CA - March 08, 2015:
The 57th edition
of the fabled March Meet offered five days of true Chamber of
Commerce weather. In fact, it was nearly impossible to find anyone
who had ever experienced five more consistent days of perfect
racing temps - ever. 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. That is not
to say that the grounds aren't littered with geezers, its just
that the focus is on the race track and everyone wants to win
the most prestigious race of the year. And after a couple of
successful pre race test outings Team High Speed came in with
warranted as Bill Dunlap qualified #2 with a sterling 5.717 at
232.11. After a round one victory on Saturday, they were primmed
to go all the way on Sunday. Unfortunately what could have been
a disastrous incident in round two, Dunlap did a masterful job
of saving the car at 200 mph. Full story below. Enjoy the expanded
coverage with shots by Arlene Eliason.
Friday - 1st Qualifying Session
Kickin' back in the staging lanes
before the first of three qualifying sessions. They were the
first pair out with Robert August in the other lane.
Rick Shelar putting the
starter on the blower snout.
Sean Bellemeur guiding
Bill Dunlap into the water (burnout) box.
Walt Stevens guided Dunlap
back in his track.
Bellemeur and Tom Shelar
make the final tweaks.
Dunlap left hard and
carded great early numbers.
As planned, Dunlap shut off early,
and got every ones attention carding a stellar 5.71 at 232 which
would hold for the final #2 qualifying spot. Ron August was done
early with a 8.36 at 107. 11.
The time slip had the
team all smilin'.
Shelar and Dunlap go
over the time slip incrementals.
Friday - 2nd Qualifying Session
Once the funny cars finally finished
up the sunlight was almost gone leaving less than ideal shooting
conditions. Add to that the track temp was falling faster than
the sun. We had less than ideal coverage and performance.
Dunlap was paired with
Young collected a 6.004 at 227.69
time slip while Dunlap smoked early and coasted on down.
Saturday Morning Warm-up
Saturday - 3rd Qualifying Session
For the final session
Dunlap was once again paired with Murry.
Dunlap left first and
hard, Murry was a little softer.
Dunlap shut off early
to a 5.99 at just 188. Murry's engine was done by half track.
Saturday - Round 1 of Eliminations
Bill Dunlap and Ron August
were the third pair of the round.
August got a jump on
the tree leaving Dunlap to play catchup.
Both cars shut off early, Dunlap
due to pinched ring lands and August because he was seriously
oiled in. Bill's 5.808 at 215.07 beat Ron's 5.909 at 217.67.
But that's not the end of this story.
Flying blind, August
drifted into the guardwall and went for a hard impact slide.
August was fine, the
car not so much.
Sunday - Round 2 of Eliminations
Dunlap was paired with Adam Sorokin
in the Champions Speed Shop car. Here Bill starts his burnout.
Tom Shelar and Sean Bellemeur
made their final adjustments to the engine.
Sorokin left first, as
he usually does. Then things got interesting.
Before half track Dunlap
was getting into a situation.
At this point he was being sucked
to the centerline and from this point and went on to do a brilliant
bit of driving.
Sorokin started having
engine issues but hung with it.
Bill, your lane is somewhere
to your right....
How he saved this car
is really something.
Lucky for me, Bill knew
where he was and what he had to do.
With the ship righted,
Dunlap still had some driving to do.
His landing did fade the car
to the right and barely tagged the wall at the emergency turn
Sorokin stopped the clocks with
an engine wounding 5.705 at 238.13 while Dunlap, who was on one
hell of a pass, shut off to a 5.838 at 209.23.
And with that the 57th March
Meet was in the books for the HSMS team. After a five year layoff,
they will heading back to Bowling Green, KY for the NHRA National
Hot Rod Reunion, June 18-20, 2015. An event the team has won
After the March Meet the car
went up to Washington to be front halved by Brad Hadman. As it
tuned out, it needed it. Should be a new animal in Kentucky.
March Meet Videos
Qualifying Session - Tire Shake
Round Eliminations - Close Call