CA - March 10, 2014:
The 56th edition
of the fabled March Meet offered a mixed bag of weather - but
no rain and that made for a lot of passes down the quarter mile.
With a full complement of race cars and a sell out fan base on
Saturday, it can be said that the Bowser family and the Famoso
track crew hit another home run.
Unlike the California
Hot Rod Reunion in October which is a gathering that includes
a race, the March Meet is a hard core drag race... arguably the
most prestigious race of the year. Like the other 15 top fuel
teams that would vie for the crown, the High Speed Motorsports
crew went in with high hopes.
By Sunday there
were several ups and downs but the end result was a good outing
with the guys chomping at the bit to race again. Here is a photo
journal of the weekend.
Thursday found the team all set
up with no where to go. It was basically tinkering with the car,
waiting on parts to arrive from LA.
Bill Dunlap and Tom Shelar - HSMS C.O.O & Team Manager.
Team Leader and clutch
specialist, Sean Bellemeur.
Rick Shelar and Frank Hedge.
The old guys - Walt Stevens,
Pete Palumbo and Don Ewald
Friday found a faster pace. The
fact that some new parts were late in arriving put the guys behind
the 8-ball, missing the first qualifying session.
With everything buttoned
up, it was time to fire the engine.
Yellow nitro fumes fill
up under the awning.
Friday - 2nd Qualifying Session
After missing the first session,
Bill Dunlap in the High Speed Motorsports "Great White"
was out for his first shot at the track along with Rick Williamson.
The game plan was to make a half
track run then do a tear down to see what things looked like.
As planned, Dunlap carded
a 6.277 tune-up run.
Hey, its in one piece!
Back to the pit.
Working into the night
to be ready for the final session on Saturday.
Saturday - Qualifying Session
Paired with Dunlap for
the final session was eventual runner-up Rick White.
Tom Shelar and Sean Bellemeur
made their final adjustments to the engine.
White's 5.94 at 233 did
not improve his #2 spot while Dunlap ended up #13.
Saturday - Round 1
In the first round of
eliminations Dunlap was paired with good friend, Rick McGee.
McGee grabbed a slight
lead with Dunlap right on his tail.
Dunlap had McGee by a car length
at the 1/8 mile when the ignition box failed and the car strarted
dropping cylinders. A huge disappointment for the team but at
least the gremlin was finally exposed.
But at the other end it was McGee
taking the win light with an abbreviated 5.879 at 232.39 while
Dunlap also clicked it early to a 6.037 and 205.57.
Not wanting to waste a chance
to test, the car was readied for a run on Sunday afternoon. After
replacing the ignition box and coil, they installed the new Reid
valve train including rocker arms and a new camshaft. Even on
the burnout the car sounded much better than the previous runs.
It was a solid 1st pass for the
changes. The nitro was backed down 2% and it was only .06 slower
to the split but picked up 2 mph. Better still, the exhaust temps
were 200-250 degrees cooler than they've ever been (thank you
new camshaft). The end result was exactly what Shelar was looking
for, less heat and more bottom end torque.
They left Bakersfield feeling
confident they had turned a huge corner and anxious to start
tweaking the new combination.
And with that the 56th
March Meet was in the books for the HSMS team.