The Weathermen and the People Have Spoken! by Cole Coonce, NR Mojo Wire Los Angeles, CA- 04/21/00 - After the first rainout in the history of competition at the Goodguys Nitro Nationals at Sears Point, CA, there is little movement to report...
The Weathermen and the People Have Spoken!
by Cole Coonce, NR Mojo Wire
Los Angeles, CA- 04/21/00 - After the first rainout in the history of competition at the Goodguys Nitro Nationals at Sears Point, CA, there is little movement to report among the nitromaniacal hunters and hunted who dwell on the Nitronic Research AA/Fuel Dragster List. Eliminations were cancelled on Sunday with no make up date planned. Qualifying was completed, however, and those numbers will be tallied towards advancing or maintaining one's position on the List.
WW2, the top seed on the List, had perhaps the most dramatic moments of the weekend: A near-blowover off the pad in the first session of qualifying; subsequently, after what team WW2 owner/operator Jim Murphy considered "a mild thrash" to bend the discombobulated front axle back into shape, on the second (and final) qualifying pass Murphy pinned back the ears of the rest of the competition with a startling 6.06 @ 236 mph, numbers which earned him the #1 qualifying spot.
The #2 seed on the List, Larry Gotelli, Jr. and the Gotelli Speed Shop entry, also put some distance between themselves and the rest of the List by posting a bodacious 240 mph shot in the first session of qualifying. It was perhaps the fastest pass ever recorded in a Rat-motored front engine fueler...
Due to the cancellation, no point was awarded for Top Eliminator, but a point was rewarded in a rather unique fashion: As an experiment in reaching out to the legion of drag racing fanatics that follow the progress of this AA/Fuel dragster circuit on the web, an informal internet poll of informed nitromaniacs showed that cybernaut/bleacher bums consider the Tedford, Hester & McGee entry out of Exeter, CA to be the most formidable yet underrated AA/Fuel Dragster team to have slipped between the cracks on the Nitronic Research AA/FD List.
This experimental procedure for rewarding a bonus point for fan support moved the Tedford entry from off the radar into the 2nd alternate position, behind Jack Harris' "Nitro Thunder."
Team leader Darrel Tedford aka "Tedder" was perplexed and pleasantly intrigued by the sentiments of the internet bleacher bums, succintly litanizing his humble credentials as a fuel tuner by saying, "We're just a bunch of Okie tractor mechanics."
As a bellwether of how tight the competition has become with more and more fuel cars continuing to make their presence felt, four teams on the List failed to qualify for the "A" Main at the Nitro Nationals: Fuller & Dunlap, California Trucker, Suhr & Lechtenberg and Steiner & Berger. This phenomenon can also be partially attributed to the quirkiness of the Sears Point surface (cold) and sea level barometric conditions (absolute dynamite). Nitronic Reseach feels that it was a combination of increasingly intense competition as well as the fickle racing conditions that permitted such heretofore underrated entries to kidney punch the circuit's "hitters." Witness the prowess and progress of Tedford, Hester & McGee (6.14, 228 mph, #3 qualifier) Lance Osborn (6.22, 211, #6 qualifier), Nitro Thunder (6.30, 231, #7), "Nitro Neil" Bisciglia and the Nasdaq Nitro digger ( 6.31, 230, #8) and tell me the water isn't getting crowded...
HOW THE LIST FARED:
1) WW2: Low ET: 6.06.
2) Gotelli Speed Shop: Top Speed 240 mph, #2 qualifier with a 6.08
3) Fuller & Dunlap: Qualified 14th with a 6.49, 219 mph.
4) California Trucker: Qualified 9th, 6.34 @ 227 mph.
5) Champion Speed Shop: Qualified 4th, 6.15 @ 209 mph.
6) Orange Crate: Qualified 12th, 6.46, 168 mph.
7) Steiner & Berger: Qualified 13th, 6.48, 220
8) Ground Zero: Qualified 5th, 6.17, 221 mph
9) Fugowie: Qualified 22nd, 10.89, 62 mph
10) Smith & Allred: Qualified 18th, 6.63, 180 mph