-- Misses World Championship by 3 Points
Runs Career Best ET of
CA - November 03-05, 2006: The 8th Goodguys Fuel & Gas Finals
was a virtual roller coaster ride for Sean Bellemeur and the
High Speed Motorsports team - a ride that ended one win shy of
the 2006 Goodguys/VRA Top Fuel World Championship title.
This event was
also filled with mixed emotions as after 19 years of Goodguys/VRA
WCC series events, the organization has made the decision to
bow out of the west coast part of Goodguys Championship competition
events. Goodguys/VRA will not stage a West Coast Championship
Series in 2007. That leaves next season with a lot of question
marks. Check back for updates but one thing for sure is there
will be a 2007 Bakersfield March Meet held on the weekend of
the 9th through the 13th so make your reservations now.
Back to business... Brett Johansen
and Troy Green had the SilverThin Bearing HSMS Top Fuel dragster
flying all weekend. After qualifying # 4 with a 5.827 at 253.87
they were dominant until the final round when they fell victim
to tire smoke. All in all the team had a great season and have
every right to hold their heads high and look forward to 2007
with great optimism. Now for the race coverage.
and full story below.
After setting up camp on Thursday the laid back atmosphere
led to mundane tasks like deciding which product stickers need
to go on the car.
Sean Bellemeur has some laughs with Amelia and Dale
Bert Toulette hangs up
the apparel that High
Speed Motorsports has available to its fans.
Thursday evening saw final prep for the first qualifying
session on Friday. Rian Konno and Troy Green help Brett Johansen
set up the data computer.
Most everyone knows where
to find Tom Shelar at the races. Before and after every run he
can be found at his "station" doing cylinder head maintenance.
The heads on the HSMS car are changed, inspected and repaired
after every run.
Friday morning the guys
install their new in-car digital mini-cab that can hardly be
seen under the top hoop of the roll cage.
Around 1:00 PM it was
time to start getting serious and warm the car up in preparation
for the first qualifying session scheduled for 2:00 PM.
Johansen watches the
meter (below) to make sure the engine is doing exactly what he
wants it to do at idle.
Next stop the staging
Friday - 1st
Prior to the first session
Troy Green and Roger McMartin give the track the once over.
For this session they
were the fourth pair out Next out and Bellemeur was paired with
Rick White in the Neal & White car from San Diego. This would
be a preview of the TF final on Sunday.
Walt Stevens backs Sean
up from his burnout.
After the burnout final
adjustment and tire cleaning are done before Bellemeur goes in
Both cars had nice 60' times with no tire smoke -
the new 10 lb minimum air pressure rule didn't seem to effect
Down track White had to pedal twice while Bellemeur
streaked to a piston burning 5.875 at 253.87. White carded a
respectable 6.033 at 246.84.
After the car was serviced
and ready for session two on Saturday the crew was feeling pretty
good about things.
Saturday - 2nd Qualifying Session
In session two Bellemeur
was the last car out and had a single.
The car collected a
nice 60' time and went right down the groove improving to the
# 4 spot with a career best ET of 5.827 at 251.67 MPH.
Saturday - 1st
Round of Eliminations
After replacing several
pistons the car is warmed up for the first round of eliminations.
By 5:00 PM only 8 of the 16 cars in round one will come back
for round two on Sunday.
The first round of Top
Fuel Eliminations kicked off at 3:50 PM. The weather remained
cool and the track excellent. Sean Bellemeur and Rick McGee were
the first pair out.
The car is fired up
to make sure all is good for Saturday.
Bellemeur got out first
- McGee gave chase.
Bellemeur was not to
be caught and held on for a 5.944 at 243.96 win light. McGee
was right on his tail with a game 5.980 at 251.95. This was a
Sunday - 2nd
Round of Eliminations
Sunday promised to be
the warmest day of the weekend and once again it was Bellemeur
in the first pair out to turn up the heat. His opponent was Brendan
After backing up the burnout the tires are cleaned
and Tom Shelar brings Bellemeur up to the first staging beam.
Once again Bellemeur
cut the better light and had the lead from the hit.
With Murry a non-factor Bellemeur went right down
the groove for the win improving his career best ET in the process
- 5.819 at 252.80. There was some engine damage at the top end
but nothing that couldn't be fixed.
The crew reacted accordingly.
The car gets towed from
the turn-off road toward the scales. After every qualifying run
and round win the car must be weighed to ensure it is legal per
After leaving the scales
the car was rushed back to the pits where a complete tear down
began to fix the damaged engine. This is where teamwork really
came into play.
Mike Bastian his hard
at work getting the clutch out while the left head is ready to
Bellemeur gets the new
clutch discs ready to install.
After pulling the left
head off it was obvious what the problem was. The # 1 exhaust
valve had made contact with the piston and bent open. This started
a chain of events that included a banged blower and several other
pistons getting burned.
Troy Green gets a new
blower ready to replace the one that was damage in the previous
Eight new pistons go
in like clockwork.
With the top end of the engine back on Bellemeur
installs a new clutch assembly.
Fast forward 55 minutes from when the car was pulled
into the pit after round two. Everything is back together and
lunch is being served.
Goodguys John Drummond gets announcer info from Sean.
Sunday - Semi-Finals
The semi match-up had the makings of a dandy. Two
best fiends, two great drivers in two great cars. Once again
Sean Bellemeur v. Adam Sorokin. In round two Bellemeur carded
a career best 5.819 while Sorokin was in the 70's again with
a 5.798 so he had lane choice.
Both cars move toward
moves into the staging beams.
Sorokin put 4 hundredths
on Bellemeur off the line.
But that was short lived
as his tires immediately erupted in smoke.
Sorokin hopelessly mired in tire smoke Bellemeur went on to a
nice 5.880 at 242.45 which meant White would have lane choice
in the final.
Bellemeur chatted with
the track crew at the turn out while the crew acknowledged the
Top Fuel Final
The final pitted two
cars that deserved to be there. Rick White had been the most
consistent TF car in the pits all weekend and Sean Bellemeur
had to race for every round win. On the drama side, this round
meant everything to Bellemeur and the High Speed Motorsports
team. A win here would have given them the event crown and the
2006 Goodguys/VRA World Championship by 13 points. By virtue
of his 10 point bonus for top speed, Brett Harris had a 3 point
lead when the final pair fired up.
The photo speaks for
itself. Incredibly Bellemeur suffered the same fate as Sorokin
the round before. Just like that the Championship and the Finals
Top Fuel title were up in smoke - literally.
The shocked crew headed
to pick up Sean.