High Speed Motorsports


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2010 March Meet 

New Team Goes 2 Rounds
Weekend Deemed a Success



Bakersfield, CA - March 01-04, 2012:

The 54th edition of the fabled March Meet truly offered a mixed bag of weather and racing. The temps on Thursday (50's) morphed into the mid 80's by Sunday. This made for some tough tuning decisions and a couple of nasty crashes. Saturday offered perfect weather with a full day of racing to a record crowd. Gas prices be damned, the crowds everyday were the best ever. Just what the Bowser's needed.

For the HSMS it was a new chapter in the teams history. In addition to a new driver, veteran Bill Dunlap, the team has several new faces replacing those who went their own way after the 2011 season. With the first race of the 2012 season under their belts, the entire team is praising the re-organization declaring "we are having allot of fun racing again."

Acting as the test bed for the next generation billet block (Donovan/Shelar - 417) the team was "sneaking up" on an optimum tune-up for 2012 and made great strides over the weekend.

Off to a good start at the 54th March Meet, the next stop for "great white" will be at the Spokane County Raceway in Washington the weekend of June 21-24.

The team has had great success in the past going on the road to new venues like Bowling Green where the team racked up 8 Top Fuel Eliminator wins in 10 trips.

"We are excited at the opportunity to go to Spokane and support Cindy Gibbs and the Hot Rod Heritage Series . We've never been to the Spokane track but that's true for the rest of the TF teams so it should bode well for us if our history at new tracks continues as it has in the past." (Crew Chief / Team Manager- Tom Shelar).

CEO Dale Singh, "Without the renewal of a multi-year Corporate Sponsorship with SilverThin we would not be able to race on the level we are. Our sincere thanks go out to SilverThin's Kent Ross."

Singh added,"We as a team would like to thank Tom Shelar for the leadership he has shown as Team Manager and Crew Chief. Tom has enormous wealth of knowledge, and we stand behind him with all of our encouragement,and look forward to his leadership skills. Great job Tom."

Without further ado, since there were no 2011 race reports, HSMS offers this extended report of the MM to get everyone up to date with the 2012 team. Lot's of non-racing photos.



For the first time the March Meet was extended to four days to allow pro testing on Thursday plus class qualifying for the other classes. Although they were set up by Wednesday they waited for the first qualifying session on Friday afternoon to make their first run. In the mean time there was lots of time to prep the car and visit with friends and fans on Thursday.


Displayed proudly in the HSMS pit were the first 3 Donovan/Shelar 417 blocks. Block 1 was in the car, block #2 on the engine stand and block #3 in the trailer. Donovan is in the process of filling the first public orders for the new block. Since the Rodek 417 is no longer in production this is the engine of the future.





Block designer Tom Shelar spent a lot of time giving the particulars and advantages of the new block. Here Larry Dixon Jr. and Don Ewald get the lowdown on the this beauty. Below Walt Sevens goes over it with Larry Dixon Sr.


Walt with the Dixon's who were co-Grand marshals.


Tom and brother Rick work on their rocker assembly.


Sean Bellemeur getting the engine ready for their first warm-up.


Chris Hedge is doing the clutch and brother Frankie is doing the bottom end.



Pete Palumbo and driver, Bill Dunlap fuelin' her up.


Warm-up prior to the first qualifying session.



Oil gets changed by Car Chief Rick Shelar after warm-up.




Chris Hedge helping Dunlap pack his chutes.





Qualifying Session One - Friday


It's showtime, Dunlap climbs in.


The team gathers around the car to give their traditional "get 'um" yell.


On a cold Friday afternoon the guys wait for the signal to fire up


The signal came and Rick ran the starter as Tom pulled the wire from the coil that lites the car. Chris keeping a safe distance on the left.


Chris is closing the coil as Rick takes the starter back to the truck.



Tom Shelar guides Dunlap up to the water box.


Dunlap made the burnout and all seemed fine.



During the burn out an exhaust guide tightened up and the intake valve clipped it so the exhaust valve was not sealing causing it to have a dead hole. When it got back to Tom he leaned the system down with no luck. So with a dead hole he shut it off.

Afterwards people made comments to Shelar like Dunlap, "Thanks for shutting it off." And Austin Coil who said Tom was smarter than he looked stating, "I will never send a car on a run when I know there is a problem" . If it had been during eliminations Shelar would have had Bill stage and shut off after the green, or idle down if the other guy red lights. Simply the situation was too dangerous and costly to be that stupid enough to make the run.


Back in the pits, after finding the problem, Tom got down to fixing the O ring on the left cylinder head.



Bellemeur and crew set about getting the engine ready for the second session in the afternoon.






Qualifying Session Two - Friday PM


For the second session Dunlap was paired with Adam Sorokin.

























Dunlap was doing fine until the car started to slide left crossing the center line and killing a couple of timing blocks. You can see Bill was trying to bring it back but the rear end world not hear of it.











Another View







Tom reassures Bill that there's no problem, we'll get it fixed, and get down the track tomorrow.


Not much damage for taking out several blocks at 180 mph.



Ex High Speed driver Sean Bellemeur gets the seat for the tow back to the pits.





Qualifying Session Three - Saturday


After fixing the wing and servicing the car the team was ready for the third and last qualifying session.



On a absolutely beautiful Saturday morning "the backup guy" Walt Stevens relaxes before the car fires up.


Fourth pair pitted Bill Dunlap and Mendy Fry. With only 14 cars this was a test of two new combinations but Bill still had to get from A to B without crossing the line again.





Shelar made his final adjustments before sending Dunlap to the line.



The car left good.









Both drivers shut off early. Dunlap (because of a 3 pinched rings) to a 5.903 at only 212.86. Before round one Shelar enriched the 3 cylinders and the problem was gone.








Shelar who always ride the scooter ahead of the truck was OK with that.


The crew was all smiles, they were in the show at #9, not bad for the first full pass in complete.






The team took advantage of the return road in front of the stand to show off their sponsors and to let the fans have a close look at the car.



MM Page 2


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