High Speed Motorsports
Wins 4th Straight National Hot Rod Reunion
- June 15-17, 2007: Troy Green drives to his first major Top
Fuel win and the teams 4th consecutive title at the 5th annual
NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion. The HSMS/Silverthin Bearings Top
Fuel Dragster got some racing luck to make the finals and defeat
Kevin Lennon of Salem, Wisconsin.
But as the Beatles sang, it was "A long and winding road"
to the winners circle. From their first pass on Friday to the
final on Sunday the event supplied the team more drama, puzzlement,
curves and work - lots of work - than they care to see again
any time soon. It was a weekend best reported in photos and text
so here we go....
Early Friday morning
the awning goes up and the car comes out.
It may look laid back
in the High Speed pit but there was much to be done that couldn't
get completed before the car left California on Tuesday.
Gorman Green preparing
a new set of tires.
Donovan Eng. pulled
a rabbit out of the hat and got the team a new block in time
to make it to Columbus.
Roger McMartin assembled the spare short block.
Troy Green calmly running the valves.
The rest of the crew
spent the morning finishing the things that didn't get done in
California and double checking every inch of the car.
One hour before the qualifying session they warmed
Qualifying Session - Friday
For the first session it was Troy Green and Brendan
Murry. Green starts his burnout.
Walt Stevens backs Green up while Roger McMartin
checks over the engine.
Both cars are staged and caught in these two shots
an instant before the green.
By the 100' mark Green realized the car was coming
up too fast and he shut it off. The run was virtually wasted.
After the run Brett Johansen and Robert Fontes measuring
the discs to determine clutch wear.
As it is at most big
drag racing events, the Saturday crowd is the tale of the tape
and as these photos attest, the fans came to Columbus in droves.
SRO all day.
HSMS Hospitality is
in the capable hands of Arlene Eliason ... and she also climbed
on the roof of the trailer to take photos. These shots illustrate
that the pits were as full as the stands.
After the aborted run
in session one the team was out of laid back mode and looking
forward the the two sessions on Saturday.
But there's always time
to visit, especially with old friends. Here NHRA Top Fuel star,
Larry Dixon Jr. stopped by with his third son, Darien to see
the gang. Here Dixon chats with Brett Johansen and Danny Porche.
Tom Shelar and his (grand-nephew)
Dakota fuel the car prior to the engine was warmed up prior to
the first session of two on Saturday. Rick Bucher (son of the
late Jim Bucher who is the only TF driver to win a NHRA national
event - 1973 - with a Chevy engine), Rick's daughter Shannon
and son Anthony are over by the clutch station.
With the car buttoned
up the team heads to the staging lanes.
Session - Saturday
Ready to fire up.
Optimistic that the
car will stay on all fours this pass, Green heats the tires.
Walt Stevens backs Green
up from the burnout.
Any optimism Green had
was gone at the hit when the car once again yanked the front
end before he moved 5 feet.
Once again a run is
aborted and Troy coasted down the track. One shot left.
Following a second failed
run the team regrouped for their final attempt.
Once again the engine
was warmed up after being serviced. No visible problem causing
the wheelstands was found.
Qualifying Session - Saturday
Green starts his burnout
with the resolve that he was going to do everything in his power
to get the car to the other end and in the show.
You can't see it clearly but the front wheels are
already starting to lift off the track... it was wheelstand,
Almost instantly the front wheels started to come
up into a wheelstand which was very uncharacteristic for this
Green was frustrated
at this point and stayed with it for about as long as he dared
to. He realized that if it just fell to earth their weekend was
over so he waited for the front end to snap and then he rolled
back into it. Most who saw it would say it was the best save
they have ever seen. With the front wheels as high as six feet
in the air, Troy finally set the car down nearly 500 feet down
track and managed to clock a 6.453 at 208.91 which put him in
the #5 spot for eliminations.
These four shots, pulled
from video, give some idea of how high the car was on the pass.
The crew acknowledged
the screaming crowd who really enjoyed Green's aerial act but
behind the smiles were concern as dragsters aren't suppose to
fly and they had to fix that or go home early on Sunday.
*Following this run the
problem that was causing the car to wheelstand was found and
fixed. This left Johansen to find a tune-up for 1st round as
they had been chasing the clutch issue by changing other factors.
At this point they had no baseline to tune by.
- Round One - Sunday
At 8:30 am Sunday, Troy found
a cracked upright next to the fuel tank. The car was stripped
and walked over to the trailer of Frank/Scott Parks for repair.
Further inspection found an identical crack in the opposite upright.
This wasn't the way they wanted to start the day. Both were graciously
repaired by Scott Parks. Car repaired and back in the pit by
9:00am, re-assembled and warmed by 10:00am for the 11:00 first
First round Sunday morning was
in every way an omen of how Top Fuel eliminations would play
out by that day. The first pair was Ernie McClain and Brendan
Murry which Murry won without a hitch. The second pair out was
# 1 qualifier Adam Sorokin and the # 6 car of Kevin Lennon. After
their burnouts the cars went to stage and the Christmas tree
(starting line lights) malfunctioned and both cars were shut
The National Trail Raceway
crew with the help of John and Blake Bowser (Famoso Raceway managers)
tried to find and fix the problem.
The Sorokin/Lennon cars
were pushed back and since the Lennon car from Salem, WI. had
an iron block and heads they needed at least an hour to cool
down. That meant when the clocks were fixed the next pair would
be Troy Green in the HSMS car and Howard Haight in Butch Blair's
Troy Green has some
water and ponders the situation.
After nearly an hour
wait the clocks appeared to be operating correctly and the drivers
were asked to get back into their cars and race.
Tom Shelar was more than happy to finally get things
Finally, Green did his
burnout for his race with Howard Haight.
Walt Stevens backs Green
up from his burnout as Roger McMartin eyes the engine.
Brett Johansen makes
final adjustments to the fuel system.
Both cars entered the
beams and everything seemed fine. When the starter hit the button,
for some reason that nobody ever figured out, the RED light came
on in Troy's lane at the same time as the green. It went out
when the count down amber went out. This registered to Haight
that Troy had left early, when in fact he had not ... it was
just another clock malfunction.
With the clutch set a little soft in the High Speed
car Haight grabbed an early lead with Green (all four paws on
the ground) in close pursuit.
Haight was still in
front of Green and thinking that Troy had red lit, he decided
to shut it off before 1000' ft mark. Green then passed him getting
the win light - which, if he would have red lit, never could
happen. The question was then raised, how could Haight leave
first and still see a red light for Green? The whole thing was
a mess but Green was awarded the win with a 6.227 at 227.77 over Haight's shut off
6.713 at 165.86.
and car owner Butch Blair protested the whole fiasco and were
ultimately reinstated and advanced to round two.
- Round Two
Just when everyone thought
that things couldn't get any weirder or uglier, they did.
For the semis Green
was paired with California based Brendan Murry.
The teams backup routine
Green left first but
Murry was right on his tail.
Green held the lead until the 900' mark when they
burned # 4 Piston and some piston ring material got under the
# 4 intake valve causing a backfire in the manifold. That kicked
the burst panel out and lifted the blower off the mounting studs.
A small flash was seen but it was nothing they haven't done before.
In the other lane Murry motored passed the dead-in-the-water
High Speed car before the lights but right in the lights all
hell broke loose.
Just as he hit the ET light for the win Murry's engine
broke an intake valve which ignited the high volume of nitro
in the intake manifold which literally blew it into small pieces
and igniting as bad a fire as anyone has ever seen in a NTF car...
maybe one of the worst ever in any car. The explosion vibrated
the timing tower over 1400' away. Murry was in big trouble.
As can be seen from this shots pulled from a video
by Frank Kunlel, the fire quickly engulfed the entire car from
the engine back.
All Murry could do was hold his breath, hit the fire
bottle (which was virtually no help), pull the chutes (which
burned off) and grab the brakes and hope he didn't hit Green
or the guardwall.
In hind sight it was fortunate that Green had no
power from the 900' mark on because as soon as he saw that Brendan
was in trouble he pulled both chutes and got all over the brakes
keeping him well out of Murry's way. Very heads up move. Then
all he had to do was dodge pieces of Murry's blower maniford
- and there were many.
At this point Murry is driving blind and into the
left lane. With no chutes and the brakes going away he just tried
to keep the car on the track. He had a brief moment of vision
and saw the sand trap. The safety crew eventually got him out
and with some persuasion from Don Irvin, Murry got in the ambulance
and off to the hospital. Although he didn't think he was hurt
that bad (shock) Murry sustained 2nd degree burns to his forehead
and hands. He would stay in the hospital burn ward for three
days before returning home where he is expected to fully recover
after some skin grafts on his hand. The car was is really bad
shape but they feel it can be fixed and ready for the Seattle
race in August.
With Murry unable to
return, the High Speed car was reinstated on the break rule.
Be that as it may, they still had to have a car to come back
with. The blower manifold and cylinder heads were severely damaged
from the backfire in the manifold so it needed some serious maintenance.
With the help of others like most, if not all, of the RB Entertainment
crew and Bruce Dyda the team pulled out their old Cragar manifold
and a spare set of heads they keep in the trailer just for this
reason and made the call for the final.
Green waiting to warm
up the engine.
Towing up for the final.
Top Fuel Final
Green, looking for his
first major win, was hoping the teams racing luck would hold
for one more run. He was facing Kevin Lennon of Salem, WI. who
had not run better than 7.48 all weekend. However, like Green
his racing luck had been in spades all day when # 1 qualifier,
Adam Sorokin smoked the tires against him in round one and Howard
Haight crossed the center line in their second round match up.
Both cars back up together
from the burnouts.
Tires cleaned, Johansen
signals Green to move into the staging lights.
Green left first and
pulled away early.
As they say, it wasn't
pretty but Green's 6.408 at just 190.65 was good enough to top
Lennon's 7.285 at 188.65. Actually it was on a good run , probably
their best of the weekend , but Troy knew he had the other car
covered and decided to click it off around 1100 feet. The record
books will forever show that Troy Green in the High Speed Motorsports
car won the 5th National Hot Rod Reunion and their unprecedented
4th in a row (they were runner-up at the inaugural NHRR). Like
Crew Chief Brett Johansen said, "This was one of those its
better to be lucky than good deals".
It's good to win!
A very satisfying moment for High Speed Motorsports
CEO Dale Singh celebrating the teams 4th straight NHRR win and
driver, Troy Green celebrating his first major win and his first
in the HSMS car.
Troy and "The Girls" after the wild win.
Troy's mom, Karen, Amelia Singh, Troy's wife, Lara, Dani Fry
who is Mendy Fry's sister, Shannon Bucher, Arlene Eliason, and
Carol Dobson, Tom Shelar's sister.
No shortage of team,
family and friends for this Winners Circle shot.
As a show of solidarity,
sportsmanship and friendship, the High Speed team donned Brendan
Murry T-shirts and shared the Winners Circle with his crew after
Murry had a horrible explosion and crash in his semi-final win
over Green who also blew a supercharger. Green got back in on
the break rule and won the event. Brendan was released from the
hospital the following Wednesday and is now recuperating at home
Walt Stevens --- HSMS Good Will Ambassador --- Dale
Singh CEO/ CFO --- Troy Green, Driver --- Amelia Singh and Tom
Shelar COO/ Team Manager.
2007 NHRR Video Clips