Goodguys VRA season finale Famoso preview

Goodguys Championship Titles on the Line at Ol' Famoso Bakersfield, CA - The ol' country dragstrip known as "Famoso Raceway," located in the heart of the Southern San Juoaquin Valley farming community, will get mighty busy the weekend of...

Goodguys Championship Titles on the Line at Ol' Famoso

Bakersfield, CA - The ol' country dragstrip known as "Famoso Raceway," located in the heart of the Southern San Juoaquin Valley farming community, will get mighty busy the weekend of November 3rd & 4th. The occasion? The Goodguys Fuel & Gas Finals which brings over 300 1972 and earlier vintage dragsters as well as 500 1972 & earlier hot rods & customs and an army of exhibits to the homey, historic facility. The Goodguys Vintage Drag Racing Association's 2001 season finale event will indeed feature plenty of drama with six of eight class titles yet to be decided.

The Top Fuel points battle has come down to Jack "The Sheriff" Harris of Kayesville, Utah and local hero Rance McDaniel of Fresno who pilots Bob McLennan's South San Francisco based entry. Harris is one round ahead of McDaniel in series points (a round is worth 20 points); meaning if they meet in the final round it will be a winner-take-all battle. Both Harris and McDaniel are quite familiar with the Famoso strip as "The Sheriff" won the season opening Goodguys March Meet this year, running an apocalyptic 5.99 in the final round, snatching the series points lead which he hasn't relinquished all season. McDaniel, the defending Goodguys Top Fuel champ has never tasted victory in Bakersfield, but the car he's now driving once ran 5.87 seconds here - a time that has only been eclipsed once in history. Given McDaniel's long resume of top fuel dragster experience and his current title as defending champion, odds are, he'll be right there when the green flag drops. San Jose's Gerry Steiner is coming off a lifetime best performance of 5.97 at last month's NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion (also held here at Famoso Raceway) and looks to repeat that performance. But perhaps the hottest top fuel driver on the Goodguys Vintage Drag Racing circuit is Upland, California's Howard Haight who has won two of the four Goodguys events contested in 2001. Both victories came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but Haight gave everyone a precursor of things to come at the season opening March Meet where be went to the semi-finals and ran a 6.04. Twenty front- engined top fuel dragsters and perhaps more are expected to compete at the Fuel & Gas Finals.

Two of the tightest championship points contests are in Pro Supercharged and A/Gas - two classes that feature full-bodied coupes and sedans. In what has to be considered an ironic situation, both top championship points contenders in Pro Supercharged basically have the same name! Call it a name game. Leading with 358 points is reigning 4-time Goodguys Pro Supercharged champion Steve Woods of San Leandro. March Meet winner and 2nd place points earner Steve Wood (no "s") is breathing down the leader's neck with 356 points. In A/GAS it's the "Mark & Sean" show. March Meet champion Sean Renteria of Morgan Hill trails defending champion Mark Mahood of Anaheim by only 4 points.

You get the idea. The season ending Goodguys Fuel & Gas Finals is going to be a great event. The racing action and tight points battles are just part of the excitement. Drag racing legend and current NHRA Top Fuel crew chief Dick LaHaie, of Lansing, Michigan will be honored as Grand Marshal. LaHaie himself is currently involved in one of NHRA's most historic championship points battles, guiding Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's Larry Dixon-driven Miller Lite Top Fuel dragster to 2nd place in NHRA Top Fuel points. With only two races remaining and trailing leader Kenny Bernstein by only 3 rounds of racing, La Haie will have a lot on his mind in Bakersfield! LaHaie will offer his insights as a color commentator in the announcer's booth during the Top Fuel action and will be introduced to the crowd prior to Sunday's final eliminations.

Famoso Raceway and the city of Bakersfield has become the Vintage Drag Racing Capitol of the world. The track's drag racing heritage runs deep, the track surface is known for yielding record performances, the pit area is roomy and the town is racer-friendly and affordable. This will mark the 4th vintage drag racing event of 2001 held at Famoso and next year will be just as busy. Goodguys released their 2002 schedule last week, which features two stops in Bakersfield. The 43rd edition of the March Meet will be held March 8, 9 & 10 while the Fuel & Gas Finals return November 2 & 3.

The Goodguys Fuel & Gas Finals gates will be open 8:00am to 5:00pm both Saturday and Sunday. General admission is $20 ($35 weekend pass), kids 7-12 $5 ($10 weekend pass). Admission includes free pit pass and free event parking. Professional qualifying will be held Saturday at 11:00am and 3:00pm with final eliminations starting at 11:00am Sunday.

For additional information, call (925) 838-9876 or visit


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Series Drag
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Dick LaHaie