WW2 towers of the competition at shorten Nitro Nationals

WW2 towers of the competition at shorten Nitro Nationals by Cole Coonce, WW2 Mojo Wire Santa Rosa, CA- 4/21/00 -In a manner of speaking, in both sessions of qualifying Jim Murphy and the WW2 AA/Fuel Dragster, uhh, towered over the competition...

WW2 towers of the competition at shorten Nitro Nationals
by Cole Coonce, WW2 Mojo Wire

Santa Rosa, CA- 4/21/00 -In a manner of speaking, in both sessions of qualifying Jim Murphy and the WW2 AA/Fuel Dragster, uhh, towered over the competition at the rain-shortened Goodguys 12th Nitro Nationals last weekend at Sears Point Int'l Raceway, first by performing a spectacular wheelstand right off the pad and later, after repairing the damage, by procuring the #1 Qualifying position for Top Fuel Eliminator.

"It looked like a duck with a couple of broken wings," is how Murphy described the bongoed front axle of his Stirling-chassised dragster. "Had I stayed in it she would have gone over.

"When I started the thing up the rpm was down just a little bit--about 150 rpm--and it really should have been up because the air was real good," is how Murphy explained the faulty magneto rotor that had weakened the amperage and was the catalyst for the wheelie. "When you're under power like that you can really wheelstand," Murphy said, concluding that, "We made a mistake and we got bit; we usually make enough power that we go through the clutch, but this was an odd deal."

Faced with stout competition from a field of 22 front-motored Top Fueler vying for inclusion into an 8-car "A" Main Eliminator and with only one session left to post a number, Murphy and his talented crew got resourceful.

"We were working right until the end," is how Murphy recalls the "mild thrash" to make the call in dragster staging. According to Murphy, one of his crew guys, Dave Thornhill, an alumnus of Chris Alston's Chassisworks in Sacto, borrowed a couple of 2 x 4 pieces of rectangular tubing from one of the on-site industrial shops at SPIR, grabbed a couple of bodies for muscle and leverage and bent the axle back into shape, adjusted the camber and the toe-in and were good to go.

"What we can bend up, we can bend right down," was the team's attitude as the team came together as a unit and prepped the car for the final qualifying session.

"Everyone thought our backs were against the wall," Murphy stated after he and the WW2 cadre stared down adversity and posted a sizzling elapsed time of 6.06 seconds, a number which earned the team Low ET and key qualifying points in the Goodguys VRA series.

A continual drizzle forced cancellation of eliminations on Sunday, which was not only disappointing to the WW2 bunch but strategically calamitous as Murphy was to pair up against the current leader in the points, "Wild Bill" Alexander and the Ground Zero machine, who had qualified 5th. Look for these teams to cross paths again at the next Goodguys VRA points meet, the 5th Hot Rod Happenin' at Pomona, CA, July 29 & 30.

Next up for WW2: the 24th Annual Nitro Nite of Fire/Jim Herbert Memorial Drags at Sacramento Raceway, June 17-18.

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