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The latest update as of March 9, 2019

Nitro Qualifying (Day Three) at the 2019 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet (Bakersfield, CA)

Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet 2019 poster

It's Top Qualifier time from Friday at the 61st annual Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet. We've snagged some great shots of the leaders after the first day of qualifying at Bakersfield. The weather is getting better but some of the performances have dropped off a little. Note that we said "some" as you'll see below that Dan Horan obliterated the Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car speed record with an unreal 265.22 mph blast on his second qualifying attempt to lead the field in e.t. (with a 5.665) and speed. Read on for more qualifying news.

AA/FD - Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young' --- AA/FD - Rick White

(LEFT) After Friday's first qualifying session, Bret Williamson in the "Forever Young" entry sat atop the leaderboard with a solid 5.736 - 250.74 that led the field by more than a tenth. (RIGHT) The second, and final, session on Saturday saw Rick White in the "Neal & White" car leapfrog past Williamson with a slightly better 5.723 - 254.52 clocking to earn the top spot.

AA/FC - Dan Horan

After his awesome, record-setting (265.22 mph) pass during Friday's first session, Dan Horan stayed at the top of the list right through until the conclusion of qualifying. However, he wasn't far ahead of several of the real hitters in Nostalgia flopper racing, with defending series champion Bobby Cottrell in the (Bucky) Austin & O'Brien Camaro just a hundredth of a second behind (5.677) and Austin's former driver "Hollywood" Kris Krabill sandwiching the #1 & #3 drivers with a 5.676 timeslip.

The gap between the top and bottom in the 16-car field was just a little over two tenths, with bubble holder Jim "Boom BOOM" Maroney holding down the bottom at 5.889. He won't be able to make the first round call on Sunday though, as that qualifying pass was punctuated with a massive blower explosion that disintegrated the body and put the "Candies & Hughes" tribute car on the trailer. None of the three alternates laid down a representative pass so who Horan faces in the opening round of eliminations is pure conjecture. Also of note is that there should have been four non-qualifiers, but Matt Bynum crashed the "Nitro Nick" car on his first test pass earlier in the week.

AA/FA - Tom Padilla - 'Red Dragon'

With 11 cars competing in the AA/Fuel Altered class, there was some real competition for the top spot in the field. The one wild card factor in the equation was the 6.00 index imposed on the cars in an attempt to equalize the competition and keep out big-show style hitters. On top of the ladder after Friday's single qualifier was Washington's Tom Padilla in his '27 Ford Model T "Red Dragon" with an almost too quick 6.009 - 236.67 pass. Showing that he wasn't afraid to drive it out the back door, Padilla kept the pedal down and came within a whisker of breaking out.

Saturday saw three more entries make qualifying attempts, and nearly everyone picked up the pace, with the 8-car qualified field ending up fairly tightly bunched between 6.00 and 6.25, with four 6-second alternates trailing before the last few cars dropped well back. Some of the regular qualifiers, such as Keith Wilson in the "Witch Doctor", Eric Gates and Rodney Flournoy with his "Godzilla" entry were unable to dial their cars in during the three qualifying sessions and have to wait until October to make their next serious runs at Bakersfield.

Classic FC - Rodney Flournoy - 'Crazy Horse'

Taking the early lead in a very short field, as in three cars, long-time nitro veteran Rodney Flournoy whipped his "Crazy Horse" '71 Mustang to a less than scintillating 9.477 pass to easily cover the even sadder efforts of Wes Morris and Dean Oberg. As you can see from his completely out-of-shape launch, there wasn't much chance of him clocking a competitive pass, but it was still good enough to top the charts.

Friday's short field doubled in size by the time qualifying closed on Saturday afternoon, and the performances stepped up considerably. The early leader, Rodney Flournoy, was displaced by Shawn Van Horn in the "Choo-Choo Mama" Pontiac Trans Am, as van Horn carded a decent 6.236 against the 5.90 index. The spread between the top and bottom was still more than ten seconds, but at least there were more cars for the fans to see during eliminations on Sunday.