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High Speed Motorsports

 

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Bakersfield, 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 high hopes.

Optimism was 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.

 

Nap Time

 

 

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 Jim Young.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 out.

 

 

 

 

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 five times.

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

2nd Qualifying Session - Tire Shake

3rd Qualifying Session

1st Round Eliminations

2nd Round Eliminations - Close Call

 

 

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