Goodguys -- 7th Fuel & Gas Finals -- Pro Preview Bakersfield, CA - The Goodguys/VRA 2005 racing season will come to a climactic conclusion October 28-30 as the 7th Fuel & Gas Finals envelopes historic Famoso Raceway with close to 500 vintage...
Goodguys -- 7th Fuel & Gas Finals -- Pro Preview
Bakersfield, CA - The Goodguys/VRA 2005 racing season will come to a climactic conclusion October 28-30 as the 7th Fuel & Gas Finals envelopes historic Famoso Raceway with close to 500 vintage drag racers and a host of hot rod gearheads. With the 2005 Goodguys/VRA Class Championships on the line -- there's a lot to talk about. Let's get right to it.
Eight-year nostalgia top fuel veteran Rick McGee, 32, will look to take down his first-ever Goodguys Championship driving he and his father-in-law's "Overtime Special." Over the years, McGee has been one of top fuel's most reliable campaigners often lasting to the middle elimination rounds. His runner-up finishes at the season-opening March Meet and last month's Northwest Nationals in Seattle have him a scant 33-points in front of San Diego's Rick White and top fuel rookie Brett Harris who's only 44-points behind the leader despite missing the Pomona race earlier this year. McGee ran the recent NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion but with the team's "B" motor. "We're saving our good motor for the finals," he said emphatically. "We're putting a lot of fuel through our motor this year and that's the main reason we've been running hard and consistent," he said. "I love racing with my father-in-law Darryl. We built this car ourselves and we maintain it and tune it ourselves. It would be awesome to win the Championship for our long time faithful crew guys like TJ "Termite Man" Eastham, Melvin Cardoza, Brian Sumpter and Larry Marriott. I've got a great team around me."
Another tight battle is brewing in nostalgia Funny Car with leader Dan Horan holding a 25-point lead over rival Larry Petit. The two have been the most consistent performers all season with Horan firmly in charge of the class ET record at 6.012 and Petit frequently re-setting his own class speed record which currently stands at 238.09mph. Tension has also mounted between the two camps with both cars traded verbal jabs at one another, even going so far as adding small signs to the exterior of their cars, the barbs clearly aimed at one another. Look for them to square off late in Sunday's eliminations as both should qualify at the top of the class ladder.
A large turnout of nostalgia funny cars is expected for the race. Steven Nichols will return to Bakersfield in the "Mill Road Boys" 1970 Camaro -- towing all the way from Delaware.
Chris Abbey and George Goshgarian -- Fresno's "Odd" couple are poised to claim their first AA/GAS Championship after four years of struggling with their purple '63 Corvette. The two hooked up to win the 1997 and 1998 Goodguys A/GAS crown and know how to perform when the pressure is on. This year -- the team struck a magical combination which has allowed them to run a sizeable amount of air and fuel into their big Brad Anderson hemi. They've led the way all year performance-wise but defending class champion Ed Moss is getting close, as is Sean Renteria. But so far it's been the Fresno guys who've been quickest and fastest. They've qualified #1 at every race this year and set top speed of ever event. At the Northwest Nationals in Seattle they chopped almost two-tenths of a second off the class ET record, setting the new mark at 6.562 at a whopping speed of 210.90. Both Moss and Steve Woods are chasing Abbey but if the big bad purple machine qualifies and stages for the first round -- the fat lady will begin to sing.
72-year old Tony Waters, a native son of Bakersfield and a man who has spent most of his entire life on drag strips, has his driver Mike Austin clinging to a tenuous lead in the A/Fuel division. Austin's blown alcohol entry, Waters as crew chief, has been battling feverishly with the injected nitro cars of "Canadian Claude" Lavoie and teammate Kin Bates all season. While Austin and Waters have held the consistency edge, it's been LaVoie and Bates who have cranked out the eye-popping runs, LaVoie setting both ends of the class record in Seattle at 6.228 @ 226.51. The top three are separated by just 67 points and with a strong 16-car field expected at the Finals -- this points battle figures to play prominently in both qualifying and eliminations.
Finally, the Junior Fuel championship has come down to a match of will between crafty veteran JD Zink and Kansas' favorite son Scott Parks. Parks, who owns a 31 point lead over Zink has reached all four final rounds so far this season and despite two wins hasn't been able to shake loose from Zink. With cool air and a tight track expected for the finals, watch for these two to be blasting out 6-second times throughout the weekend. With points also being awarded for Low ET and top speed of the event, look for some blistering performances from these two.
There's not much to talk about in Junior Fuel B as John Rasmussen will be taking his first-ever Goodguys championship trophy back to Littleton, Colorado after appearances in all four final rounds so far this season, winning three of them fort a commanding points lead.
Professional qualifying for the 7th Fuel & Gas Finals gets underway Friday, October 28th with two pro sessions at 9:30am and 4pm. Qualifying continues Saturday at 12:30pm with round one of top fuel scheduled for 4pm Saturday, October 29th. Final eliminations start at 10am Sunday, October 30th.