Goodguys: Sonoma: Event report

Gerry Steiner and Wayne Ramay reset Goodguys National Records as the 14th K & N Filters/Goodguys Nitro Nationals Officially Christen's new Sears Point Facility. Sonoma, CA - Sears Point Raceway has a new look. It also has brand new lightning...

Gerry Steiner and Wayne Ramay reset Goodguys National Records as the 14th K & N Filters/Goodguys Nitro Nationals Officially Christen's new Sears Point Facility.

Sonoma, CA - Sears Point Raceway has a new look. It also has brand new lightning quick drag strip, which was officially christened April 20 & 21 by the cars and stars of the Goodguys Vintage Drag Racing Association. Over 300 1972 & earlier vintage drag racing machines attended the track's official "coming out party," and were joined by an event-record crowd of 25,000 spectators for the two-day event. Throw in a few hundred rods & customs and a manufacturer's midway under two days of California susnshine and you get the idea this was indeed a special weekend.

In Top Fuel action, San Jose's Gerry Steiner kept up his season-long hot streak by easily defeating 19 other class rivals and resetting his own National record ET mark. Saturday in his lone qualifying attempt, he raced to the Red Line Oil Low Qualifier bonus logging a 5.895 @ 238.22mph. On Sunday, he defeated Jack "The Sheriff" Harris in round one with a 5.881 @ 239.10 (resetting his old record of 5.885 by four one thousandths of a second), then ousted Bob Muravez with another 5.88 in the second round. In the semi's Steiner "let up" a bit beating Howard Haight with a 5.98, then in the final round took out Fresno's Denver Schutz with a 6.002 @ 231.87 to the loser's off-pace 6.830 @ 145.30. "I have know idea what we found," said the likeable 63-year old Steiner who regards himself as "The World's quickest and fastest Austrian". Steiner added "Crew Chief Brad Berger has found something in the tune-up, but we don't have any fancy parts on the car that I can point to - we've just stumbled onto a great combination." In just two Goodguys Series races thus far this season, Steiner has made eleven runs and has run a 5-second ET in 7 of those 11 runs - a record nobody has ever come close to in vintage top fuel racing.

Forest Hill, California's Jim Paul proved best in the A/Fuel division, taking his small block Chevy powered front-engined dragster to the win over archrival Sean Bellemeur 6.55 to 9.57. The two also met at last month's 43rd March Meet with Bellemeur getting the win after Paul fell asleep at the 'tree, but this time around the 57 year old Paul easily outran his much younger competitor. The two are virtually deadlocked in Series points and will meet for the class Championship in November as the Goodguys 3rd Fuel & Gas Finals visits Bakersfield's Famoso Raceway November 1-3.

The action in AA/Gas got wild in the first round when Vida, Oregon's Mel Bryson lost control of his '33 Willys just past the finish line and careened across the track slamming straight into his competitor John Peterson ('69 Dodge Challenger) at close to 200mph. The ensuing crash totaled both cars, but thankfully both drivers emerged with relatively minor injuries. In the class final, Prescott, Arizona's Dale Boomgarden drove the "Mallicoat Bros." Hemi powered '68 Barracuda to the win running 6.85 @ 200.00 to defeat class heavy-hitter Ronnie Nunes' 6.86 @ 199.40 in a very close race. Boomgarden also got credit for Low ET and Top Speed of the event in AA/Gas running 6.827 @ 203.49.

The final professional eliminator category, Junior Fuel, was a landslide victory for Goodguys National record holder Wayne Ramay of Simi Valley, CA. In Round one, Ramay shocked the world running an all-time class best run of 7.123 ET in defeating Bud Hammer. He backed up the record run in a round two victory over Todd Movius logging a victorious 7.156 which officially set the new Goodguys class ET record @ 7.123. Earlier in qualifying, Ramay's record speed of 186.12mph reset his old mark of 185.91. Ramay met Mike Chrisman in the final (who, based on earlier numbers was the only racer with a chance to defeat Ramay at this event) and took an easy win by running a 7.204 @ 182.03 to Chrisman's mechanically troubled 11.90.

Other class winner's at the 14th K & N Filters/Goodguys Nitro Nationals were: Rich Facciano (A/GAS), Ken Ratzloff (B/GAS), Bret Pichler (C/GAS), Don Taros (Nostalgia Eliminator), Dan Schokosch (Nostalgia II), John Cassie (Nostalgia III), Daniel Williams (Hot Rod Eliminator) and Jeff LaSalle (Street Machine).

Coming up next up for the Goodguys Vintage Drag Racing Association is the 14th K & N Filters/Goodguys Hot Rod Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts, June 7-9 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. For additional information visit www.good-guys.com

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Series Drag
Drivers John Peterson , Daniel Williams
Teams Williams