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2012 Northwest Thunderfest

Breakage Put HSMS Out Early

 

 

Spokane, Wash. (June 23, 2012) – Following their annual open house appearance at sponsor SilverThin Precision Bearings, the High Speed Motorsports team headed east to Spokane, WA to compete in the inaugural NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series event at Spokane Raceway.

Beginning on Thursday when the track was open for test runs, the weather was a mixed bag to say the least. The sun was out for the test sessions and all was well. Friday came and the sun had exited stage left and the skies were permeated with clouds. Rain halted racing before the end of the first Top Fuel qualifying session leaving three cars out of the show.

Saturday was cloudy but dry and it was decided that the cars that didn't get to run on Friday would qualify at noon however, the cars that did get to run on Friday was allowed another qualifying pass. Not a popular decision with the cars that only got the one shot.

With only nine cars that still meant one was not going to make the show and that was Mendy Fry in Mike Fuller's car. After two sessions the HSMS car with Bill Dunlap in the seat sat #4 with a high-altitude 5.96 and was paired with the NoCal car of Rick Williamson.

To make a long story short, what was shaping up as a great weekend ended abruptly when a minor parts failure caused major engine damage on the starting line of round one. Nonetheless, some good data was gathered from the previous runs and that will prove useful in races to come. Here are some shots from the weekend. Enjoy.

 

 

The whole gang got together for dinner on Wednesday night at the hotel. From left to right: Rick Shelar, Pete Palombo, Tom Shelar, Rick McGee, Darrell Tedford, Don Ewald, Chris Hedge, Kristen Marsh , Bill Dunlap, Sean Bellemeur, Amelia Singh, Maria and Walt Stevens. Arlene Eliason was behind the camera.

 

 

Arriving on Thursday morning we found the Spokane facility to be very nice with plenty of paved pit area. The Top Fuel cars were given their own row that allowed teams a huge piece of real estate to set up on.

 

 

One of the first things on driver Bill Dunlap's mind was checking out the shutdown area. The track is plenty long with a decent "sand box" in case of a chute or brake failure.

 

 

 

 

 

For those who have not been to the updated Spokane Raceway here are some shots taken before the racing began. Having been to hundreds of drag strips over the last 50 years I can say that fan seating doesn't get any better than this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sean and Tom warming the engine up for a test run.

 

 

 

 

 

Test Session One - Thursday

 

Under sunny skies Dunlap made his first burnout of the weekend.

 

 

 

 

As always, Walt Stevens guided Dunlap back in his tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Shelar made the final tweaks to the fuel system.

 

This was a designated 1/2 track test. The early numbers were good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1/2 track squirt, 7.076 at 126.58 mph

 

 

 

 

 

Test Session Two - Thursday

 

Running on no set schedule Dunlap leisurely suited up at the head of staging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second test was set for 3/4 track.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dunlap netted a 6.126 at just 201.74 (4.01 at 195 at 1/2 track). All was good.

 

 

 

Kristen and Arlene made sure nobody went hungry.(Maria Stevens checks out how Kristen Marsh (a real Chef by trade) tunes up hospitality for the weekend and also gives Arlene a big break).


 

 

 

 

Qualifying Session One - Friday

 

Getting ready for session one. Unlike Thursday, Friday was much cooler and overcast.

 

 

Rick, Rick, Bill and Chris heading to the staging lanes.

 

Sean is the designated pit pilot.

 

 

 

There were only a few folks in the stands and the threat of rain had a lot to do with that.

 

Arlene getting focused in.

 

Dunlap heating the tires for the first of two scheduled qualifying sessions.

 

 

 

In the other lane was Tony Bartone who hails from New Jersey.

 

 

 

The car left hard.

 

 

 

 

 

Running on all 8 the car motored on down the track to a nice 5.96 at 244.89.

 

 

The crew liked that one. Shortly after this the rains came halting the program and cutting qualifying short.

 

Spokane Page 2

 

 

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