Dominates 31th Nitro Night of Fire
Top Fuel Session
RACEWAY PARK - JUNE 9, 2007: For the second time in 3 weeks Jim Murphy
and the WW2 Racing team ran the table at Sacramento Raceway by
topping another stellar field of Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragsters.
Despite air temps over 90 degrees and a track reaching 125 degrees
Murphy was the only car in the fives and he did it all three
runs. During the entertaining nitro show several teams tried
to taunt the hot, tricky track with more power than it was willing
to absorb at times: i.e., some where successful and some suffered.
Murphy's 5.97 at 243 and 5.95 at 238 during qualifying were the
benchmarks of the successful side.
Though the program
was well balanced with participants from West Coast Top Sportsman,
Top Eliminator West, and 7.0 Pro, it was the top fuel dragsters
and the exhibition vehicles that took center stage. Not only
did the fans get treated to this first class drag racing program,
but also got a free seat to an air show that continued throughout
the day at adjoining Mather Air Force Base. When the four-wheeled
vehicles were not putting on their spectacular show, the jets
and other aircraft at Mather substituted with a dazzling aerial
circus of their own.
Summer in the
Sacramento Valley can be hot and unforgiving, but on this particular
weekend the daytime temperatures were balmy in comparison with
last year's event. It was quite hot (over 90 degrees for the
first two sessions, with a density altitude of near 3000') with
track temps over 110. The show also included the AA/Gas Supercharged
cars and they created a groove that had a definite left hook
to it at about 330'. And, with a thin umbrella of wispy clouds
filtering out some of the sun's heat, crew chiefs at the 2007
Nitro Nite of Fire had a little larger window in which to gamble
when calculating their tune up.
Ten top fuel
dragsters entered the Chicago-style elimination show including
Mike O'Brien's Mother's Worry outlaw fuel altered. At promptly
5:30 p.m. qualifying for the opportunity to race in the final
by Stephen Justice - Photos by Stephen Justice and Jason Ellis
*Obviously Steve could
not shoot both lanes at once so most match ups only have photos
of one car but the text has the end results.
American Eagle looked real sporty in its new paint job.
left lane was the alway tough Rick White.
White..........Neil and White...........6.817..169.03
first pair was a top fuel version of the cha-cha as both cars
made furtive attempts to negotiate a hot track without having
to lift; Rick White in the less-esteemed left lane had a more
difficult time of it and had to relinquish this race to Shoemaker.
American Eagle was a tad sluggish out of the hole (1.149 60'),
but John stayed with it and squeezed out the win. Shoemaker trailed
White all the way to about the 1000' mark, but prevailed when
White had to click it.
R:. John Shoemaker......American Eagle...........6.558..211.77
The Birky Bunch have
not raced since the March Meet. But, Arnold finally got his sorely
needed intake manifold and made the tow to Sacramento Raceway.
Pete Kaiser was back
in the seat for the Nitro Nite of Fire; Evan Eirich, John's son,
had made some impressive licensing runs in this car at the Fremont
The return to the track
was not a fortuitous one for The Birky Bunch - but, one can always
count on Mark to lay down a bodacious burn out.
Zero was a little soft at the launch but Pete stayed with it
until about 1100'; Mark went up in smoke as soon as he hit the
R:. Mark Malde..........Birky Bunch.............12.067...75.32
The third pair was Jack
"The Sheriff" Harris in John Rodeck's Paso Posse car
and Mike McLennan in Mike Fuller's car.
Both cars backed up.
drivers left hard recording the best 60 ft. times of the round
(1.042 and 1.046, for Mike and Jack, respectively); but, Jack
gave up the chase when the clutch hit too hard causing the car
to smoke the tires--Mike Mac drilled the shaky left lane with
the quickest pass of the meet up to that point.
R:. Jack Harris.........Paso Posse...........9.468...90.08
Jim Murphy in his "WW2
Racing" entry was paired with Jason Richey in Dave Smith's
Nitro Fever now sports
a Max Products riser atop the supercharger.
Murphy's 60' time of 1.054 was slower
than both McLennan and Harris, but his 4.003-196.69 to the 1/8
mile were tops for round one. Murphy went to the head of the
pack when he recorded the only 5-second run of round 1; Nitro
Fever was a little phlegmatic at the start of the run, hazed
the tires down track, and Richey made the best of a less than
L:. Jason Richey........Nitro Fever..............6.325..207.34
R:. Jim Murphy..........WW2......................5.976..243.66
The final TF car for
the first session was Mendy Fry in the new Botelho & Patterson
Racing fueler. Mendy was left to "dancing with myself"
(Billy Idol) as the team elected to stay in test mode; basically,
a do-si-do down the left lane.
This is the first nostalgia
top fuel dragster to use the late model hemi engine - a Mike
Patterson prepared 413 cid KB.
car sounded and left good but got loose early and Fry clicked
Mike O'Brien in Mother's
the testing this Spring is starting to pay off for the Yerington,
Nevada based team.
Mike's '48 Fiat bodied
outlaw fuel altered started exploring all of the right lane at
about 300', and when things got just a bit too wild, he clicked
Though the cloud formations
were not massive, they repelled enough of the sun to keep conditions
temperate for all in attendance; check out our Stars and Stripes-could
have used a little breeze (though).
starting line crew prepping the track prior to the start of round
two of qualifying.
The evening part of the
program lead off with a pair of jet exhibitions. Both of these
jet dragsters utilize J-60 engines for power and burn #2 diesel
(agricultural or off-road diesel) for fuel. Tony Franco piloting
(aiming) Terminal Velocity had the edge in the first match; Doug
Gonzales evened the score by out running Tony in the second contest.
Hard to believe but these
guys get off the line just as quick as a top fuel dragster (Tony
had a 1.016 60' time in the first round); couple that to his
.011 reaction time in round two and a jet vs. dragster race could
have been a little warm for the fueler.
conclusion of round one Murphy and McLennan were at the top of
the leader board, and the remaining eight players would have
to find a way to at least run quicker than Mike's 6.067. Round
two would prove to be a nail biter for the teams and a riveting
and exciting session for the fans.
Top Fuel Session
In the first pair Pete
Kaiser temporarily put John Eirich's Ground Zero into one of
the two coveted spots for the final; his incrementals at 60',
300', and 660' surpassed even those that Murphy recorded in round
R:. Pete Kaiser.........Ground Zero..............6.008..243.07
Pair two was Mike McClennan
and Jim Murphy.
What Mike Dunn would
have called "just a good old drag race"; but that was
little consolation to Mike Fuller and his team as they just missed
out on a chance to race in the final round. Murphy, totally unfettered
by having to run in the left lane, unleashed a 1.006 60' time
and the car remained glued to the ground. So much for the theory
that the left lane cannot deliver some good times for the top
fuel dragsters; King James was looking good for the final.
R:. Mike McLennan.......Mike Fuller..............6.049..245.58
Rick White and Mark Malde.
White backs up.
Chuck Neal looks over
to Arnold Birky before staging White.
John Eirich must have
had a heart attack when he saw Rick's number glow up on the board.
Actually, a consolation race between Kaiser and McLennan would
have been a terrific deal - maybe next year.
R:. Rick White..........Neil and White...........6.004..242.11
Jason Richey and Jack
Jack was on a blast (1.011
60'/ 2.690 300'), but tire smoke at half track derailed his effort;
Richey was done way earlier. White had to have breathed a big
sigh of relief.
Harris ........ Rodeck and Harris ...........7.633..111.53
R:. Jason Richey ........Nitro Fever .............10.426...84.20
Top Fuel Final
According to Mike Patterson,
Mendy Fry's new ride is the old Sterling car that Lee Jennings
Sr. crashed at Fallon in 2001. It now sports a 413 cid KB with
a points magneto. Even at that it makes a ton of power. On this
last pass (6.337-185.71!!), Eric Arnett said it was on a 5.
Order (Chicago Style - Top 2 return for Final)
1. Jim Murphy..........WW2......................5.951..238.09
2. Rick White..........Neil and White...........6.004..242.11
3. Pete Kaiser.........Ground Zero..............6.008..243.07
4. Mike McLennan.......Mike Fuller..............6.049..245.58
5. Jason Richey........Nitro Fever..............6.325..207.37
6. Mendy Fry...........Bill Bothelo Racing......6.337..185.71
7. John Shoemaker......American Eagle...........6.454..198.18
8. Jack Harris.........Rodeck & Harris...........7.633..111.53
9. Mark Malde..........Birky Bunch.............10.426...84.20
time the final ran Saturday night the air and track had cooled
to a tolerable level. Murphy was paired with Rick White from
San Diego who had previously run 6.00 at 242 and was not to be
taken lightly. Jim and crew chief, Tim Beebe got the tune-up
right on and White was never a factor as the green car ran a
sterling 5.866 at 249.91 (low ET and top speed of the meet).
The icing on the cake was their 60' time - a best ever 1.000.
Murphy owes that in part to the new M&H tires which he "likes
Murphy had lane choice and of course he took the right.
What a day for WW2 Racing:
top time, low e.t. (including the three quickest times), and
top eliminator. Jim Murphy and WW2 Racing is on a roll (should
have won the March Meet) and definitely should be the favorite
going into Boise.
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