Bellemeur Goes to
the Semi Finals - Runs 5.849 at 254.57
Friday - 1st
9th Pomona Nitro Nationals was everything the ill-fated March
Meet wasn't. Mother Nature gave three days of ideal racing temps
and Sean Bellemeur and the High Speed Motorsports team took full
advantage of it. The track would take everything you could throw
at it and Bellemeur and crew threw a lot. Sean qualified # 3
with a 5.894 at 254.57 MPH (new personal best) and advanced to
the semi finals before falling victim to mid-track tire smoke.
The team ran in the five second zone 5 of 6 runs and carded speeds
over 250 twice. Without question, the HSMS car is one of the
top 5 in the country and will be a major contender for the VRA
Top Fuel World Championship.
and full story below.
To set up the HSMS team's first
qualifying attempt you need some background. Sean Bellemeur and
Adam Sorokin are two of the "young lions" in Top Fuel.
Several weeks ago they came up with a tried and true (ala Snake-Mongoose)
rivalry promotion. After ink on the Web, SoCal newspaper articles
and LA Television interviews, the Goodguys ran with it and arranged
for a two-out-of-three match race to coincide with the three
qualifying sessions. Here High Speed Motorsports crew member
and ex-Top Fuel driver, Walt Stevens touts one of the many fliers
promoting the "rivalry".
Sean Bellemeur and Adam
Sorokin - obviously fierce enemies.
Sean Bellemeur in the High Speed
Motorsports/Plaza Hotel entry and Adam Sorokin in the RB Entertainment/Champion
Speed Shop fueler.
To enhance the show
both cars backed up from their burnout together.
This was the first round of a
two out of three match race between the 'Next Generation' in
drag racing. The pair decided they wanted to race for bragging
rights and the first hit (and hole shot) went to Sorokin.
You can't see it clearly but
at this point both cars are having serious tire problems. See
This was a classic
drag race. At the lights the MOV was .003 and neither driver
knew who won. It was Sorokin with a stellar 5.958 @ 250.83 and
Bellemeur with a quicker 5.953 @ 242.76.
I have already talked about a rematch... stay tuned. It was a
lot of fun going out there and having to race for than just the
ET in qualifying. One thing I love about drag racing is knowing
that you have to kick it up a notch when against a team like
Adam, Bobby, and the RB team. The pair of 5.95's we threw on
the board 1st qualifying run was awesome. Adam smoked me on the
tree and he got the nod. They said the margin of victory was
.003 or about 5 inches.. man that was fun... just like my dad
used to talk about when he'd match race guys... that was a special
weekend and to be beside Adam on his first 250 trip down the
1/4... it was an honor to be next to him. Thanks for the great
Brett Johansen and Walt Stevens
examine the very badly chunked tires off of the High Speed Motorsports
According to Stevens, "Apparently
a couple of the 12-inch M&H Nostalgia Spec Racing slicks
used on two nitro dragsters chunked at over 250 mph on their
first pass, and there were five cars in the field over the 250
mark. Figures it must be quite a different perspective for a
Top Fuel driver piloting a front-engine dragster to be dodging
rubber while sitting between a spinning pair of slicks at speed.
These are the tires off the Plaza
Hotel top fuel car, 2nd run on them. It looks like it all started
in the burn out. If you look at the video
you can see hot spots on the tire. Just before the first round
with Adam and Sean on Friday Sean said he chick it at 1000 feet,
The car was shaking and did not know if the engine was starting
to come apart." See photos below.
Between qualifying sessions Brett
Johansen mounted new tires and Tom Shelar prepared a spare cylinder
Friday - 2nd
As always, Walt Stevens
backs Bellemeur back from his burnout.
Final adjustments made
to both cars.
The final pair in session two
was also the second round of the Sean Bellemeur vs Adam Sorokin
This time the starting
line advantage went to Bellemeur.
Bellemeur rallied a great leave
into a very impressive 5.849 @ 254.57 which covered Sorokin's
game 6.002 @ 237.55. That made it one round apiece.
Typical pit scene between
Saturday - 3rd
Next to last
pair in session three featured Sean Bellemeur and Adam Sorokin
for the rubber match of their "Punchout in Pomona".
Both teams were geared up for
this one - bragging rights you know. Here the crew cleans the
tires as Crew Chief Brett Johansen makes his final tweaks to
Sorokin cut a nice .050 light
but it was second to Bellemeur's very nice .036. By 330 feet
Bellemeur had built a little bit more of a lead and Sorokin began
to have his hands full of race car.
Top Fuel Qualifying
By the 600' mark Sorokin was
so close to the wall there was a cloud of dust as he skimmed
along side it. He literally fought it for about 600 feet before
finally lifting shortly after this shot. Note: injectors still
wide open and the car is so close to the wall paint chips are
flying off it. He REALLY wanted to beat Bellemeur. But discretion
was the better part of valor and he finally lifted...before taking
off any shiny stuff. Bellemeur won with a 5.964 at 241.80 and
has bragging rights until the next match up... maybe at Seattle.
1. Brett Harris
- 5.828 @ 260.26
2. Brad Thompson - 5.841 @ 248.80
3. Sean Bellemeur - 5.849 @ 254.57
4. Jason Richey - 5.881 @ 259.16
5. Denver Schutz - 5.914 @ 244.16
6. Jim Murphy - 5.917 @ 249.30
7. Mendy Fry - 5.919 @ 243.99
8. Adam Sorokin - 5.958 250.83
Cox - 5.980 @ 240.38
10. Rick McGee - 5.982 @ 248.02
11. Pete Kaiser - 6.013 @ 250.97
12. Rick White - 6.040 242.54
13. Brendan Murry - 6.054 @ 240.29
14. Bill Dunlap - 6.176 @ 230.88
15. Shannon Stewart - 6.180 @ 213.30
16. Rick Rogers - 6.464 @ 229.86
Top Fuel Round One - Saturday
In round one of eliminations
Bellemeur was paired with Bill Dunlap.
Both cars left together and this
was an even race until about half track. At that point Dunlap's
engine started eating pistons and he was forced to lift. Bellemeur
moved on with a sterling 5.897 at 252.95.
Everybody doing their
job between rounds.
- ROUND TWO OF ELIMINATIONS
11:00 am. Another perfect day
for racing and Sean Bellemeur in the High Speed Motorsports car
was was in the third pair out. He was paired with a tough customer,
four time World Champion, Jim Murphy.
As the High Speed Motorsports
crew readied Bellemeur for staging a dejected WW2 Racing team
had were pushing Murphy back to the pits.
To quote Murphy, "I just
found my 578th way to lose a race." Blaming only himself,
the car did not get re-fueled between rounds. It was a first
in his nearly 40 years of racing.
Bellemeur took advantage of the
single with a 5.905 at 240.81 and would move on to the semi-finals.
After the burnout the crew goes
through its normal routine prior to Sean staging.
The calm before the storm. The
High Speed Motorsports car sits in the staging lanes with its
next opponent, the orange car of Brad Thompson.
As he usually does with anyone
he races, Bellemeur put a .04 holeshot on Thompson at the hit
and the orange car was playing big time catch-up.
To every ones surprise Bellemeur's
car struck the tires about the 330' mark. Try as he did, Sean
couldn't get the car to hook back up but even if he had its really
doubtful he could have caught Thompson's 5.883 250.13.
In spite of the loss, the entire HSMS team felt they
had a great weekend and learned more about the car for future
Bellemeur Tops Sorokin
in Pomona Shootout
See all six HSMS runs
on video! Pomona
No one could have guessed that
the match racing battle between Adam Sorokin and Sean Bellemeur
could create such great racing. At the Goodguys Pomona Nitro
Nationals, the two squared off in a best 2 of 3-match race during
Top Fuel qualifying. The first race saw one of the closest races
in recent memory for Nostalgia Top Fuel cars. Sorokin took a
slight starting line advantage and used that to steal one away
from Bellemeur and the HighSpeed Motorsports team. Adam's 5.958
ousted Sean's 5.953. Margin of victory was .003 seconds or about
5 inches. That pass was a landmark run for Sorokin as he piloted
the Bob McLennan/Champion Speed Shop tuned, Bryan Van Dyke owned
Top Fueler to his first ever 250 mile per hour run; something
only a handful of drivers have done. Nonetheless it was Team
Van Dyke/ Sorokin 1 and HighSpeed/ Bellemeur 0.
With fan and racer interest growing,
the two squared off again for the second qualifying run and round
two of the match race. There was much anticipation as these two
were separated by a mere 5 inches the run prior. As the sun set
over the historic Pomona Raceway, the two young guns of Nostalgia
Top Fuel took center stage. Both cars were thundering, both teams
had one goal
WIN! Sorokin could lock up the match race
with a victory, Bellemeur knew he had to win to stay alive and
force a third race. When the lights dropped they were off faster
than before but this time Bellemeur had the advantage. Both cars
were streaking down the track almost in harmonious fashion. Then
trouble! Sorokin had an engine failure and fell back while Bellemeur
ran away with his career best numbers. 5.84 seconds at 254 mph
and more importantly a win light. Now the focus is back on Sorokin.
As he is trying to get his machine stopped, he feels a couple
blasts of heat, and he can see some flames licking around the
cowling of the dragster. He knows that the engine is hurt. Adam
did a great job of getting the car stopped and avoiding further
damage. One of the challenges of driving these 3000 horsepower,
nitro-breathing machines is dealing with the elements that come
with them. Fire is one of them and fortunately this time wasn't
a serious incident.
The stage was set perfectly for
the third and final race between Adam and Sean. Both cars proved
to have HUGE horsepower. The drivers showed their talents and
the teams were prepared. Both drivers and teams had received
incredible amounts of media and fan attention going into the
last round. As the last pair in qualifying, they lined up for
the final time and took to the race track. As the lights turned
green both drivers were presented with struggles that had not
surfaced until this run. For Bellemeur, tire shake proved that
the car was gonna be a little sketchy out of the gate, but everything
was well in the end. For Sorokin, the car wanted to go anywhere
but straight. It was like the retaining wall was a magnet to
Adam's car and it kept pulling him closer and closer until finally
he made a split second decision to abort the run as it probably
saved him from disaster. The end result was Sean taking the win
with a 5.96 second run and a 2 to 1 victory in the match race,
but a less experienced driver than Adam may have crashed his
Both Adam and Sean have vowed
for a rematch. With an overwhelming amount of support from fellow
racers, fans, and even legends of the sport, it's events like
these that prove what this great sport is all about. Both AdamSorokin
and Sean Bellemeur have been fortunate enough to be involved
with great teams, and their off track friendship make this rivalry
even more intriguing. When will we see these two squaring off
again? Stay tuned because the next showdown is coming!