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65th annual Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet - Famoso Dragstrip - Bakersfield, CA

NOTE: Click on the thumbnails to display the full-size images


Here's a selection of images from Thursday's test 'n tune session. No times or speeds were available.

Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' --- Ron Capps - Burkholder Bros.

(LEFT) Knocking the dust off or blowing out the cobwebs, Tyler Hester took the "Overtime Special" out for a shakedown run to start his season. The team ran well last year, finishing #6 in the final point standings, appearing at just three events: going to the semis at the March Meet, runnerup at Boise, and a second round exit at the California Hot Rod Reunion.

(RIGHT) We're doubtful that this is Ron Capps at the tiller in the "Burkholder Bros." tribute '48 Fiat, even though it looks like his helmet. We can't quite see the competition number on the side of the car to confirm or correct it. We know that Sabrina Capps is competing in A/Fuel at this event but she drives a dragster in that class. Can anyone clear up the mystery here?

Bob Godfrey - 'Burnin' Money' --- Eily Stafford - 'Mark Borjon Racing'

(LEFT) Showing how easy it is to live up to the car's title, Bob Godfrey blasted down the track in his "Burnin' Money" '23 T-roadster truck. Now running as a Fuel Altered after battling in Funny Car, he's apparently slowed down the flow of the money hose somewhat.

(RIGHT) Moving over from the 7.0 PRO ranks, Eily Stafford made a pass in the "Mark Borjon Racing" rear-engine Top Fuel car. I'm not sure of the car's heritage but it does look like the former Warren & Coburn - "Rain For Rent" tribute car of a few years back.

Kamaka Pocock - 'California Hustler' --- Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special'

(LEFT) Coming out with a new paint job and major sponsor for 2023, the Don Hudson-owned "California Hustler", with Kamaka Pocock driving tested before qualifying started on Friday.

(RIGHT) Everything looked good at this point, but down track the Bobby Cottrell driven "Bardahl Special" ran into a ton of trouble. A engine explosion and fire caused an awful lot of damage, necessitating a near all-nighter by the entire crew to get the car ready for the first qualifying session on Friday afternoon.

Ryan Horan - 'Infinity Plumbing' --- Ryan Hodgson - 'Bubble up - Pacemaker'

(LEFT) Even though there was some discussion that Dan Horan Jr. was behind the wheel, it was actually Ryan Horan piloting the "Infinity Plumbing" Camaro. It appears that he will be driving the flopper in 2023, while Dad will campaign the team's Nostalgia Top Fuel entry.

(RIGHT) Ready to drive again after only one appearance in 2022, at Boise's Nightfire Nationals, where he failed to qualify, Ryan Hodgson was ready to mix it up with the Ron Hodgson-owned "Bubble up - Pacemaker" Firebird.

Mark Whynaught - 'Nitro Mamba' --- Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment'

(LEFT) Testing out the traction was Mark Whynaught in the "Nitro Mamba" fuel altered. He's worked his way up from 7.0 PRO elimintor to the AA/Fuel Altered class and is capable of testing the 6.0-index.

(RIGHT) Stepping back into the his Nostalgia Funny Car, Tony Jurado was planning to inflict some more "Capitol Punishment" on his competitors to follow up a successful appearance at last season's final event at Bakersfield, the California Hot Rod Reunion.

Kris Krabill - 'Bartone & Lebor Racing' --- Bill Windham - 'Shakedown'

(LEFT) A bit of an odd combination was on display here as Covington, Washington's Kris Krabill wheeled the East Coast-based "Bartone & Lebor Racing" funny car. A nice touch was the Darrell Gwynn - Nick Buoniconti charitable foundation.

(RIGHT) Looking to atone for a mostly forgettable 2022 campaign which resulted in a DNQ at Boise and a first round loss at Bakersfield's CHRR, Bill Windham was out "shaking down" (pun intended) "Shakedown" Firebird before qualifying started on Friday.

Matt Leonard - 'Nitro Rat' --- Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max Racing'

(LEFT) We've got a feeling that this run didn't ring up any great numbers, based on the massive wheel speed as the car launched. I'm sure the next few frames were filled with tire smoke. In any case, Matt Leonard was driving the hemi-powered "Nitro Rat" '32 Bantam roadster.

(RIGHT) It appears that this wasn't a great run either as it appears that Drew Austin was launching, not burning out in the unique Ford-powered "Pro-Max Racing" Trans-Am Firebird-bodied car. With all the experience - three generations worth - we're sure they got it sorted out before qualifying started.

Rickey Fegan - 'Godzilla II' --- Derrick Moreira

(LEFT) One of the "SoCal Blower Boyz", Ricky Fegan drove the Flournoy team's second car, aptly named "Godzilla II" on a test pass. We didn't see any mention of him on any of the qualifying sheets for the event so we can only presume they were here solely to test. Or possibly they broke the car and couldn't run on the weekend.

(RIGHT) Debuting a painted, but unlettered '69 Camaro-bodied Nostalgia Funny Car, Derrick Moreira planned to run it and his regular ride, the AA/Fuel Altered in what could be a very busy weekend at the March Meet.

Shawn Van Horn - 'Titan Speed Engineering' --- Jeff Utterback - 'Advanced Surfaces'

(LEFT) After purchasing the "Titan Speed Engineering" company early last year, Shawn Van Horn and wife Krista have been busy getting the Nostalgia Top Fuel car up to speed, so to speak.

(RIGHT) Dropping back a class to the Nitro Pro Comp division was Jeff Utterback in his short wheelbased "Advanced Surfaces" '73 Vega. The NPC class has a 5.90-index and all cars run heads up: rear-engine dragsters, Funny Cars, and altereds. Any fuel, any induction are allowed. Unfortunately, there's never been a big turnout for the class.


NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR Qualifying Session #1

Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' --- Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special'

(LEFT) Starting the season with a new determination and lots of new parts, Tim Boychuk ran into nothing but trouble on his first pass as the "Happy Hour" Camaro shook the tires, then went into a front wheel shimmy that broke the steering. The net result was a 30-second e.t. at 35 mph and a spot near the bottom of the field.

(RIGHT) Having a much better result than Thursday's explosion and fire, Bobby Cottrell whipped Bucky Austin & Ed O'Brien's "Bardahl Special" to a solid 5.803 - 250.64 to grab a spot in the top half of the field.

Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max' --- Mike Peck Sr. - 'Quote Wizard'

(LEFT) With a new look and new Mustang body, third generation racer Drew Austin fell in right behind "Uncle Bucky's" car as the "Pro-Max" team saw a 5.816 - 252.28 light up the scoreboards. With dad Pat and grandfather Walt calling the tuning shots, the "WAR Racing" team is looking for another good season after falling back a little, performance-wise, in 2022.

(RIGHT) After sitting out most of the 2022 season in favour of son Mike Jr., the "Qoute Wizard" Camaro of Mike Peck Sr. ran the first 5.70 of the event, with a very strong 5.754 - 253.04 showing that he wasn't just filling in for his son.

Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment' --- Derrick Moreira

(LEFT) After spending two years and tons of money running an NHRA "Big Show" Funny Car, Tony Jurado brought out his beautiful "Capitol Punishment" Camaro at the final event of the 2022 Heritage Series season. He runner-uped at the California Hot Rod Reunion, and his opening pass here clocked in at 5.745 - 255.97 to grab at least a temporary hold on the top rung on the ladder.

(RIGHT) Our final photo from this session shows the still unlettered new car of Hawaii's Derrick Moreira didn't get the result he was looking for as the car broke and oiled the track, resulting in a DQ of his first qualifying pass.

NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL Qualifying Session #1

Frank McBee Jr. -'Valley Thunder' --- Bryan Hall - 'H & H Nomad'

(LEFT) After only one unsuccesful appearance at last year's final event, the "Valley Thunder" team, with Frank McBee Jr. at the wheel, came in Famoso ready to rumble. Their first qualifier put them solidly in the field with an early shutoff 5.909 - 225.52 that place them #5 in the 8-car field.

(RIGHT) Slotting in one notch below the Thunder gang, Bryan Hall in the "H & H Nomad" entry grabbed the sixth spot in the field with a 6.022 - 242.45 clocking. Not the quickest e.t. but a fairly big speed on the top end.

Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young' --- Dan Horan - 'The Patriot'

(LEFT) Last year's second place finisher in the AA/FD standings, and defending champion of the March Meet, Bret Williamson in the beautiful full-bodied "Forever Young" digger was on a good pass until the 1000' mark before clicking it to a 6.224 - 193.32 that left him outside the field.

(RIGHT) Concentrating on the dragster as son Ryan has the reins of the Funny Car, Dan Horan pounded out a very good opening lap of 5.840 at only 218.19 to grab the third rung on the ladder with the "Patriot" entry.

Phil Ruskowski - 'Xibitionist - Island Nitro' --- Phil Ruskowski - 'Xhibitionist - Island Nitro'

Back for another season of "dragon-slaying", Victoria BC's Phil Ruskowski and the "Island Nitro" gang have the small-block Chevy powered "Xhibitionist" primed for what they hope will be a season to remember. Their first attempt saw the car launch hard, then at the 300' mark jump to the right and head for the centerline, forcing Phil to shut it down to a disappointing 9.356 - 101.10 clocking.

Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' --- Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild'

(LEFT) Last year's Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel champion, Tyler Hilton in the now hemi-powered "Great Expectations III" car made a good pass to half track before pulling the pin and slowing to a 6.314 - 157.26 pass that left them well outside the first day field.

(RIGHT) Vetran SoCal fuel racer Brendan Murry in the full-bodied "Runnin' Wild" was another early shutoff victim, but his 6.100 - 195.70 was enough to grab a spot in Friday's top eight, in the #7 spot.

Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop' --- Jim Murphy - 'WW III'

(LEFT) Still running the most unique car in the field, with the only canopied dragster in nostalgia racing, Adam Sorokin in the small-block powered "Champion Speed Shop Special" fell short of making the field on his first pas with a 6.307 - 193.18 that placed him #10 of the 15 cars that ran in the first session.

(RIGHT) Anchoring the provisional 8-car field was long-time runner and 2017 series champion Jim Murphy in his familiar Kelly green "WW II"

Shawn Van Horn - 'Titan Speed Engineering'

It took a bit of sleuthing to unearth the driver's correct name as Shawn Van Horn is now using his brother Nick's competition number. With the confusion cleared up, he drove the "Titan Speed Engineering" fueler through at least a burnout but didn't receive a timeslip for his efforts. We'll try to dig up the details later.

AA/FUEL ALTERED Qualifying Session #1

Running on a 6.00-index and trying to qualify for an 8-car field, the "Awful Awfuls" pits were overflowing with at least 13 cars, which included some new cars and drivers, and lots of the regular faces seen at Bakersfield. With just two qualifying sessions available, the stakes were high right out of the gate.

Jason Pettit - 'Hell Fire II' --- Rodney Flournoy - 'Godzilla'

(LEFT) Leading off the session was Jason Pettit in a rather weird looking '48 Fiat Topolino dubbed "Hell Fire II". Despite a flat black paint scheme and decidedly unfinished look about it, the car ran well with a 6.443 - 222.84 flashing up on the boards to put him solidly in the field in the #5 position.

(RIGHT) After nearly half a century burning nitro, Rodney Flournoy is still at it with his "Godzilla" entry. The family hot rod ran well to half track before shutting off early to a 7.108 - 186.10 that placed him #7 on the provisional qualifying list.

Cory Lee - 'Sheepherder' --- Mike Halstead - 'Over The Hill Gang'

(LEFT) Driver of almost everything that burns nitro, veteran Cory Lee has been at the controls of the "Sheepherder" for the past year, working out the bugs for owner John Aleman. They've been making progress, evidenced by a safe 6.330 - 210.90 clocking that placed Lee in the middle of the pack at #4 for the first session.

(RIGHT) Another veteran of Funny Cars and Fuel Altereds, Mike Halstead is now driving the "Over The Hill Gang" '23 T-roadster, and pushed the Donovan 392 engine to an early shutoff (lots of that going around, eh?) 7.450 - 163.35 to grab the #8 spot, at least temporarily. Interestingly, the car ran without a wing or any downforce inducing attachements.

Mark Whynaught - 'Nitro Mamba' --- Matt Leonard - 'Nitro Rat'

(LEFT) With a wild paint scheme on the "Nitro Mamba", driver Mark Whynaught clicked it off at the 1000' mark to avoid breaking out, with a #3 qualifying 6.249 - 209.26 pass.

(RIGHT) Sporting another eye-catching colour scheme, Matt Leonard laid down a pedaling 6.737 - 204.45 in the hemi-powered "Nitro Rat". Click on the image to see a larger view of the slicks wrapping up on the launch and the #8 cylinder puffing out some raw fuel.

In all, 11 cars made a pass in the session and the times ranged from Dylan Winefsky's low qualifying 6.192 - 223.50 to the bump spot holder, Mike Halstead with a 7.450 - 163.35. Only one more session remained on Saturday and the pressure was definitely on for the drivers on the bottom half of the list.

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR Qualifying Session #2

Of the 18 cars that got down the track in the first session, only nine of them dropped into the 5-second zone, ranging from Kris Krabill's top qualifying 5.719 - 250.27 pass, down to the #9 sitter, Billy Morris, at 5.873 - 235.02. From there the e.t.'s quickly dropped into the 6's and slower, as evidenced by #10 (Jim Maroney's) 6.205 - 229.16. At the bottom of the 16-car field sat Rian Konno with a 26-second time. Even though there was another qualifying session scheduled for Saturday, the pressure to perform in this round was definitely in the air.

Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' --- Rian Konno - 'Lemon, Kazanjian & Konno'

(LEFT)First out of the lanes was the aforementioned Billy Morris in the Camaro-bodied "Problem Child". He failed to improve on his earlier 5.87 effort and saw his placing drop two spots to #11 by the end of the session.

(RIGHT)Wanting to get off the bump spot, Rian Konno pushed the "Lemon, Kazanjian & Konno" Mustang to much better numbers than in the first session. However, his 6.554 - 136.37 indicated that there was still work to do. Good early numbers went by the wayside at half track as he was off the throttle at that point. The verdict: still on the bubble going into the final qualifier.

Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick' --- Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder'

(LEFT) After failing to show for the first session, Matt Bynum got the "Nitro Nick" Firebird across the finish line, but not very quickly as a 7.418 - 134.69 came up on the scoreboards. That left only one more chance for the team to get into the elimination field.

(RIGHT) Making a big improvement and climbing the charts was Geoff Monise in the "Quarter Pounder". Running for the first time without team founder Keith Clark, who passed recently, Dale Van Gundy and Monise got the Firebird into the 5.70's with a very good 5.769 - 251.02 to move up to #9 (from #15) and guarantee a spot in the field for race day.

Ryan Hodgson - 'Bubble Up - Paemaker' (near lane) 
vs Kris Krabill - 'Bartone & Lebor Racing' (far lane) --- Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro'

(LEFT) Despite some earlier misinformation that last year's illness replacement driver Nathan Sitko was behind the wheel, it was in fact Ryan Hodgson in the hot seat again in the iconic Gordie Bonin tribute "Bubble Up - Pacemaker" Firebird in the near lane. There was no improvement on his first session 6.653 - 194.97 as the blower banged on the hit of the throttle. In the far lane was Kris Krabill in the Bartone & Lebor Racing" car that featured the Darrell Gwynn charitable foundation. Krabill wasn't able to improve on his first pass (5.719 - 250.27) and fell two spots to #3 at the end of the session.

(RIGHT) Still going "Old School Nitro" in his '77 Arrow, Washington state's Chris Davis took one step forward with an improved 6.132 - 232.99 pass after clocking in at 6.224 - 231.83 in the first go-round. Despite the improvement, he dropped four spots from #11 to #15, with just one more chance to step up to a higher placing on the ladder, or simply stay in the field.

Bill Windham - 'Shakedown' --- Bardahl Special - Heidi Austin-Cottrell & crew member

(LEFT) Having more trouble was Bill Windham in the very colourful "Shakedown" Firebird, as he wasn't able to better his first session 6.931 - 142.67 effort and dropped from #14 to #18, outside the field and nearly half a second shy of the new 6.554 bump spot.

(RIGHT) Giving each other fist bumps before backing up Bobby Cottrell in the Austin & O'Brien "Bardahl Special" were Heidi Austin-Root and an unidentified crew member. They must have been celebrating after Cottrell's run as the car stepped up to a 5.732 - 253.52 to move up one spot on the ladder to te #4 position going into the final qualifying session.



Bruce Boardman - 'Bad Obsession' - D/G --- The Roach Coach

(LEFT) We're starting with some sportsman shots, this one featuring Bruce Boardman, running in D/Gas with his '55 Chevy, aptly titled "Bad Obsession".

(RIGHT) Shifting to a completely different animal, we've got what used to be called a "Competition Coupe", but unfortunately we have no idea what eliminator this car competes in or who the driver is. It appears to be loosely based on a Fiat Topolino, but there's several of them competing in different categories so we'll just have to call this one "unidentified".

NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #2

The pressure was squarely on the non-qualified, or at least not safely qualified drivers going into this session. With a not terribly stiff 6.160 bump spot, held down by Jim Murphy, and some very heavy hitters sitting directly below him, all signs pointed to an intense session of Top Fuel competition. With one final session on tap for late in the day, everyone wanted to make this session count.

Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' --- Michael Anderson

(LEFT) Already solidly in the field in the #4 spot, Tyler Hester and the gang working on the "Overtime Special" inched up the ladder a few hundredths, from Friday's 5.893 to an even better 5.874 - 221.42 time, despite a rather early shutoff.

(RIGHT) Coming all the way from Texas, Michael Anderson also picked up a bit from his first session 6.466, but it wasn't nearly enough, as his 6.361 - 215.31 effort left him four spots short of making the 8-car field.

Bryan Hall - 'H&H Nomad' --- Bryan Hall - 'H&H Nomad'

Qualified in the #6 spot coming into the session with a 6.022 - 242.45, Bryan Hall in the "H & H Nomad" entry was able to break into the 5-second zone with a stronger 5.906 - 226.96 that moved him up one rung to #5 on the ladder. Despite getting off the throttle a little early, the Nomad showed some solid potential going into eliminations.

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist

After jumping out of the groove and heading for the centerline, a few hundred feet into Friday's first session, Victoria, BC's Phil Ruskowski hoped for a much better result in his second attempt. However, the "Xhibitionist" ran out of power early and coasted to a 7.341 - 144.66 that left him outside the field in the #14 position.

Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop' --- Pete Wittenberg - 'Circuit Breaker'

(LEFT) It was another disappointed team, as usual qualifiers, the ""Champion Speed Shop" car with Adam Sorokin at the wheel, failed to make the cut for the first time in several years. After carding a 6.307 - 193.18 in the first session, they only improved to a 6.234 - 210.18 in this second session, leaving them just one more chance to break into the field.

(RIGHT) Sitting at the top of the list after the first day with a solid 5.820 - 227.46 pass, the "Circuit Breaker" car, driven by Pete Wittenberg, managed to hang on to the top rung despite not improving in this session. Fortunately, the next two drivers on the ladder also failed to better their Friday times.

Shayne Stewart

Transplanted Australian, Shayne Stewart, who now lives in Orange, CA, didn't have any better luck this time around, and remained in the #13 spot with his Friday 6.743 - 135.67 performance.

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)

Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max Racing' --- Drew Austin - 'Pro-Max Racing'

Pulling up to the stage beams under the watchful eye of father Pat, young Drew Austin readied the Boss 429 Ford-powered "Pro Max Racing" entry for another quick pass. They came into this final session in the #8 position with a strong 5.757 - 241.07, but failed to better those numbers and finished qualifying in the middle of the field in the eighth spot. It was interesting to note though that their 252.28 mph speed in Friday's first qualifier, indicated some serious horsepower under the Mustang "Cobra" body.

Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' --- Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak'

(LEFT) The "Problem Child" didn't quite live up to its nickname after carding a 5.873 - 235.02 in Friday's first session, but Billy Morris and crew chief Eddie Knox weren't able to better that run in the second or third qualifiers. Morris sat #9 after the first session, dropped to #11, and finally landed in the #12 spot as qualifying closed.

(RIGHT) Always contending for the best "BUG" (back-up girl) award, Brad Thompson rebounded from a first session 6.455 pass to a strong 5.889 at a booming 258.22 in Friday's second round. He contiuned his upward trajectory in the finals session, pushing the "Jailbreak - System 1" Camaro to an even better 5.839 to snag the #11 spot in the final order.

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' --- Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick'

(LEFT) Receiving able assistance from Heidi Austin-Root in reversing after the burnout, Bobby Cottrell followed her direction to put the "Bardahl Special" in the right spot for a good launch. It certainly worked well as Cottrell dropped a bomb on the rest of the field, blasting into the 5.60's with a low qualifying 5.661 - 256.50 to snatch the top spot away from Tim Boychuk's 5.692 pass on Friday.

(RIGHT) Still having trouble getting the car up to speed, Tim Bynum and the "Nitro Nick" Firebird did improve from a no time in the first session, to a 7.418 in the second session, and finally a 6.142 - 225.60 in the final qualifier. Unfortunately, that placed him #17 in a 16-car field. However, redemption came later in the day when Geoff Monise announced that the "Quarter Pounder" was broken and wouldn't make the first round of eliminations. That opened the door and Bynum happily accepted his second chance.

Jim Maroney - 'Speed Sport' --- Rian Konno - 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno'

(LEFT) With NHRA Top Fuel racer Jim Maroney at the controls, the "Speed Sport" Omni started his weekend in the #10 after Friday's first session, but and was able to improve on his initial 6.205 - 229.16 pass, cranking out a 6.112 - 238.17 in the second session, but falling to #14 in the process. Things didn't get any better for Jim in his final qualifier and he slipped one more notch to #15 in the final order.

(RIGHT) Opening his card with a 26-second pass on Friday, then improving to a 6.554 - 136.37 on his second try to hang on to a very tenuous bump spot, Rian Konno was unable to better that time in the final session and finished qualifying in the #18 position and on the outside looking in as eliminations began. It was a hard landing for the usually hard running "Lemon, Kazanjian & Konno" team.

Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro'

Hoping to move up the charts from his #15 spot in the field, Chris Davis was unable to better the "Old School Nitro" car's Friday best of 6.132, and saw himself drop to the last spot, #16, and a first round pairing with Bobby Cottrell. Both are Washington state cars, but on very different ends of the performance spectrum.

AA/FUEL ALTERED - Qualifying Session #2 (FINAL)

After just eleven cars got down the track in Friday's only qualifying session, there were a full "baker's dozen" (13) cars in the lanes for Saturday's second qualifier. Just eight cars would qualify in the 6.00-indexed field, but the session started with Mike Halstead on the bump spot with a rather weak 7.45 e.t.

James Generalao Jr. - 'Impatient' --- Johnny West - 'Plan A'

(LEFT) Not appearing on the qualifying sheets after Friday's session, the Las Vegas-based "Impatient" '23 T of James Generalao Jr. made a big statement in the final qualifying session with a 6.137 at only 199.61 mph as he shut off early to stay above the 6.00 index. The pass was good enough to land in the top half of the field in the #3 position.

(RIGHT) A veteran of blown fuel cars since the early 1970's, Arizona's Johnny West was sitting #2 on the ladder going into this final session, but dropped all the way to #6 as he was unable to replicate or better his Friday 6.217 - 215.26 performance.

Bob Godfrey - 'Burnin' Money' --- Dylan Winefsky - 'Nitro Moose'

(LEFT) With nowhere to go but up after barely getting to the finish line on Friday and sitting at the very bottom of the field, Bob Godfrey made his second attempt in the aptly named "Burnin' Money" '23 "T" truck, but he didn't have much better luck, finally stopping the clocks at 19.589 - 55.67 to sit at the very bottom of the final qualifying list in the #13 position.

(RIGHT) Hoping to followup his breakout performance at the 2022 March Meet, where he ran in the 6-teens and made it to the semifinals, second generation driver Dylan Winefsky piloted the "Nitro Moose" '32 Bantam to low e.t. of Friday's qualifying round, pounding out a 6.192 - 223.50 to lead the field going into the final session. He ran slightly better in this session, cranking out a 6.176 - 219.51 but saw his placing drop three spots to #4 in the final order. All in all, a great start to the weekend for the Arizona youngster.

Derrick Moreira - 'Nitro Junkies' (near lane) 
vs Matt Leonard- 'Nitro Rat' (far lane) --- Derrick Moreira - 'Nitro Junkies' (near lane) 
vs Matt Leonard- 'Nitro Rat' (far lane)

Doing double duty with his "Nitro Junkies" '48 Fiat and his new Nostalgia Funny Car, Derrick Moreira was hoping to make a big jump up the ladder from outside the field in the #9 spot after running 7.877 - 110.11 in the first qualifier. He did just that with a very much improved 6.187 - 200.95 in Saturday's lone session, good enough to grab the #5 spot in the field going into eliminations. Visible in the far lane in the right photo was Matt Leonard in his "Nitro Rat" as he was bumped out of the show by Moreira's run. Leonard was #6 going into the final session but fell to #9 after failing to better his earlier 6.737 - 204.45 effort.

Jason Pettit - 'Hell Fire II' --- Keith Wilson - 'Witch Doctor' - NPC

(LEFT) With what appears to be a very unfinished car, the stretched nose '48 Fiat Topolino "Hell Fire II", driven by Jason Pettit laid down a 6.443 - 222.84 on Friday to grab the #5 spot in the field. He wasn't able to improve on those numbers Saturday and saw his ranking drop to the #8 spot, but still in the field for eliminations.

(RIGHT) Our last AA/Fuel Altered was actually qualifying for the Nitro Pro Comp show as the "Witch Doctor" has shown a penchant for running quicker, and sometimes much quicker than the 6.00 Fuel Altered index. Driver Keith Wilson showcased that trait again on Friday with a 5.738 e.t. at "only" 218.05 mph. That was enough to break out of the 5.90-index set for the Pro Comp field. On this pass he was able to tame the car down to a 6.352 - 161.23, by shutting off at 1000' mark.

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round #1

Cory Lee - 'Pedaler' --- Cory Lee - 'Pedaler' (near lane) vs 
Derrick Moreira (far lane)

In the right lane, it's itinerant drag racer extraordinaire Cory Lee in Gary Turner's "Pedaler" Challenger, coming into the opening match of the first round of eliminations from the #3 qualifying position. Facing him in the far lane was the mostly obscured entry of Hawaii's Derrick Moreira who sat #14 on the ladder. The drivers left together, but Lee had to pedal the car right off the line and fell back quite a bit before pounding on the loud pedal to the tune of a 6.367 - 247.84, but it wasn't nearly enough to catch Moreira's first time in the five's 5.955 - 227.34 effort.

Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' --- Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro'

(LEFT) With almost all the cards in his favour, Canada's Tim Boychuk was ready to race in his Twig Ziegler-tuned "Happy Hour" Camaro. Opponent Jim Maroney (not shown) qualified 13 spots below Boychuk and finished well back in this race, as his 6.080 - 211.23 couldn't begin to keep up with Boychuk's very strong 5.774 - 247.75 blast. Maroney did get the "Speed Sport" launched first, but his three hundredths advantage was gone before they passed the 60' timers.

(RIGHT) The biggest David vs Goliath match in the field was next, as the #16 qualifier, Spokane's Chris Davis, in his "Old School Nitro" Arrow faced the top dog in the field, the Austin & O'Brien "Bardahl Special" with Bobby Cottrell in the saddle. Davis gave it his best shot with a decent 6.176 - 117.34, but Cottrell trainlengthed him early and ran away to a 5.685 - 254.62 to nearly match his low e.t. of the meet, a 5.661 recorded in the final qualifying session.

Kris Krabill - 'Bartone & Lebor Racing' (near lane) 
vs Ryan Hodgson - 'Bubble Up - Pacemaker' (far lane) --- Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour'

(LEFT) With a very colourful Darrell Gwynn banner on the side of the "Bartone & Lebor" car, Washington State's Kris Krabill faced Ryan Hodgson in the (mostly obscured) "Pacemaker - Bubble UP" Firebird. With a nearly three tenths advantage in qualifying e.t.'s, Krabill added to that advantage by leaving on Hodgson by nearly a tenth, then running away to a low e.t. of the round 5.667 - 247.97 as Hodgson slowed to a 6.313 with a lot of death smoke trailing him through the lights.

(RIGHT) On the return road, with Derrick Moreira's car behind him and his own car on the far side, is a happy first round winner, Tim Boychuk, heading back to the pits. Boychuk had jumped out of his tow vehicle to watch the Krabill vs Hodgson race.

Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' BUG --- Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment'

(LEFT) We haven't got much of the car in this shot, but all of Brad Thompson's reverse gear assistant, before he blasted to a new career best e.t. - by a bunch - at 5.671 - 254.90 to easily outdistance Kamaka Pocock (not shown), who clocked in at 5.877 - 249.16 in the losing effort.

(RIGHT) Up to the 1000' mark. Tony Jurado in the "Capitol Punishment" Camaro was running neck-and-neck with opponent Billy Morris (not shown) before the "Problem Child"'s engine expired in a large cloud of smoke. Morris had an eight hundredths reaction time advantage and was running well before the blowup. Jurado got the win with a 5.901 - 251.30, while Morris coasted across the stripe at 6.250 - 175.50 for the loss.

There were two more pairs in the first round but unfortunately we don't have photos of those matches. There was a very lengthy cleanup from Morris's engine explosion, and with the light quickly fading, and temperatures falling even faster, our photographer made the wise decision to head for the motel and warm up. The first pair that ran after the Morris vs Jurado race were Ryan Horan and Mike Peck Sr., and they engaged in a very entertaining pedalfest, with both drivers working the throttle hard before Horan stopped the timers at 8.173 - 232.47, while Peck finished second at 8.526 - 175.50. For the record, Peck did leave first, by a .153 to .309 (!!) margin, but the margin at the finish line was still nearly two tenths of a second.

The first round ended with Drew Austin easily advancing over Matt Bynum by a 5.855 - 247.02 to 6.590 - 155.29 verdict. Austin also left first by nearly half a tenth before running away from Bynum's early shutoff effort, as he trailed copious clouds of smoke going into the lights. And that put a wrap on Saturday's action at the Good Vibrations March Meet.


Due to work commitments, our intrepid photographer, Dale Fackler had to hit the road back to Colorado as it appeared that Sunday was going to be a total rainout. The hard working Famoso track crew did get the surface dried long enough to run three of the four pairs in the Nostalgia Funny Car quarterfinals before the rain came back and washed out the balance of the day's racing.

With the heavy air and cool track temps, the conditions on Sunday afternoon weren't great, but the first pair down the track, veteran Brad Thompson and upstart Derrick Moreira put on a good race. Conditions weren't bad at all, as Thompson backed up his first round 5.671 pass with an almost as great 5.676 to hold off Moreira's new career bests of 5.873 - 244.07 in a losing cause.

Next up were Tim Boychuk and young Ryan Horan, and it quickly got interesting as Horan put a major holeshot on Boychuk, with an .025 to .175 light. However, Horan didn't hold the lead for long as he faded near the top end, finally getting across the finish line at 6.097 - 193.10, while Boychuk cranked out a great 5.737 - 248.43 for the win. It wasn't enough to earn lane choice against Thompson in the semifinals though.

Matching wheels for the first 800' were Kris Krabill and Tony Jurado, with Krabill leading off the line by half a tenth. Things got quite in Krabill's lane before the 1000' mark as he coasted across the stripe at 6.346 - 146.07. Taking the winlight was Jurado with a very solid 5.776 - 251.77 effort to earn the right to face either Drew Austin or Bobby Cottrell in the next round.

That final pairing of the round saw close launches, with Bobby Cottrell taking a .021 reaction time advantage, and hanging on to turn on the winlight with a 5.697 - 256.41 over an oh-so-close 5.705 - 256.65 for young Drew Austin. The margin at the finish line was less than a car length in what was the closest race of eliminations. Adding to the drama was the intra-mural battle between the Austin family, with Grandfather Walt and father Pat on Drew's team, all of them facing Uncle Bucky and Cottrell on the other side.

The semifinals saw one very close race and one runaway. First out were Tim Boychuk and Brad Thompson and it was all over by the 60' mark. Thompson reacted first by a few thousandths, but instantly went into heavy tire shake, leading to a blower pop and just enough momentum to coast down to the finish line. Taking full advantage was Boychuk, as he slowed slightly with some burned pistons, but put down a decent 5.849 - 241.67 to advance to the final round. Facing him in that round would be the winner of the Cottrell versus Jurado pairing. Bobby Cottrell did his job on the starting line, leaving first by eight hundredths, then hanging on for the holeshot win, as his 5.821 - 249.76 stopped the clocks first. Tony Jurado gave it all he had with a tremendous 5.782 - 256.80, but he crossed the line abpout 3/4-ths of a car behind.

The final round was dripping with dramatic overtones, as the hard working Austin & O'Brien team had been thrashing between every round to keep the car running. There was hardly a run all weekend that didn't come at a price in parts and labour. On the other side, "Team Canada" was cool and calm with a combination of new parts that was working well. But it all came undone when they lowered the body behind the burnout box and shorted out the mag, killing the motor. With no chance to refire, Tim Boychuk could only watch in horror as Bobby Cottrell took the automatic win. And that one didn't come easy either, as the engine let go again before the 1000' mark, slowing the "Bardhal Special" to a 6.094 - 179.04 clocking.

Island Nitro

(Flyin') Phil Ruskowski's Island Nitro "Xhibitionist"

Phil Ruskowski - 'Xhibitionist - Island Nitro' --- Phil Ruskowski - 'Xhibitionist - Island Nitro'

Back for another season of "dragon-slaying", Victoria BC's Phil Ruskowski and the "Island Nitro" gang have the small-block Chevy powered "Xhibitionist" primed for what they hope will be a season to remember. Their first attempt saw the car launch hard, then at the 300' mark jump to the right and head for the centerline, forcing Phil to shut it down to a disappointing 9.356 - 101.10 clocking.

Here's a series of photos from Phil's second qualifying run at the Good Vibrations March Meet. His second, and final effort netted a much improved, but unfortunately non-qualifying 7.341 - 144.66 to put an end to the team's weekend.

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist

Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist --- Phil Ruskowski - Xhibitionist