CA - March 07, 2016:
The 58th edition
of the fabled March Meet offered five days of racing amid complicated
weather. For an event that was predicted by all to be rained
out, it survived one last shower on Sunday morning and went on
to crown all class champions by days end. The entire track crew
did an amazing job of getting the track race ready after each
rain storm and each oil down and crashes.
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 #5 with a 5. Bill Dunlap 5.870.
Coming into eliminations the team was looking to go rounds on
Sunday. Unfortunately what could have been a disastrous incident
in the opening round, Dunlap got oiled in and blindly drove into
the back end of Jim Murphy's car in the shut down area. Full
Start at the beginning; warming
up the engine for the first qualifying session on Friday.
Friday - 1st Qualifying Session
The 2015 CHRR winner, Bill Dunlap
in the High Speed Motorsports "Great White" was paired
with four time March Meet winner, Jim Murphy in his WW2 Racing
Neil & Parks car.
Both cars had good early
Murphy had problems early
and shut off.
While making a sacrifice to the
aluminum gods, Dunlap stopped the clocks with a 5.870 at 210.54.
Murphy was done early and coasted through.
Friday - 2nd Qualifying Session
Due to the lack of light
there are not a lot of shots from this session.
Due to a massive funny car oil
down Top Fuel finally got to what was then a cold track. Dunlap
was paired with Tony Bartone.
Dunlap left hard and
carded great early numbers.
Saturday - 3rd Qualifying Session
The last pair of the last session
was Bill Dunlap and Rick White with both solidly in the show.
White stopped the clocks with
a jaw dropping 5.564 @ 254.04 while Dunlap improved to the #4
spot with a 5.738 @ 253.33.
Sunday, Round One of Eliminations
The final race of round
one matched Bill Dunlap and Jim Murphy.
Both drivers left together.
Dunlap still had the
lead at the 1000' mark but that's where his problems began.
It seems that the tri-drive belt
that drives both the fuel and oil pumps started shredding earlier
in the run. With the fuel pump not putting enough fuel in the
engine it leaned out burnt all the pistons and that pumped the
pan pressure until it blew the front of the left rocker cover
gasket out oiling Dunlap to the the point he was flying blind.
In spite of doing the best he
could to keep the car in his lane he was drifting to the right
while Murphy was drifting to the left.
Dunlap's right front tire rode
up the back of Murphy's left rear tire. At that point it was
just hang on.
The bottom line was nobody was
hurt, however Dunlap was really mad at himself (that's what drivers
do) and Murphy was able to make the call for round two.
And with that the 58th March
Meet was in the books for the HSMS team. At press time there
was no decision on what to do about a car. A new one had been
in the planning stages.
UPDATE: In July the car went
up to Washington to be front halved by Brad Hadman.