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10/30/2005 Bakersfield, CA - The Goodguys 7th Fuel & Gas Finals probably be recalled as the "upset nationals". Going into the event there were five drivers within striking distance of the 2005 Top Fuel Points Championship. Sean Bellemeur and the High Speed Motorsports team made their move too late in the season to be in the top five so they came here to win the event and take on the role as a "spoiler". After qualifying with a solid 5.919 at 247.25 they went into eliminations with high hopes of taking out some of the leaders.

In round one the points leader, Rick McGee (in on the break rule) smoked the tires against Rick White (who was # 2 in the points) leaving White well in the hunt. Then Bill Dunlap put Jim Murphy, the # 5 points driver away erasing him from the picture. # 4 in points, Terry Cox hung in by beating Mark Hyla running low ET of the round (5.896). Then Rick Rogers won a pedalfest over the # 3 driver, Brett Harris. No repeat championship for Nitro Thunder. Another shocker followed when Sean Bellemeur had his race in the bag when the car got out of the grove and he took out the top end cone disqualifying himself. Like I said, it was weird race - the Upset Nationals. The story and photos below.

 

 

FRIDAY QUALIFYING - SESSION ONE

 

Bert Toulette makes final adjustments to the air pressure in the rear tires.

 

In the first qualifying session Sean Bellemeur in the Plaza Hotel entry was paired with Rick Williamson in "Hot Rod Bills" car.

 

 

Walt Stevens waits for Bellemeur to complete his burnout so he can guide him back.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Bellemeur joined the long list of "tire spinners" from this session and pedaled to a 6.439 at 243.90. Not good enough to make the show but a good baseline.

 

 

 

First Qualifying Run Video
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FRIDAY QUALIFYING - SESSION TWO

 

Session two was underway when the sun set on the horizon. Sean Bellemeur in the Plaza Hotel car had the whole track to himself due to the way alternating lane assignments go during qualifying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final tweaks before Bellemeur stages.

 

Bellemeur took full advantage of the single ripping off a 5.919 at 247.25 which put him well into the top half of the field.

 

 

 

5.91 Video
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SATURDAY QUALIFYING - SESSION THREE

 

"Q3 was a bust. We were early in the session and were liking the conditions. Sean did the burnout along side Rick White and then they shut us off due to oil on the track. We took the car back to the pits (below) and reloaded but there was to much heat in the motor and the clutch so she went 60 feet and smoked 'em. To much motor when it gets that warm and the clutch was over seated."
Tom Shelar - Team Manager

 

 

 

Burnout - backup - the routine never changes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean tires... tweak tune up.

 

 

 

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 strong and both blazed the tires shortly thereafter. Harris won the coasting contest to the lights. Needless to say, neither car improved but both are in the show.

 

 

Third Session Video
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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Final order after 3 rounds of qualifying in Nostalgia Top Fuel at the Goodguys, 7th Annual Fuel and Gas Finals:

Psn     Driver         ET     Speed

1. Jim Murphy 5.854 @ 254.59
2. Brett Harris 5.861 @ 259.06
3. Terry Cox 5.896 @ 248.61
4. Pete Kaiser 5.897 @ 243.77
5. Lee Jennings 5.900 @ 247.86
6. Sean Bellemeur 5.919 @ 247.25
7. Rick White 5.966 @ 235.29
8. Scott Mason 5.983 @ 244.29
9. Howard Haight 6.001 @ 236.84
10. Jason Richey 6.027 @ 247.86
11. Rick Williamson 6.046 @ 242.45
12. Adam Sorokin 6.047 @ 241.15
13. Brendan Murry 6.056 @ 232.85
14. Mark Hyla 6.119 @ 220.10
15. Rick Rogers 6.120 @ 222.55
16. Bill Dunlap 6.120 @ 220.64
--------- Not Qualified ---------
17. Rick McGee 6.152 @ 238.15
18. Mark Malde 6.174 @ 218.02
19. Chuck Tanko 6.337 @ 223.32

 


 

ELIMINATIONS - ROUND ONE

 

First round of Top Fuel was running two hours late when Bellemeur and Rick Williamson got their turn to race. After watching the cars (and upsets) ahead of them the HSM team knew the track was more than suspect but it was too late to make any major changes.

 

Bellemeur had this race in the bag until the 1000 foot cone got in the way. He had taken a big lead while Williamson was on and off the throttle. Bellemeur got out of the groove and drifted right taking out the foam reflector box and that was all she wrote. Williamson got a gift 6.292 at 213.98 win.

 

"This was a shame. The car shook of the starting line and Sean had to peddle it do to the fact that the mag retard had slipped into the retard mode and pulled 8 degrees out at the hit. He did a great job to get it hooked up and drove around Williamson but the car took a set when he peddled it and just as he got the finish line it moved out of the groove and made a quick dart to the cone."
Tom Shelar - Team Manager

First Round Video
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And that's a wrap for the 2005 season. Next year the High Speed Motorsports team will focus on one car and one driver - The Plaza Hotel entry with Sean Bellemeur in the seat. They found that running a two car team meant that neither car got the full attention it deserved so in 2006 the total focus will be on one car. The team has no bones about saying they want the VRA Championship next season and will compete vigorously to win it.

 

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