Las Vegas Goodguys Spring Nitro Classic recap

Las Vegas, NV - Bob Richardson's "Circuit Breaker" has officially staked its claim as a car to be reckoned with on the Goodguys/Pac West Trailers.Com West Coast Championship Series. Haight was the dominant racecar all weekend in Top Fuel action....

Las Vegas, NV - Bob Richardson's "Circuit Breaker" has officially staked its claim as a car to be reckoned with on the Goodguys/Pac West Trailers.Com West Coast Championship Series. Haight was the dominant racecar all weekend in Top Fuel action. In a race which featured such heavyweights as Jack Harris, Rance McDaniel, Dale Pulde, Bill Dunlap and other series "heavyweights," many might have taken the big blue Donovan powered car for granted. The Circuit Breaker gang qualified Saturday with a soft 6.19 and opted to sit out Saturday's final qualifying session to set-up the car for three rounds of competition on Sunday. The system worked wonders as Haight clicked off a 6.06 in round 1 to defeat Gerry Steiner, and in the semi's put his best foot forward to take out "The Sheriff" by running a consistent, heat-of-the-day 6.16 while Harris visited Cheech & Chong going "Up-in-Smoke." Meanwhile, veteran Denver Schutz was going about his business in Jim Cullen's Ft. Worth, Texas based entry by posting elimination times of 6.11 and 6.17. Both finalists were shooting for their first-ever Goodguys Top Fuel crown and you could literally feel the anxiety on the starting line as both Donovan powered entries pounded relentlessly into the stage beams. At the "Hit" Schutz took the advantage but lost traction roughly 60-feet into the run. Haight was long gone by the time the smoke had cleared clicking off Low ET of the weekend with a 6.04 winning his first Goodguys T/F crown and a $500 bonus courtesy of Mooneyes, USA, Inc. "I'm so happy I can barely stand up," said car owner Bob Richardson. "We changed our entire motor combination over the winter. Leonard McLaughlin of Alpine CNC came on board and we bought some new cast aluminum Hot Heads and that was the key." The team had the quickest car on Sunday, that much was obvious. In each of their round wins they were the quickest car of the round.

Bob Muravez, who hadn't won a Top Fuel race since 1967 in Don "The Beachcomber" Johnson's dragster, took home the honors in Top Fuel B by defeating Dale Pulde. Muravez and car owner John Halstead had a miserable day Saturday, but found the right combination today when it mattered most. Their final round time of 6.51 easily covered Pulde's smoking, aborted run.

Sean Bellemeur continues to rise to the top of his class and gain the respect of his peers in A/Fuel competition. Bellemeur earned his stripes today however by proving that in drag racing it pays to be on time. He was slower in his opening round match with Kin Bates and slower against Ron Attebury in the semis but in both cases, the 20-year old La Canada resident was razor sharp at the tree. In the final, Bellemeur faced "Racin'" Jason Richey who saw his first Goodguys final of the year. Bellemeur easily prevailed when Richey clicked it off just past halftrack. Today marked the 4th consecutive final round appearance for Bellemeur.

March Meet Junior Fuel champion Bill Wayne of Bullhead City, AZ proved too tuff for his competitors today when he fought it out through four rounds of competition, taking his 2nd 2001 victory over favored Scott Parks. Parks was red-hot all day running the quickest ET's in every round of competition, but in the final he fell asleep and the veteran Wayne made the most of the kid's miscue. Wayne took a sizeable points lead in the WCCS points standings and if he makes it to the semi's at the Fall Classic in Sears Point will be sitting on top of his 2nd class championship in the last 3 years. 17-year old Scott Parks meanwhile, heads back home to Burlingame, Kansas to graduate high school on Wednesday, May 9th.

You might as well get used to hearing the name Steve Woods in Pro Supercharged. Woods won his second consecutive event here but did it with more of a gentlemanly-like touch. Instead of running two-tenths quicker than the rest of the field, Woods hovered in the low 7's all day. He met up with Rich Roberts for the trophy, who was also making his second final round appearance of 2001. In a close race, which saw Robert's deep stage, Woods drove on by late to win 7.03 to a 7.29.

A/GAS racing proved as exciting as any class on the grounds this weekend with door handle to door handle racing during today's eliminations. In the end of the 7.60 indexed class (which is moved to a 7.70 index here at Vegas to adjust for the altitude) it was Steve "Hot Rod Willys" Castelli taking the trophy over archrival Mark Mahood. Mahood broke a transmission at half-track, sending Castelli to the win with an eased-up 8.16. The win was Castelli's first with Goodguys since 1996.

Other winners at the Goodguys 1st Spring Nitro Classic were Don Taros (N/E 1), Jerry Buckley (N/E 2), Dean Prochison (N/E 3), Kevin Riley (B/GAS), Paul Giacalone (C/GAS), M Plumlee (Street Machine) and Frank Fuentes (Hot Rod.) The Goodguys West Coast Championship Series takes a breather until September. The 12th Fall Classic is scheduled for September 8 & 9, which will be followed closely by the season ending 2nd Fuel & Gas Finals right here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

-John Drummond

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Series Drag
Drivers Dale Pulde , Kevin Riley