Sonoma, CA - When the final elimination rounds were completed at the 41st Goodguys March Meet at Bakersfield's Famoso Dragstrip, history had been made. The 41st edition of the March Meet, drag racing's version of Woodstock, had officially stamped...
Sonoma, CA - When the final elimination rounds were completed at the 41st Goodguys March Meet at Bakersfield's Famoso Dragstrip, history had been made. The 41st edition of the March Meet, drag racing's version of Woodstock, had officially stamped itself "alive and well" after a tedious reconstruction process by the Goodguys Vintage Drag Racing Association - an arm of the Alamo, CA based Goodguys Rod & Custom Association. Both spectator attendance and racer turnout surpassed all expectations making the 2000 March Meet officially the world's largest nostalgia drag racing event.
Goodguys revived the March Meet in 1994 after it lay dormant and was left for dead. The March Meet, which kicks off the five-race Goodguys Red Line Oil West Coast Championship Series, has revisited its former glory years. Years like 1970, When teams would compete from all over the United States, making Bakersfield a drag racing Mecca. The March Meet featured a record 35,000 spectators over three days with close to 400 entries vying for class titles. Competition was held in twelve classes with, the winners establishing a stronghold on valuable series points.
Now the focus is Northern California's traction tarmac, Sears Point Raceway. The 12th Nitro Nationals is ready to blast off April 15 & 16 bringing all the stars and cars of drag racing's glory days. With its sticky starting line and horsepower friendly sea level atmospheric conditions, Sears Point may be the perfect venue to set new class records.
In the series' signature, 250mph Top Fuel class, Sunland, California's Bill Alexander will look to extend his points lead at the Nitro Nationals. Alexander defeated Santa Rosa's Jim Murphy in a thrilling Top Fuel finale at the March Meet. Murphy is the defending Goodguys Top Fuel Champion and with a new paint scheme and a revamped dragster, he will be tough to beat at the 12th running of the Nitro Nationals. Other's to watch out for in Top Fuel at Sonoma will be 3rd generation top fueler Larry Gotelli Jr. of South San Francisco, Kayesville, Utah's Jack Harris, Fresno's Denver Schutz, San Jose' s Gerry Steiner and Pleasanton's Mike Fuller among others. Towing all the way from Cedar Falls, Iowa to compete in Top Fuel will be March Meet low qualifier Roger Lechtenberg. Lechtenberg and car owner Dale Suhr will make all five Goodguys/Red Line Oil Series events in 2000.
Pro Supercharged competition is getting downright superlative with points leader Gary Reinero of Merced leading the way in his alcohol guzzling 200mph 1948 Austin. Reinero went from a near disastrous qualifying mishap at the March Meet to the winner's circle, defeating Danville's Mike Leonard in the final at Bakersfield. Other's who figure in the mix at Sonoma include Danville's Ronnie Nunes (who holds both ends of the class record with his ' 62 Corvette), San Jose's Rick Souza and his mighty '62 Bubble Top Chevy Impala, Merced's Steve Wood and his '53 Studebaker, San Leandro's Steve Woods who will steer his 1948 Anglia and Howard Anderson of Sacramento who's stunning '37 Chevy is as pretty as race cars come.
In A/Fuel , Salinas dragster veteran Steve San Paolo was a runaway freight train in Bakersfield, setting a new class ET and MPH record as well as dusting off all comers. San Paolo, who turned 69 last year, will face stiff competition at Sears Point from Jim Paul of Auburn, San Jose's Dusty Renteria, Los Angeles' Bill Genco and Kin Bates of Redding.
The final professional eliminator, Junior Fuel is always exciting at Sears Point. Sears Point Raceway is and always has been Junior Fuel friendly with many national class records being set here. Sixty-Two year old Don Enriquez of Mission Viejo was victorious at the March Meet gaining a valuable series points lead over Bullhead City, AZ' Bill Wayne. Enriquez returned to driving in 1999 after a twenty-two year hiatus. Both Enriquez and Wayne will have to hold off Wayne Ramay of Davis, CA, San Lorenzo's Dan Fenton and the queen of the class, Auburn's Stacy Paul if they want to taste the winner's circle again.
Qualifying and time trials for the 12th Nitro Nationals will be held Saturday, April 15th from 9:00am to 5:00pm with professional qualifying session scheduled for 11:00am and 2:00pm. Sunday's final eliminations are scheduled for NOON. Mendy Fry originally of Santa Rosa, California will serve as the event's Grand Marshal. Fry raced the Goodguys circuit in the early 90's as well as an alcohol dragster on the NHRA circuit before hanging up her driving gloves following her father Ron Fry's 1993 death. Along with her car builder/crew chief father, Fry was well on her way to becoming a drag racing super star. She is now married and living in Southern California where she works as a recruit specialist for Robert Half International.
Joining the drag racing action at the Goodguys 12th Nitro Nationals will be a show & shine featuring rods, customs & classics through 1972 vintage and a manufacturer's midway full of exhibits offering various automotive related merchandise.
General admission is $20 per day and a two-day pass is available for $35. Kids 7-12 are $5 and kids 6 and under are FREE. Pit passes are included with admission. For more information contact Goodguys at (925) 838-9876 Ext. 129 or visit the official Goodguys website at www.goodguysgoodtimes.com