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

 

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FINAL

 

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After what seemed like an unreasonable wait, the nitro finals did not take place until after 7 p.m. on a very cold racing surface where finding traction was a major problem.

 

Funny car was up first with the #1 and #6 qualifiers, Bobby Cottrell and Ryan Hodgson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both drivers left together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cottrell made his slowest run of the weekend but still was the best at maneuvering on the tricky track. He took the Wally with a 5.723 at 241.41 while Hodgson carded a sub-par 5.957 at 240.17.

 

 

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FINAL

 

Looking for a repeat March Meet win was the 2017 champ Mendy Fry and TF sophomore Pete Wittenberg - the overwhelming underdog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wittenberg left first as Fry was taking no chances of a red light.

 

Before the tree Wittenberg went into tire smoke. Fry was long gone until she wasn't. The high horse power HSMS fueler rattled the tires, got out of the groove and the car went over the center line handing the win to the "Circuit Breaker".

 

 

Final Video

 

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SUNDAY WINNERS CIRCLE
Due to weather the other classes were contested on Monday

 

Top Fuel champion Pete Wittenberg and crew.

 

 

The win was dedicated to the late Bob Richardson who previously owned this car and a dozen or so dragsters that carried the "Circuit Breaker" signage.

 

 

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Funny Car winner Bobby Cottrell and owner/tuner Bucky Austin.

 

 

 

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The AA/FA trophy went repeat winner, Dan Hix.

 

 

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The newly formed 5.90 Funny Car class was taken by Dean Oberg.

 

 

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Mike Halstead took home the RE/TF trophy.

 

 

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TOP FUEL INTERNS

 

I would now like to give credit where credit is due and recognize what was a really cool program that took place throughout the course of the March Meet weekend. It was called the Top Fuel Intern project that involved select automotive students from the Bakersfield Jr. College. It was the brain child of Bob McLennan of Champion Speed Shop fame. Below, in Bob's own words, this is how the program came together.

 


"Nitro Bobby" McLennan

 

"I have been wanting to do this for quite some time. I started a program last year at Skyline College in San Bruno Calif which offers a great automotive curriculum. The Junior Colleges have filled the void from the elimination of 99% of all high school auto shops. I formed the Jim McLennan Drag Racing Foundation, a self funded entity that promotes automotive education and the promotion and participation in Drag Racing. Last year we gave graduating students tools to welcome them into the automotive repair world. My next move was to get Bakersfield College involved because of it's proximity to 2 of the largest races of the year. I finally pulled the trigger and called the Dean of Students who was very excited who in turn introduced me to Vic Posey the Automotive department head. After Vic and I talked a bit, it was time to make a visit to the College to see what they were about. I called Blake Bowser who had expressed interest if I ever got anything going to go with me to visit the school.

When we got to the school we were both blown away at the facility as well as the instructors teaching the more than 400 students. We viewed a complete machine shop equipped with a head surfacer, CNC honing bar, line bore machine, etc. Having a machine shop course puts them a cut above most JC's. The three of us talked, I gave him my history with an emphasis on my Dad and his passion for the sport of Drag Racing and my desire to get the students involved, not just putting them in the seats as a spectator but to get them involved in the nuts and bolts of getting a Top Fuel Dragster to the starting line.

I've always said to people that ask, we have a great group of car owners that are pretty special in their own right, we all help each other out across the board no matter what. I was pretty sure most of the teams would help me out if I asked them to take a student and have him or her shadow one of their crew members. I was fine with the concept until I really started thinking about the little nuances of each student hanging around the pits. This was a big ask on my part, but I have to say, every team took at least one student, most took two and I couldn't have asked for a more professional presence from all of the teams. We are still getting feedback from the college to see what we can do better at the reunion in October.


Blake was fantastic, he provided all the students total access to the starting line, a 3 day event ticket for every student, a prime space right in middle of vendor row for the school to put up a booth promoting their curriculum as well as showing off an oval track car the students built in their classroom.

NHRA Museum, I called Larry Fisher to see if the Museum would be interested in providing the students a 1/2 day visit to the Museum to show them the heritage of drag racing and where we all came from. Larry was fantastic, not only did he get them into the Museum the Sat before the race, he provided them with a 3 hour personal tour. WoW!


So, I could go on and on with the success of our first try at this. We all hear the complaints about the kids today, from what they race (if any) to what's it like to work on a car today but we really don't do anything to get them involved with some of the great people that had first hand experiences of yester-year. I think this was a good first step."

I really don’t have much more to add. In my conversations with Vic (Posey), the students have said this was a life changing event for them, never in their wildest dreams did they realize the intensity and shear all out effort it takes to make a car perform.


We are preparing for the next race which is the Reunion in October. The Jim McLennan Drag Racing Foundation is a sponsor of this years Nitro Revival as we hope to spread the word of its mission, “to enhance the promotion and participation in Drag Racing”. Let’s get the next generation involved!"

Bob McLennan

 

 

TOP FUEL COLLEGE INTERNS VIDEO

 

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At the end of the weekend I was left more than impressed with the two students assigned to the High Speed Motorsports Top Fuel car. They are the only two females in the class and both have excelled. I was able to observe them soaking up information given by several members of the team, then jumping in to help where needed. Cylinder heads, clutch, fuel, top end - they were all over the place as the photos below will attest to.

 


 

Now, in their own words, is how the experience left Morgan and Alanna.

"I’m glad I was given the opportunity to help out with the HighSpeed team. Everyone was extremely nice and helpful. I’m not very good at writing, I’m more of a hands on type of person and want to work on something. I loved being able to work on the dragster and actually being taught what to do was fantastic. It was my first time going to the drag races. Like words cannot express how amazing of an experience I was given. I loved it and can’t wait to help out again. I want to thank everyone in the HighSpeed team, Mr. Posey, Bob McClennan, and everyone who made this experience possible."

Sincerely,
Morgan Langston


 

"I cannot thank the High Speed Motorsports team, Bob, and my professors enough for putting on this amazing experience.

I had never done anything like this in my life. It’s a completely different world than what I was used to, but I felt so comfortable and excited with you guys. You all made me feel incredibly welcome, and didn’t spare us! We did whatever you guys needed, and would do it again in a heartbeat. It’s truely a euphoric feeling to watch Mendy scream down the track and watch all the hard work you guys(and a little bit of us) put into the car pay off. This internship was honestly one of the best, if not THE best, experience of my life. "

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your story!
Alanna

 

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Alanna Kuhn with team owner, Tom Shelar.

 

Morgan Langston with Eric Mc Morrow who has a mutitude of tasks.

 

 

 

Mike Bucher explaining clutch mamagement to Alanna.

 

 

 

 

 

Whit Bazemore interviewed both girls for a Dragstrip Rumble video.

 

 

 

 

 

Morgan and Alanna Interview on Tape - Mid First Round TF Video

 

Come check out the Top Fuel Interns at the 2018 California Hot Rod Reuinon in October.

 

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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

 

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