CA - 10/24/12: The 21st edition of the California Hot Rod Reunion
disappointed no one. It lived up to its rock star billing and
then some. The weekend featured Chamber of Commerce weather and
a race track second to none. There was no doubt that Auto Club
Famoso Raceway operators Blake and John Bowser had their facility
ready for what was the largest CHRR ever. The smooth as glass
concrete quarter mile yielded incredible times in both Top Fuel
and Funny Car.
As for the High
Speed Motorsports team the weekend was a mixed bag of good and
bad. Sneaking up on a 5.7 tune-up, Tom Shelar and Sean Bellemeur
had the car running like a clock during qualifying and had high
hopes of going some rounds in eliminations. Once again, bad luck
struck again. A mistake was made that costs them a round one
win ... a mistake that won't happen again. 2013 will see more
oversight of the engine and car prior to any appearance on a
All that aside,
here is the teams weekend in photos, enjoy.
Unlike the March Meet, the CHRR
is only three days and offers only two qualifying sessions. Thus
no one could afford to throw away a run. With only 14 cars in
the top fuel pits everyone would make the show but the serious
ones wanted to get dialed in quick and be on the top half of
the ladder. So, there was a lot of careful prep time in the HSMS
pit before the first session.
With Team Manager and tuner Tom
Shelar not due back in states until Saturday, the engine duties
were left to Sean Bellemeur and Rick Shelar. They were already
into in on Thursday.
A warm up to make sure there
we no obvious mechanical issues. Driver Bill Dunlap in the seat.
Rick checking the timing.
All was good.
Warm-up prior to the
first qualifying session on Friday.
With heat in the engine,
more nitro was added for the first qualifying session.
One - Friday
Ready to head to the
What, me worry?
Maria Stevens and Amelia
Singh in their spots.
The new guy, Darrell Reid, of
Reid Machine. He does the top end right side. Brings lots of
valve train expertise to the team.
Rick McGee and Sean
Fast forward 15 minutes and it
was showtime. Dunlap was paired with Jim Murphy. Both did their
Walt Stevens backing
Dunlap up in his tracks.
Both cars had decent
leaves with Murphy being the quickest to the 60' mark.
Murphy made a great baseline
pass of 5.792 at 226.01. Dunlap clicked it early, as planned,
to a 6.134 at 200.08. Sean had done his job which would give
Shelar data to tune for the second session.
Two - Saturday
Tom was back from vacation
and ready for some action.
Tom Shelar guides Dunlap
up to the water box.
For the second and final
session Dunlap was paired with Tony Bartone.
Both cars had solid early
Bartone stopped the clocks with
a 5.857 at 251.53 while Dunlap improved with a 5.968 at 237.59.
After doing basic maintenance
on the engine, the car was readied for round one of eliminations.
See no evil, hear no
evil, speak no evil.
Top Fuel Eliminations
- Round 1
With everything looking
good, it was time to race.
Dueling cameras... Don
Ewald and Arlene Eliason
Ironically Dunlap's first round
opponent was the guy he just ran against, Tony Bartone. Here
the two wish the other a safe race.
Dunlap drilled Bartone on the
tree and proceeded to pull away from the east coast invader.
Still a car length ahead at the
330' mark Dunlap was all smiles until his head hit the dash board.
The car, arguably on one of its best runs ever, tossed a rod
just before half track and all Bill could do is watch Bartone
motor on by.
Bartone took the win
with a 5.861 at a huge 264.39 mph.
And so ended the 2012 season.
It was a shame to lose due to human error but mistakes happen
and only bring light to areas that need to be double, triple
checked. Shelar feels he has a tune up that he can really work
with and is looking forward to proving it at the 2013 March Meet.
HSMS would like to give their
heartfelt thanks to all their sponsors... those who make this
possible. Thanks to all the fans who have made this year special.
And thanks to the guys who serve as our volunteer crew. See everyone