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Bellemeur Qualifies #1 at 5.868 @ 253.87



10-02-05 Bakersfield, CA. Once again Greg Sharp, Sam Jackson, Steve Gibbs and the entire NHRA Motorsports Museum staff gave us yet another unforgettable weekend. CHRR 14 was three days of hot weather filled with non stop action and events punctuated with a 49 car Cacklefest on Saturday night. Emotions ran high as old friends were reunited, fallen comrades remembered, legends honored and some incredibly close racing contested. I'm way done saying, "It can't get any better than this." Because every year it does.

Saturday saw a huge crowd pack Famoso Raceway for Nostalgia Top Fuel qualifying and round one of eliminations under the lights. Come Sunday, a smaller but equally enthusiastic crowd was treated to the last three rounds of the quickest 16 car NTF show in history. For the High Speed Motorsports - Plaza Hotel fueler this was a good news, bad news event. Bellemeur qualified #1 with a stunning 5.86 at 253 MPH - he won his first round of eliminations - he made a mistake all great drivers have suffered - a oh so close red light in round two. Photos and full story below.





The first of two qualifying sessions went off at 3:10 pm and it was HOT (95 degrees)! Sean Bellemeur in the High Speed Motorsports-Plaza Hotel rocket was paired with Rick Williamson in the "Hot Rod Bills" car.




Bellemeur backs up from his burnout at the direction of Walt Stevens.





Brett Johansen makes the final adjustments to the injector just prior to Bellemeur staging while the tires are being scraped for maximum traction.


Both cars left hard and were on great passes until.....





Williamson experienced a violent blower explosion at the 1000' mark sending parts and pieces everywhere.



In spite of the explosion Williamson ran a 6.031 at 216.55. One can only guess what he would have run in one piece. Bellemeur carded the second five of the weekend at 5.991 at 246.03.



Sean Bellemeur climbs into the car to warm/test the engine prior to the second qualifying session. This is a routine performed every time the car is going to make a pass albeit qualifying or eliminations.


Brett Johansen checks the data computer as Tom Shelar has Bellemeur test the clutch and reverser.







Paired in the second qualifying session were the "Young Lions". Without a doubt the two best second generation drivers in NTF today. Adam Sorokin (it's in the genes) and Sean Bellemeur (also in the genes).






Sorokin had problems in VanDyke's car Friday and needed this final shot to make the show. Bellemeur was solidly in with his previous 5.991 at 246.03.


Both cars left super hard and when the clocks lit up Bellemeur had set low ET and top speed of the event (to that point) with a stunning 5.868 at 253.87. Sorokin went in right behind him with his first five second pass 5.935 at 234.92.






Back in the pits Walt Stevens and Bert Toulette are all smiles.

5.86 - 253 MPH Video
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September 30 - October 02, 2005 - Bakersfield, CA - Final order after 2 rounds of qualifying in Nostalgia Top Fuel at the 14th California Hot Rod Reunion. This was the quickest 16 car field in history.

Psn        Driver            ET     Speed

1. Sean Bellemeur 5.868 @ 253.87
2. Adam Sorokin 5.935 @ 234.92
3. Pete Kaiser 5.959 @ 249.79
4. Brad Thompson 5.959 @ 232.97
5. Jason Richey 6.012 245.36 @ 245.36
6. Brett Harris 6.015 244.53 @ 244.53
7. Bill Dunlap 6.015 230.53 @ 232.67
8. Rick Williamson 6.031 216.55 @ 216.55
9. Jim Murphy 6.047 222.22 @ 236.53
10. Denver Schutz 6.061 237.15 @ 237.15
11. Rick White 6.078 227.56 @ 227.56
12. Terry Cox 6.103 236.34 @ 236.34
13. Scott Mason 6.107 234.98 @ 234.98
14. Brendan Murry 6.111 238.66 @ 238.66
15. Rick McGee 6.111 231.36 @ 231.36
16. Mark Hyla 6.115 216.45 @ 216.45

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17. Rick Rogers 6.119 250.00 @ 250.00
18. Lee Jennings 6.121 233.34 @ 236.53
19. Mendy Fry 6.138 224.83 @ 224.83
20. Chuck Tanko 6.144 238.34 @ 238.34
21. Howard Haight 6.156 196.54 @ 196.54
22. Fred Farndon 6.569 176.15 @ 176.15
23. Mike Lockman 7.089 155.41 @ 155.41
24. Jerry Kumre Jr 7.307 145.27 @ 145.27





Nitro under the lights (4th pair) featured Sean Bellemeur and Mark Hyla.




What a drag race! Bellemeur did his job with a 0.050 light and the the tuners did their job as well carding a 5.948 at 248.48 win. Sean ran 202 mph to Hyla's 197 at half track.Hyla was right there with a 5.967 at 224.04 (the cars first five second pass). Bellemeur's MOV: 0.1150 seconds (approximately 38 feet).



Back in the pits getting ready for round two on Sunday.

Round One Win Video
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Here are a few candid pit shots to honor the unsung hero's of the sport - the crew.


Crew Members/Duties:
Team Manager: Tom Shelar
Crew Chief: Brett Johansen
Clutch: Sean Bellemeur / Tod Shapie
Cylinder Heads: Dave Stiller
Top End: Walt Stevens / Roger McMartin
Bottom End: Tim Swain / Rick Shelar
Rods and Pistons: Roger McMartin
Fluids: Bert Toulotte












Prior to the second round of Top Fuel the 16 members of the 250 MPH Club were honored and introduced by Dave McClelland. From left to right: Jim Murphy, Gerry Steiner, Jack Harris, Howard Haight, Jeff Diehl (not pictured) Dale Suhr for Roger Lechtenberg, Mendy Fry, Bill Dunlap, Jason Richey (not pictured), Terry Cox, Brett Harris, Lee Jennings Sr., Rick White, Rick McGee, Sean Bellemeur and Rick Rogers.


Awards and pre race ceremonies done it was time for the remaining 8 cars to do battle. Bellemeur was paired with Rick Williamson.







As always, Walt Stevens backed up Bellemeur from his burnout while Brett Johansen marked the spot he wanted the left rear tire for maximum traction.


The smart money would have been on Bellemeur but has said so many time before, drag races are not run on paper.


The big ol' red light in Sean's lane said it was all over at the hit.


Bellemeur, one of the best leavers in the business, said this was his first red light in seven years and it was a close one (-0.009). To rub salt into the wound he ran a 5.915 at 247.79 to Williamson's slower 6.029 at 248.07.




Round Two Oops Video
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