hour" '69 Camaro and Kris Krabill in the "Darkside" '79 Challenger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next pair featured Rian Konno in the Kazanjian-Lemon-Konno '73 Mustang and Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" '69 Camaro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doing synchronized burnouts it was Bobby Cottrell Austin & O'Brien '69 Camaro and Paul Romine in his "ManOwar" '79 Mustang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next pair was Bill Windham in his "Shakedown" '69 Camaro and Steve Easton in the Easton & Godfrey "Burnin' Money" '72 Barracuda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Out next was Steve Densham in the "Teachers Pet" '69 Camaro and Don Hudson in his "Beachcomber" '77 Trans AM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2018 finds a new driver/tuner for Gary Turner's "Pedaler" in the person of multi-talented Cory Lee. He was paired with Rick Rogers in the "Fighting Irish" '74 Camaro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next out was Mike Halstead driving the "Code Red" '78 Camaro and Jeff Arend in the "California Hustler" '78 Trans AM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don't know why in the first session there would be a single other than the other car couldn't start, but for Mark Sanders in his "Mr. Explosive" '70 Mustang that's how it played out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next to fire was the defending March Meet champion Ryan Hodgson in the Edmonton, Canada based Pacemaker '69 Camaro and Jason Rupert in his Rupert & Littlefield '69 Camaro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The final pair was John Weaver in his Cascade Automotive sponsored '78 Omni and Scott Cousimano in his "Nitro Mafia" '78 Arrow .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Page 1 - Funny Car Qualifying Session 1

Page 2 - Top Fuel Qualifying Session 1

Page 3- Funny Car Qualifying Session 2

Page 4 - AA/FA All - RED TF All

Page 5 - Funny Car Final Qualifying

Page 6 - Funny Car Round One

Page 7 - Top Fuel Round One

Page 8 - Funny Car & Top Fuel Round Two

Page 9 - Funny Car Semi Finals

Page 10 - Funny Car & Top Fuel Final - Winners Circle - Nitro Interns

Page 11 - Other Cars

Page 12 - Pits N' People

Drag Strip Rumble - Top Fuel Qualifying

Drag Strip Rumble - PT. 2 : Top Fuel 1st Round Eliminations

 

 

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