Pomona report


by Cole Coonce, NR AA/Fuel Dragster Mojo Wire

8/1/00, Los Angeles, CA--Jack "the Sheriff" Harris, the wayward layman vigilante, came out to Smogtown (aka Pomona) with his Utah Posse and their Chrysler-powered fuel dragster last weekend to settle a score: to avenge a crushing defeat from a young nitro gunslinger out of the San Francisco territory known as "the Goat."

In June Larry Gotelli, Jr.,aka "the Goat," had beaten Harris to the draw by mere thousandths of a second at Indianapolis, IN, claiming victory at the Goodguys Hot Rod Nat'ls despite Harris establishing a Goodguys VRA Elapsed Time Record for AA/Fuel Dragsters of 6.01 seconds.

At the Goodguys final Pomona drag race, however, the tables would turn as Harris set his sights on his ultimate quarry: the big-block Chevy of the"The Goat."

En route to his showdown with Gotelli, Harris began making his way through the 8-car field thusly: a first round joust with Lee Jennings and the California Trucker entry was an absolute barnburner. Both of these guys drove the wheels off (figuratively speaking) as Harris lit off the pad first and Jennings nipped at his heels for the length of the drag strip... Harris turned on the bubblegum machines first, 6.21 228 and Jennings went 6.27, 228 in defeat. Subsequently, against "Wild Bill" Alexander and the Ground Zero bunch outta' Chowchilla, CA, Harris shone again. This looked like a spankin' drag race out of the hole, but Alexander struck the tires 200' into the run on a track surface that was reportedly 140 plus degrees Fahrenheit; Harris motored to the finish line unabated, while Alexander gave it half a beat to calm down and began to give chase...no bueno, however, as Harris took the bounty on the gunslinger known as "Wild Bill" with a 6.27 to Alexander's 6.76.

This set up the final AA/Fueler showdown on Parker Avenue, which transpired (rather appropriately) as the sun began to set in the West. Curiously, the Goat went in deep as he staged the car, but "the Sheriff" remained non-plussed. The light went green and Harris welded Gotelli to the tree....it was a coast to coast exhibition of sheer sturm and drang as both cars turned 6.19 (!). As Gotelli's mill puffed some piston smoke in the traps, the winlight bulbs did a circuit chase in Harris' lane... vengeance is sweet...


By virtue of their conquest of Top Eliminator at Harris moves up two positons to the #7 spot. Low ET and Top Time were captured by Gotelli Speed Shop at 6.14 and 235 mph, respectively.

Rance McDaniel, driver for Champion Speed Shop, is no stranger to the Pomona Fairplex, having won at the NHRA Finals in 1993. On the difference between the retro-style front-engined cars and the rear-engined cars like he drove to victory here in '93, he said: "I used to shut my eyes. On this one (with the blower in front) I don't have to..." McDaniel also said that the costs are very similar between running the NHRA circuit and the vintage/retro circuit. They both cost "everything you have."

Despite plenty of track prep the surface at Pomona was as hot as a 99 cent fast food taco, if not as greasy. On Sunday Howard Haight of the Circuit Breaker AA/FD called it a "two and a half finger racetrack," meaning that he would apply pressure on the handbrake with two and half fingers as he banged off of the starting line. (Psssttt! Apparently some of the fueler guys drive one handed!)

Due to confusion and erroneous information posted on an internet mailing list, the passing of the wrong John Bradley was eulogized over the public address system at Pomona. The John Bradley who passed away was not the one most nitromaniacs associate with drag racing, i.e., "Mr. Flathead," who has been campaigning flatheads on nitromethane for half a century. "Mr. Flathead" is still very much alive and was, in fact, racing his flathead-powered dragster in Northern California concurrent to the news of his alleged passing (shades of Mark Twain !) Regardless of the error, condolences are shared with the family of other John Bradley...

As we enter the dawg days of summer, here's how the List stacks up:

1. Gotelli Speed Shop 2. WW2 3. Fuller & Dunlap 4. California Trucker 5. Champion Speed Shop 6. Orange Crate 7. Nitro Thunder 8. Steiner & Berger 9. Ground Zero 10. Fugowie

Photos from the Goodguys VRA West Coast Hot Rod Happenin' can be viewed by pointing your browser to: http://www.nitronic.com/pomona-vra/

The next two AA/FD events that will count towards placement and position on the NR AA/FD List will be the Nightfire Nationals, August 11-13, Boise Idaho (cf. www.firebirdonline.com ) and the Heartland Hot Rod Reunion, August 18-20, Noble, OK.

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