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The latest update as of March 7, 2020

--- Good Vibrations March Meet

Friday results from Bakersfield

AA/FUEL ALTERED - Qualifying Session 1

As the third PRO class in the Heritage Series pecking order, the AA/Fuel Altereds continue to excite the fans and create interest amongst the racers as this year's March Meet saw 15 entries trying to squeeze into the 8-car field. To keep the class from getting out of hand - and where and how many times have you heard that before? - there is a firm 6.00-second index to give the lesser funded (aka: low buck) teams a chance to compete. The potential of these cars was amply demonstrated during qualifying as Keith Wilson in his nasty-looking "Witch Doctor" entry blew up the index with a 5.833 clocking in the first session, at an "out the back door" 243.19 speed for good measure. Read on to see how the first session went.

AA/FA - Ron Capps - 'Good News' --- AA/FA - Rodney Flournoy - 'Godzilla'

(LEFT) Coming back for a second shot at March Meet glory in the "Good News" Fiat coupe, Ron "Big Show" Capps lights up the tires as he prepares for his qualifier that ended a little early with a 7.537 - 118.83 that put him in the #11 position.

(RIGHT) A real "blast from the past" competitor came out next as Rodney Flournoy in the family run "Godzilla" slotted into the provisional field on the bump spot with a 6.853 - 195.56 that left much room for improvement on Saturday.

AA/FA - Eric Gates - 'Agent Orange' --- AA/FA - Dan Hix - 'Heatseeker'

(LEFT) After a runner-up finish at this event in 2018, to failing to qualify last year, Eric Gates in "Agent Orange" was looking for much better results this year but a 7.320 - 154.10 wasn't was he was looking for. With only one more qualifier on Saturday, it was going to take some work to move up from his #10 slot into the field.

(RIGHT) Doing double duty as he was also entered in Nitro Pro Comp, Oregon's Dan Hix in the "Heatseeker" had an odd pairing of numbers, as his 6.723 (good enough for the #7 spot) had a trap speed of 249.53. It must have been an early pedal, then a banzai run to the finish line.

AA/FA - Robert Winefsky - 'Coyote Express' --- AA/FA - James Generalao Jr. - 'Impatient'

(LEFT) The Arizona-based - and aptly named - "Coyote Express" of Robert Winefski ran the best of the session to this point and stopped the clocks at 6.420 - 214.42, good enough for the #4 spot on the provisional qualifying list.

(RIGHT) Coming back to try again for the March Meet trophy was James Generalao Jr. in his "Impatient" entry and he found the tuneup was lacking the punch from last year (6.180 in the 1st session), as he only slotted in to the #9 spot with a 6.867 - 197.08.

AA/FA - Mike Halstead - 'Black Sunshine' --- AA/FA - Tom Padilla - 'Red Dragon'

(LEFT) We could fill an entire page talking about the "Black Sunshine" 23-T of the "Over The Hill Gang" driven by Mike Halstead. The connection to the famed nitro racing "Gang" is still intact as Bill Schultz is doing the tuning but it didn't work out too well in the first session as Halstead had to pedal the car before the 330' clocks and shut off to a 10.201 - 85.87 to land in the #13 position.

(RIGHT) Launching into a nice wheelie, Washingtonian Tom Padilla in his "Red Dragon" ran strong to the 1000' mark before getting off the loud pedal and still nearly tickling the index at 6.058 - 208.49. Despite coasting across the finish line, Padilla still finished the round at the top of the ladder, nearly a tenth ahead of his nearest competitor.

AA/FA - Kevin Burgess - 'Nasty Benjamin' --- AA/FA - Shawn Van Horn - 'Panic!'

(LEFT) The unsinkable Dave Benjamin showed up with a new driver this year, as ex-boat racer Kevin Burgess now resides in the HOT seat of the "Nasty Benjamin" 23-T and he had quite a ride in his first appearance in AA/FA. They stopped the clocks at 6.138 - good for #2 in the order - at a much reduced speed of only 182.43 mph.

(RIGHT) Looking as old school as they come, with skinny Halibrand (?) spoke front wheels and a high open Bantam body, the "PANIC!" entry of Shawn Van Horn looked like a contender with his opening shot of 6.177 - 230.25 and landed in the #3 spot to set him up for a good weekend.

AA/FA - Jim Holtz - 'Nitro Jim' --- AA/FA - George Gallimore - 'Sundown'

(LEFT) Making a statement with his first pass of the season, "Nitro" Jim Holtz in his 1924 Dodge (okay, we'll buy that story) moved solidly into the field in the #6 spot with a 6.501 at only 173.08 mph as he shut off well before the stripe.

(RIGHT) Coming all the way from Memphis, Tennessee, George Gallimore in the "Sundown" '37 Fiat Toppolino launched hard but faded early to a #12 qualifying 9.631 - 77.88 clocking.

AA/FA - Keith Wilson - 'Witch Doctor'

What index? We don't need no stinkin' index! seems to be the mantra of the "Witch Doctor" team of Keith Wilson as he blew right past the 6.00 limit with a tremendous 5.833 - 243.19 pass to end up at the bottom of the pack with just one more chance to qualify on Saturday afternoon.

NOSTALGIA FUEL DRAGSTER - Qualifying Session 1

All 12 of the pre-entered cars/racers were in the pits on Friday morning but the diversity that's been evident at previous March Meet's was a little lacking as only one out of state entry was in evidence, that being the Jim & Alison-owned "Great Expectations III" driven by the son of previous pilot Bobby Hilton, now under the control of Tyler Hilton.

And in the biggest shock of the event, defending Heritage Series champion, Mendy Fry, in the dominating "High Speed Motorsports" car is parked, at least temporarily, and possibly permanently. This follows the unexpected and tragic passing of team owner/tuner/guiding light Tom Shelar last summer. Another non-entrant was the lone Canadian car, the indefatigible Phil Ruskowski with his Victoria, BC-based "Xhibitionist" small-block Chevy-powered entry. Phil has been dealing with some health issues over the winter and just wasn't ready to make the trip south this year.

AA/FD - Dan Horan Jr. --- AA/FD - Jim Murphy - 'WWIII'

(LEFT) Hopping out of his Nostalgia Funny Car into his Top Fuel car, Dan Horan Jr. put down a strong opening lap of 5.805 - 250.04 to take the #3 spot on the ladder.

(RIGHT) Many time (4-time and counting...) winner of the March Meet, in the last decade and stretching all the way back to the early 1970's, Jim Murphy in his "WWIII" entry lit up the tires on the launch and slowly rolled down the track to a 12-second clocking that left him 11th in the 8-car field.

AA/FD - Frank McBee Jr. - 'Valley Thunder' --- AA/FD - Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young'

(LEFT) The "Valley Thunder Racing" car of Frank McBee Jr. ran well to half track, then slowed to a 6.586 - 157.03 to slide into the bump spot, but with two more qualifying sessions on tap, the Thunder team knew they had some work ahead of them if they wanted to be running on Sunday.

(RIGHT) The Mike Fuller Motorsports "Forever Young" car under the ultra-capable controls of multi-talented Bret Williamson ran strong almost all the way to the finish line, stopping the clocks at 5.915 - 231.71, good enough for the #5 position after the first day of qualifying.

AA/FD - Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' --- AA/FD - Rick White - 'Autopower'

(LEFT) All the way from Cincinatti, OH in a brand-new J. Ed Horton chassis, Tyler Hilton in the Jim & Alison Lee-owned "Great Expectations III" showed some big-block Chevy power with a very good 5.930 - 224.81 pass, good enough for the #6 spot on the ladder.

(RIGHT) The Neal & White "Autopower" entry, driven by veteran Rick White ran into major problems as he oiled the track and earned a DQ for the effort. Heritage Series rules automatically disqualify a timeslip whenever an oildown occurs. It's drastic, but necessary, and has helped lessen the amount of downtown at these events.

AA/FD - Brendan Murry - 'Running Wild' --- AA/FD - Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop'

(LEFT) Another tale of two halves (as in track), as Brendan Murry in his "Running Wild" entry ran hard to the 660' clocks, then slowed to a 6.644 - 144.95 that left him just outside the field as the first session bump spot ended up at Frank McBee Jr.'s 6.586 e.t.

(RIGHT) The most unique-appearing car in the field - or almost any field for that matter - is the "Champion Speed Shop" small-block Chevy-powered car driven by second-generation Top Fuel pilot Adam Sorokin and he stayed on the throttle a little longer than Murry, but his 6.769 - 171.66 ended up one notch lower than the Running Wild's #9 position. Despite the lack of jaw-dropping performances in the first qualifier, as the e.t.'s ranged from #1 qualfier Pete Wittenberg's 5.731 down to #8 Frank McBee Jr.'s aforementioned 6.586 pass.

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session 2

AA/FC - Dan Horan Jr. - 'Infinity' --- AA/FC - Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak'

AA/FC - Matt Bynum - Matthews Motorsports --- AA/FC - Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour'

AA/FC - Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' --- AA/FC -

AA/FC - --- AA/FC -

AA/FC - Bob Godfrey - 'Burnin' Money' --- AA/FC - Boby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special'

AA/FC - Mike Peck - 'Quote Wizard' --- AA/FC - Jeff Arend - 'California Hustler'

AA/FC - Jeff Gregory - 'Madness' --- AA/FC - James Day - Speed Sport Special

AA/FC - Rian Konno - Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno --- AA/FC - Bill Windham - 'Shakedown'

AA/FC - Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' --- AA/FC - Jerry Espeseth - 'Rolling Thunder 2.0'

NITRO PRO COMP - Qualifying Session 1

NPC - Billy McDevitt --- NPC - Mike Halstead

NPC - Rick Rogers --- NPC - Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro'

NPC - Dan Hix - 'Meanstreak' --- NPC - Rodney Flournoy - 'Hot Wheels'