Fuller & Dunlap Break Through, McDaniel brings home 2nd Consecutive Goodguys Top Fuel Crown. November 4th, Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA - Heading into the Goodguys Fuel & Gas Finals, the quest for the Goodguys 2001 Top Fuel Championship was a...
Fuller & Dunlap Break Through, McDaniel brings home 2nd Consecutive Goodguys Top Fuel Crown.
November 4th, Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA - Heading into the Goodguys Fuel & Gas Finals, the quest for the Goodguys 2001 Top Fuel Championship was a clear-cut, two horse race. So everyone thought. While Jack "The Sheriff" Harris held a 29 point lead on defending champion Rance McDaniel prior to the event, McDaniel was able to shave that number down to 25 points by virtue of out-qualifying the sheriff by three positions on Saturday. When Sunday's eliminations began, it was a pretty basic championship scenario. In light of the fact that the 1st round awards drivers 40 points, if Harris or McDaniel faltered in the dreaded 1st round, the one who advanced looked like the sure-fire champ. But wait. In third position in the points chase was Bill Dunlap driving Mike Fuller's "Midnight" entry and if both Harris and McDaniel went out early, coupled with a win, Dunlap would be the champion by a scant one point!
Unfortunately for the "Sheriff," he ran out of bullets and lost his 1st round race by virtue of smoking tires to number one qualifier Rick McGee (who ran back to back 6.04's in Saturday qualifying - a career best). McDaniel meanwhile, had by no means, a free pass to the championship title. His quest? To win round one by taking out Dale Pulde - a feared competitor who was due for some lady luck driving John & Linda Eirich's "Ground Zero" entry. In what ultimately turned out to be "the" race of the event and 2001 season, McDaniel got the win over Pulde by a whisker 6.10 to the loser's 6.13, but the margin of victory measured not feet but inches! Pulde's .489 light to McDaniel's .500 made things too close for comfort. "I saw way too much of Pulde," said a jubilant McDaniel in the shut-off area. "I watched Harris lose and all the pressure was on us at that point. Thank god the Championship is over, now we can have fun and race." Indeed it was over. Rance and Bobby McLennan's "Champion Speed Shop" small-block Chevy entry had repeated as Top Fuel Champions. In the end, McDaniel and Dunlap faced off for the event title with Dunlap taking his first Goodguys event win since 1996, running 6.16 to McDaniel's shut-off 8.14.
Bob Muravez, driving John & Jeannie Halstead's "Western Hoist" entry collected the Top Fuel "B" honors (second fastest eight qualified cars) taking out veteran west coast drag racer Kirk Kuhn's in the final. Interestingly, Muravez' final run of 6.15 was one-thousandth of a second quicker than Dunlap's Top Fuel "A" victory, proving the Western Hoist team has what it takes to compete on any level.
The Pro-Supercharged event title and season championship went to Steve Woods who for the 4th consecutive year driving his BAE hemi powered 1948 "Hypocrite" Prefect proved he is ndeed the master of his domain. Woods held a 1 point advantage over rival and near-namesake Steve Wood at the start of Sunday's title quest, but Wood, pilot of the Richwood Meats '53 Studebaker, had a huge blower explosion in his round one race with Chris Abbey. The resulting damage and fireball cost him a 1st round victory handing Woods his familiar crown. Showing his muscle, Woods ran Low ET of the meet in the semi 's with a 6.93 before defeating Ronnie Nunes in the final 7.05 to 7.12.
Although he had the Junior Fuel Championship all neatly wrapped up heading into the Fuel & Gas finals, Bullhead City, Arizona's Bill Wayne would like to forget his weekend in Bakersfield. In fact, he doesn't really remember much of it. In a second round race with Mendy Fry, Wayne's right front spoke wheel apparently came apart at the half-track mark, sending the car violently into the guardrail, which then sent the Lucas Oil Products sponsored dragster through a series of bounces and tumbles, before coming to a stop about 100 yards past the finish line. Wayne was cut out of the remainder of the car by the Famoso Raceway safety crew and was then transported to a local trauma center. Dazed and sore, Wayne was released Tuesday, November 6th listed in fair condition with no broken bones, just lots of stiffness and soreness. Second place points holder Wayne Ramay advanced to the finals from his #4 qualifying position to face Burlingame, Kansas wonderboy Scott Parks -who's one year removed from high school. Parks, who was in search of his 3rd career Goodguys Junior Fuel event title came up short in the final falling to Ramay's 7.301 to 7.305.
A/Fuel low qualifier Ron Attebury, who's been looking for his first career Goodguys event title since he and partner Skip Rebozzi debuted their new BAE powered dragster in April, will have to wait until next year to try again. He fell to Jim Paul's "Mischief Maker Racing" small-block Chevy powered entry in the final 6.62 to 6.73. 2001 Class champion Sean Bellmeur fell to Attebury in the semi's, but in the process wrapped up his first-ever Goodguys A/Fuel Championship crown.
Other event winners at the Goodguys Fuel & Gas Finals were Sean Renteria (A/GAS), Brad Chafee (B/GAS), J. Cameron (C/GAS), Mike Cross (Nostalgia Eliminator), Dave Ward (N/E II), Dave Flagg (N/E III), Carrie Marlin (Hot Rod) and Dean Kirkman (Street Machine).