Richmond Bruce Mullins; incredible performances

And after fuel system woes that plagued the team in late 1999 and early 2000, Federal Mogul Funny Car racer Bruce Mullins blasted through to some incredible performances and his first national event round win! In doing so, Bruce reset his all...

And after fuel system woes that plagued the team in late 1999 and early 2000, Federal Mogul Funny Car racer Bruce Mullins blasted through to some incredible performances and his first national event round win! In doing so, Bruce reset his all time best speed - 228.69 mph - and ran just shy of his all time best elapsed time at 6.131 seconds.

Bruce had lined up against Fran Monaghan, Jr., in round one of the NHRA moto1.net Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park. Monaghan had been on a tear, the Petro Chem car adjusting quite well to an NHRA combo with some amazing low 5.60 numbers late in 1999 and some impressive performances in 2000. Bruce was uptight before the race, wondering how poorly he would show against Monaghan's screw blown monster. He would need a holeshot; that was for sure. Then he would have to hope the 5.60 car stumbled.

Missions accomplished. First off, Bruce laid a .462 to .562 holeshot on the Pennsylvania racer. Monaghan made up half of that in 60 feet, however; the Compulink ET slip showed he had gone .946 to Bruce's .968 60 foot time. Monaghan pulled ahead at the 330 foot timers, his 2.496 to 2.624 second advantage more than making up Bruce's tenth of a second holeshot. Fran retained a two tenths advantage at half track, too, 3.790 to 3.978 seconds, but he was already in trouble. Monaghan had slowed to 176.81 mph - uncharacteristically slow for a 3.79 second eighth mile elapsed time. Bruce, by comparison, ran 181.18 mph and was charging. By 1000 feet, Bruce had pulled back ahead, 5.146 to 5.161. He then took the win at 6.131, 228.69 as Monaghan faded to a 6.59 at only 145 mph.

After the run, Bruce immediately got on the phone to Leroy Dewdney, who was providing tuning help from afar. Leroy told Bruce to put some more weight on the clutch for Sunday's second round. Fuel system and blown motor guru Bill Barrett stopped by to offer congratulations and to check the plugs. Bill said, "It's rich - lean it out and you'll get 6.0s tomorrow." Bruce related that he took the R's up higher than he ever had before on that run. Bill said, "Good. Ya can't get 'em too high [on a blown alcohol motor]."

Bruce also related that the shifter light is broken, so he shifted by the seat of his pants. He shifted when it felt right. Bruce said, "If you run one of these cars for that many years, you ought to know when to shift it!" The combination of this gritty team's determination and the expert advice it receives might put Bruce, Pattie, and the gang into the 6.0s on Sunday and maybe past another opponent. The numbers might come, but advancement is less certain even than it seemed in round one. Sunday's opponent is Jay Payne, whose 5.67 at 249 mph showed he is getting this funny car thing in hand after years in alcohol dragsters.

Bruce and Pattie Mullins wish to thank their all volunteer crew - Scott Ankrom, Robert Ostrander, Mike Yohn, Kim and Steven Beecher -- and sponsors Quaker State Motor Oil and racetel.com.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Mullins , Fran Monaghan , Jay Payne