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The latest update as of March 8, 2020

--- Good Vibrations March Meet

Saturday results from Bakersfield

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Round 1 eliminations

With 24 AA/FC's in the pits on Wednesday, everyone knew that it was going to take a solid effort, and some very good e.t.'s to make the ultra-tough (as always) 16-car field. The bump spot moved steadily downwards as qualifying progressed, from a Friday (1st session) 12-second time, to the second session's 6.176, and finally in the last-ditch Saturday session to a very stout 5.832, leaving the new "Quarter Pounder" of Van Gundy, Clark & Monise on the outside by just six-thousandths (5.838). Right behind them was Bill Windham at a very good 5.851, before the field trailed off into the 6-second zone and beyond. The first round of eliminations went off late Saturday afternoon and featured some very close matchups. Our coverage starts below with a different photograph perspective from the deep end of the track.

AA/FC - Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' --- AA/FC - Justin Taylor -'Evil, Wicked, 
Mean & Nasty'

The first pairing featured two middle of the pack (#7 vs #10) qualifiers, but it was no contest as Ryan Hodgson in the "Pacemaker" Camaro (LEFT) launched first by a .073 to .150 margin, then ran away from Justin Taylor in the "Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty" Mustang (RIGHT). Hodgson's 5.827 - 250.51 train-lengthed Taylor's early shutoff 7.290 - 148.71 effort.

AA/FC - James Day - 'Speed Sport Special' --- AA/FC - Matt Melendez - 'Cacklin' Critter' 
(left) vs Dan Horan - 'Infinity' (right)

(LEFT) Second out of the chute was James Day in the "Speed Sport Special" Omni and while he ran a very respectable 5.845 - 252.71 and left first (.082 to .160), it wasn't nearly enough to stay ahead of Matt Bynum in the "Matthews Motorsports" Camaro (not shown) who pounded out low e.t. and top speed of the round with a crushing 5.587 - 260.97 for the win.

(RIGHT) Side by side through the top end are Matt Melendez in the "Cacklin' Critter" Challenger (left) and Dan Horan Jr. Camaro (right) after Melendez pulled the upset of the day, taking out the #1 qualifier in the first round. Neither driver cut a light (.200 to .205) in Melendez's favour, but the scoreboards told the tale, with a 5.709 - 245.27 for Melendez and 6.349 - 242.32 for Horan. Without the video to see what happened, we can only surmise that Horan had to pedal (smoke or shake) as his mph number indicated that he stayed on the throttle to the finish line.

AA/FC - Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' --- AA/FC - Tim Nemeth - 'Iceman'

On paper this looked to be a somewhat lopsided match, with #15 qualifier Tim Nemeth in his "Iceman" Firebird (LEFT) at a definite disadvantage against #2 qualifier Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" Camaro (RIGHT). But when the lights came on, Nemeth left first (.145 to .219) and gave Morris a battle all the way to the stripe, falling just over a car-length short as both drivers ran into problems early then pedalled their way to the finish line with Morris running 7.298 - 220.26 to overcome Nemeth's close 7.423 - 218.23 losing effort.

AA/FC - Jerry Espeseth - 'Rolling 
Thunder 2.0' --- AA/FC - Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour'

The next pairing saw sometimes Canadian Tim Boychuk in his "Happy Hour" Camaro (RIGHT) leave second and finish second with a solid, but outclassed, 5.753 - 241.28 time as Jerry Espeseth in the "Rolling Thunder 2.0" Camaro light up the scoreboards with a much better 5.601 - 257.83 to advance to the second round. Espeseth's six hundredths advantage on the launch just added icing to the cake.

AA/FC - Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' --- AA/FC - Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment

The round continued with an all-Camaro battle which was not surprising as 10 out of the 16 qualifiers were piloting that model. Bobby Cottrell in the Austin & O'Brien "Bardahl Special" (LEFT) started his quest for another Heritage series championship with an unspectacular 5.894 - 249.12 (the numbers suggest a pedal job early in the run) win. Shutting off early and coasting to a first-round runnerup was opponent Tony Jurado in the "Capitol Punishment" Camaro (RIGHT) turning a slowing 6.480 - 150.30 in defeat.

AA/FC - Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' (left) vs 
Rian Konno - 'Lemon, Kazanjian & Konno' (right)

(LEFT) The closest Funny Car race of the event came in the second to last pair of the round, as Brad Thompson in the "Jaiblreak" Camaro (left lane) and Rian Konno in the "Lemon, Kazanjian & Konno" Mustang left with identical (.123) lights and crossed the finish line less than a car length apart. The verdict on the scoreboards read: Konno 5.747 - 250.88 for the WIN and Thompson 5.777 - 250.52 for the LOSS.

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

The round closed with last year's 2nd place finisher in the Heritage Series standings, Jeff Arend in the "California Hustler" Firebird (LEFT) quickly dispatching Mike Peck in the "Quote Wizard" Camaro (RIGHT), by a very decisive margin of 5.644 - 256.06 to 18+ seconds at a leisurely 49 mph.

With the first round of eliminations in the books as Saturday's racing came to a close, the pairings for the quarter-finals on Sunday morning were: Matt Melendez with lane choice over Rian Konno; Matt Bynum choosing over Jerry Espeseth (by only 14-thousandths); Jeff Arend with the choice over Bobby Cottrell; and Ryan Hodgson holding his choice over Billy Morris.