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The latest update as of March 9, 2020

--- Good Vibrations March Meet

Sunday results from Bakersfield

AA/FD - (near lane) Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' 
(far lane) Pete Wittenberg - 'KMA Circuit Breaker' --- AA/FC - (near lane) Matt Melendez 'Cacklin' Critter' 
'70 Challenger (far lane) Matt Bynum - 'Matthews Motorsport'

(LEFT) Taking the big trophy in Top Fuel for the second time was Pete Wittenberg (far lane) in the "KMA Circuit Breaker" with a great 5.678 - 251.49 pass over a tough opponent in Tyler Hilton (near lane) in the Jim & Alison Lee-owned "Great Expectations III" car. Hilton left first on everyone he raced, and despite slower e.t.'s, worked his way to the final where his 5.927 - 229.20 fell short of Wittenberg's winning pass.

(RIGHT) In Nostalgia Funny Car, Matt Bynum in the Matthews Motorsports Camaro, (far lane) continued his string of jaw-dropping runs with a final round 5.617 - 250.13 to defeat the consistent, but not quick enough Matt Melendez in the "Cacklin' Critter" Challenger (near lane), who left first but finished second with a 5.749 at only 224.73 mph.


(LEFT) Coming out of the bottom of the field, after qualifying on the bubble, Ron "Big Show" Capps worked his way to the final round in the "Good News" Fiat (far lane) where his luck held out as a 6.637 - 158.93 was more than enough to dispatch a red-lighting Robert Winefsky in the Arizona-based "Coyote Express" who left waaay (-.194) too early and shut off to a 7.497 - 120.91 loss.

(RIGHT) A new eliminator - Nitro Pro Comp - arose from the ashes of a few tried and discarded classes and it featured a match between Billy McDevitt in his rear-engined Top Fuel Dragster (near lane) against Washingtonian Chris Davis in his "Old School Nitro" '77 Arrow AA/Funny Car (far lane). Running on a 5.90-index, both cars came relatively close to the number, with McDevitt pulling out a 6.089 to 6.097 win. A close race on paper, but Davis's reaction time of .242 left him far behind McDevitt's .114 on the launch, and at the finish line.

--- Jr. Fuel - Don Enriquez (near lane) vs Brad 
Woodard (far lane)

(LEFT) The last of the PRO categories, A/Fuel Dragster, featured the two most dominant racers and cars in the cateogry. Drew Austin (near lane) took out his strongest challenger, Kin Bates (far lane) in a race that ended quickly when Bates went up in smoke on the launch and shut off to a 16-second time. Austin meanwhile, pounded out another 5-second pass for good measure, stopping the clocks at 5.907 - 233.16 for his first March Meet trophy.

(RIGHT) At the top of the Sportsman food chain, the Junior Fuel category still attracts a small but solid field of competitors, with a very real connection to the heyday of the class in the late 60's, the ageless Don Enriquez (far lane), advancing to the final for the umpeenth time at Famoso, before falling to the 2020 March Meet champion, Brad Woodard (near lane) on a 6.998 - 187.89 to an early shutoff 7.913 - 152.59 for Enriquez. To even up the competition in the category there are three classes (A,B,C) with indexes ranging from 6.89 to 7.01 to 7.14. and it seems to work for the participants.

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Round 2 eliminations

Rian Konno - 'Lemon, Kazanjian & Konno' 
(left) - Matt Melendez - 'Cacklin' Critter' (right) --- Jerry Espeseth - 'Rolling Thunder 2.0' (left) 
- Matt Bynum - 'Matthews Motorsports' (right)

(LEFT) Following his first round UPSET over low qualifier Dan Horan Jr., Matt Melendez in the "Cacklin' Critter" Challenger (right lane) took out the #8 qualifer Rian Konno in the "Lemon, Kazanjian & Konno" Mustang (left lane) in a relatively close race: 5.713 - 241.93 over Konno's slightly quicker leaving (.108) to (.129) but later arriving 5.788 - 247.61 pass.

(RIGHT) As can be quite clearly seen in the photo, Jerry Espeseth in the ex-Jason Rupert "Rolling Thunder 2.0" Camaro (left lane)) is in a world of trouble early, recording a (.423) reaction time, then smoking the tires before shutting off and rolling to a NTR - NSR clocking. Taking full advantage of his plight was Matt Bynum in the "Matthews Motorsports" Camaro (right lane) who sped to low e.t. of eliminations at 5.584 - 252.05.

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' (left) 
- Jeff Arend - 'California Hustler' (right) --- Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' (left) 
- Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' (right)

(LEFT) Two of the major hitters in the 2019 Heritage season matched up next as Bobby Cottrell in the Austin & O'Brien "Bardahl Special" (left lane) kept up his mastery over Don Nelson's "California Hustler" Firebird driven by Jeff Arend (right lane) by leaving first (.051) to (.110) and outrunning the Hustler for a 5.662 - 246.93 to 5.730 - 252.00 decision over Arend.

(RIGHT) Running into trouble early was the aptly named "Problem Child" Camaro of Billy Morris (left lane) as he quickly faded to a 12.684 - 63.57, while Ryan Hodgson in the Canadian "Pacemaker" Camaro (right lane) ran strong to his best numbers of the event, stopping the clocks at 5.654 - 258.57 for the decisive victory and a place in the semi-finals.

Pairings for that round are Matt Melendez vs Bobby Cottrell, with Cottrell holding lane choice, and Ryan Hodgson against Matt Bynum, with Bynum having his pick of lanes.

NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL - Round 1 eliminations

Brendan Murry - --- Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III'
 (left) - Jim Murphy - 'WWIII' (right)

(LEFT) Opening Top Fuel eliminations were the #1 and #8 qualifiers, and this one ended quickly as Pete Wittenberg in the "KMA Circuit Breaker" (right lane) followed up his low qualifying 5.60 pass, with a very strong 5.685 - 247.52 to easily dispatch Brendan Murry's off-pace 10.740 - 65.78 effort in his "Running Wild" entry (left lane). Murry left first by 12-thousandths, but that's all he had for Wittenberg.

(RIGHT) The first upset of TF eliminations came in the second pairing as lightly regarded Tyler Hilton in the Lee-family "Great Expectations III" (left lane) took a holeshot win over multi-time champion Jim Murphy in his "WWIII" car (right lane). Despite a quicker e.t., 6.027 - 180.77 for Murphy to a 6.084 - 227.04 for Hilton, the difference at the starting line (.088 to .164) in Hilton's favour, added up to a less than two-hundredths margin at the finish line.

Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' (left) - 
Bryan Hall - 'H & H Nomad' (right) --- Dan Horan Jr. (left) - Bret Williamson - 
'Forever Young' (right)

(LEFT) Making his March Meet debut was Tyler Hester in the "Overtime Special" (left lane) (formerly driven by his uncle Rick McGee), and he upended the #3 qualifier Bryan Hall in the "H & H Nomad" (right lane) 5.890 - 212.13 to an early shutoff 6.781 - 143.81 for Hall.

(RIGHT) The round closed with the third lower qualified car winning as Dan Horan Jr. (left lane) clocked a 5.794 - 234.78 to eliminate Bret Williamson's - "Forever Young" entry (right lane) at 5.902 - 241.28. The race was essentially over on the starting line though as Williamson's (.234) reaction was well behind Horan's so-so (.142) launch, but Dan won the race at both ends of the track.

Following the round, pairings for the semi-finals were as follows: Pete Wittenberg over Dan Horan Jr., and Hester over Hilton in a battle of the Tylers.

AA/FUEL ALTERED - Round 1 eliminations

Robert Winefski - 'Coyote Express' (left) - 
Tom Padilla - 'Red Dragon' (right) --- Jim Holtz - 'Nitro Jim' (left) - 
Kevin Burgess - 'Nasty Benjamin' (right)

With a total of 15 entries for the 6.00-indexed class, eliminations promised some serious excitement for fans (and who isn't?) of the short-wheelbased, overpowered, ill-handling dinosaurs.

(LEFT) First out of the box was the pairing of Robert Winefski in the "Coyote Express" (left lane) and Washington state's Tom Padilla in his very competitive "Red Dragon" (right lane) and it delivered an upset as #2 qualifier Padilla was ousted by #7 Winefski. Despite a better e.t. 6.301 at an early shutoff 171.49, Padilla's late-launching (.169) reaction time left him nearly a tenth behind the "Express" at the green. The slower (but faster) 6.334 - 223.14 for Winefsky allowed his quicker (.079) light to turn on the winlight.

(RIGHT) Another upset occurred in the next pair as every lower qualified car won in the first round, and this time it was "Nitro" Jim Holtz (left lane) taking the win with a 6.483 - 195.31 over ex-boat racer Kevin Burgess's 6.622 - 152.14 - in Dave Benjamin's "Nasty Benjamin" entry (right lane). Neither driver scorched the reaction timers (.179) for Holtz and (.194) for Burgess but it was decided at the finish line, not on the start.

Ron Capps - 'Good News' (left) - 
James Generalao Jr. (right) --- Shawn Van Horn - 'Panic!' (left) - 
Mark Whynaught - 'Nitro Mamba' (right)

(LEFT) After another difficult time qualifying as they squeaked into the field in the final qualifying session, Ron Capps in the "Good News" Fiat (left lane) left on his opponent (.083) to (.118) and cruised to an easy victory, able to shut off early to a 6.559 - 168.05, as James Generalao Jr. in the "Impatient" entry (right lane) slowed to a 8.117 - 104.23 for the loss.

(RIGHT) Closing out the opening round of eiminations were the most closely matched pair from qualifying, as #4 Shawn Van Horn in the very cool retro "Panic!" Bantam (left lane) put down a very quick 6.137 - 213.91 to lose by just two thousandths of a second to #5 qualifier Mark Whynaught's "Nitro Mamba", who ran only five thousandths slower at 6.142 - 222.00, but left first (.107) to (.114) to take the closest win of the day in any eliminator.

Semi-final pairings were: Mark Whynaught with lane choice over Ron Capps and Robert Winefsky over Jim Holtz.

NITRO PRO COMP - Round 1 eliminations

AA/FC - Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro' --- AA/FC - Rodney Flournoy - 'Hot Wheels' (left) 
- AA/FC Dan Hix (right)

(LEFT) As low qualifier in the short field (7 out of 8 spots filled) Chris Davis in the "Old School Nitro" Arrow took it easy (the butteflies are closed well before the 330' clocks) with a 15.083 - 61.12 pass to move into the semi-finals.

(RIGHT) In what became the only pairing of the first round, two AA/FC's squared off, with Rodney Flournoy (left lane) in the "Hot Wheels" tribute Mustang took out Dan Hix (right lane) by a decisive (.108) 7.027 - 168.32 to (.242) 7.603 - 125.48 had trouble establishing a solid grip on the Famoso surface. Being really late at the green didn't help either.

AA/FD - Billy McDevitt --- AA/FC - Dean Oberg - 'Fighting Irish'

(LEFT) On a solo pass as scheduled opponent Rick Rogers failed to appear, is Billy McDevitt clocking in at 7.946 - 102.88 on a rather troubled, but winning pass.

(RIGHT) The round closed with another bye run as Mike Halstead was a no-show, so Dean Oberg behind the wheel of the iconic "Fighting Irish" Camaro, put down a fair 6.764 - 175.16 time to advance to the semifinals.

Semi-final pairings were: Chris Davis over Rodney Flournoy and Dean Oberg over Billy McDevitt.

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Round 3 eliminations

AA/FC - Matt Melendez 'Cacklin' Critter' 
(near lane) vs Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' (far lane) --- AA/FC - Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' (near lane) 
vs Matt Bynum - 'Matthews Motorsports' (far lane)

Going into the semi-finals, all four cars had some very strong runs on their ledgers, with the gap between them in the 2nd round ranging from Matt Bynum's 5.584 to Matt Melendez's 5.713, with Hodgson and Cottrell in the mid 5.60's.

(LEFT) The first pair out of the lanes saw Matt Melendez in the "Cacklin' Critter" Challenger (near lane) continue his dream run from the #16 qualifying position, as he ran another solid ".70", carding a 5.756 - 244.74 to dispatch an early shutoff 7.053 - 135.51 from Bobby Cottrell in the "Bardahl Special" Camaro (far lane).

(RIGHT) In the other pairing, Ryan Hodgson in the "Pacemaker" Camaro left first (.094 to .168) for a healthy lead at the green but couldn't hold off the charing "Matthews Motorsports" Camaro of Matt Bynum as he thundered through the lights at 5.621 - 261.83 for Top Speed of eliminations and lane choice in the final round.

NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL - Round 2 eliminations

AA/FD - Pete Wittenberg - 'KMA Circuit Breaker' 
(near lane) vs Dan Horan Jr. (far lane) --- AA?FD - Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' 
(near lane) vs Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' (far lane)

(LEFT) Low qualifier Pete Wittenberg in the "KMA Circuit Breaker" (near lane) continued that pace in the 1st round of eliminations with his best of the round (5.685), then improved to a 5.663 - 250.78 to easily outdistance the good try of Dan Horan Jr. (far lane) 5.800 - 259.86. Wittenberg left first by nearly seven hundreths (.040 to .118) and Horan was simply unable to close the gap despite the big top end speed.

(RIGHT) Then it was time for the battle of the young "Tylers" as Tyler Hilton in "Great Expectations III" (near lane) took a close match over Tyler Hester in the "Overtime Special" (far lane) by a 5.958 - 210.90 to 6.003 - 199.08 decision. Adding in the reaction times (.149 for Hilton vs .234 for Hester) made the gap at the finish nearly three car lengths. That win for Hilton wasn't quick enough to garner lane choice over Wittenberg for the final round.

AA/FUEL ALTERED - Round 2 eliminations

Ron Capps - 'Good News' (near lane) - 
Mark Whynaught - 'Nitro Mamba' (far lane) --- Robert Winefski - 'Coyote Express' - 
Jim Holtz - 'Nitro Jim' (not shown - broken)

(LEFT) The second round of AA/FA eliminations kicked off with "Big Show" Ron Capps in the "Good News" Fiat coupe (near lane) leaving first on Mark Whynaught in the "Nitro Mamba" (far lane) and tickling the index with a solid 6.123 - 216.17 to hold off a fast closing 6.310 - 227.34 charge by Whynaught.

(RIGHT) The other semi-final was a bit of a downer as "Nitro" Jim Holtz (far lane - not shown) started leaking oil on the burnout, then took a while to shutoff before Robert Winefski took a 12-second single in the "Coyote Express" and an invite to the final round. Ron Capps obviously held lane choice for the trophy dash.

NITRO PRO COMP - Round 2 eliminations

NPC - Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro' (near 
lane) bye run --- NPC - Billy McDevitt (near lane) vs Dean Oberg 
- 'Fighting Irish' (far lane)

(LEFT) The first round of eliminations saw three bye runs and only one pairing, and the semi-final round started with yet another single as Rodney Flournoy was unable to appear in the "Hot Wheels" Mustang, and Chris Davis in the "Old School Nitro" Arrow took full advantage with his second free pass of the day directly into the final round. He took the slow way down to the finish line at 10.034 - 80.45 to save on the equipment.

(RIGHT) In the other semifinal race, Billy McDevitt (near lane) took an easy win over Dean Oberg in the "Fighting Irish" Camaro (far lane), leaving first and clocking a decent 6.214 - 194.49 as Oberg faded early and shutoff to a 7.336 - 137.00 time. With the nearly full pass, McDevitt earned lane choice for the final round over Davis.


The full description of the final rounds appeared higher up on the page. For full details, go here

AA/FD - Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' 
(near lane) vs Pete Wittenberg - 'KMA Circuit Breaker' (far lane) --- AA/FC - Matt Melendez - 'Cacklin' Critter' 
(near lane) vs Matt Bynum - 'Matthews Motorsports' (far lane)

(LEFT) Pete Wittenberg in the "KMA Circuit Breaker" (far lane) defeated Tyler Hilton in the "Great Expectations III" (near lane) 5.678 - 251.49 to 5.927 - 229.20

(RIGHT) Matt Bynum in the "Matthews Motorsports" Camaro (far lane) defeated Matt Melendez in the "Cacklin' Critter" Challenger (near lane) 5.167 - 250.13 to 5.749 - 224.73

AA/FA - Robert Winefski - 'Coyote Express' 
(near lane) vs Ron Capps - 'Good News' (far lane) --- NPC - Billy McDevitt (near lane) vs Chris 
Davis 'Old School Nitro' (far lane)

(LEFT) Ron Capps in the "Good News" Fiat coupe (far lane) defeated Robert Winefski in the "Coyote Express" (near lane) 6.637 - 158.93 to a red-lighting (-.194) 7.497 -120.91

(RIGHT) Billy McDevitt (near lane) defeated Chris Davis in the "Old School Nitro" Arrow 6.089 - 206.35 to 6.097 - 243.77. Despite a big top end charge, Davis's late launch (.242 to .114) left the flopper well in arrears at the stripe.

A/Fuel - Drew Austin (near lane) vs Kin Bates 
(far lane) --- Jr. Fuel - Don Enriquez (near lane) vs Brad 
Woodard (far lane)

(LEFT) Drew Austin (near lane) defeated Kin Bates (far lane) 5.907 - 233.16 to 16.463 - 57.52

(RIGHT) Brad Woodard (far lane) defeated Don Enriquez (near lane) 6.998 - 187.89 to 7.913 - 152.59