CA - 10/23/17: The 26th edition of the California Hot Rod Reunion
was billed as back to the way it used to be, and it was. After
last years debacle the folks at the NHRA Motorsports Museum and
those in Glendora made every effort to not only make the cacklecar
group feel welcome, but the racers as well. From improvement
in pit parking to Cacklefest push starts in front of the stands,
those who did come back were rewarded with a smaller but on par
show. Folks who passed this year are already planning to come
back and give the event a second chance in 2018.
For the High
Speed Motorsports team it was the final battle for the Top Fuel
championship. To set the stage, Jim Murphy came into the weekend
leading the points over Mendy Fry and Adam Sorokin in Nostalgia
Top Fuel. Murphy
first won the postponed Firebird Raceway Nightfire Nationals
final round on Saturday to extend his points lead over Fry to
Both Murphy and Fry won their
first round of racing on Sunday as did Sorokin and Jim Young.
This left the four best cars in the country to dictate the champion.
If Sorokin beats Murphy and Fry beats Young, the title would
go to the winner of the final. If Fry won she would be the champ.
However, none of this happened.
In the semis, Murphy got the
best of Sorokin again. Although Adam grabbed a hunk on the tree
his 5.724 at 241.37 was not enough to keep Jim's 5.604 at 246.08
from running him down. Murphy's MOV: 0.0650 seconds (approximately
At that point is was over, we
had a champion. However, on the run Murphy suffered an oil in
and scraped the left guardwall, damaging the left front suspension
and canard. Although they had another engine, Murphy and Leong
decided to err on the the side of caution and not run the final.
Jim had won the war, but lost this battle.
That still left Jim Young and
Mendy Fry to see who would single for the event win. In another
great drag race Young left first and needed it. His 5.653 at
261.78 held off Fry's quicker and faster 5.638 at 260.66. Young's
MOV: 0.0240 seconds (approximately 9 feet).
At the end of
the day HSMS C.O.O. and Manager Tom Shelar was more than happy
with their season. Their rookie driver had a learning curve and
proved to be the right girl for the job. The cars performance
standards reached another level and the team became a well oiled
machine. They fell just short of the championship and Shelar
is resolute to go after the title again in 2018.
Friday - 1st Qualifying Session
For the first of three qualifying
sessions Mendy Fry driving the High Speed Motorsports fueler
and Brendan Murry win his "Running Wild Racing" late
model hemi car.
Fry, on a planned 1000' pass,
carded a solid 5.69 at just 215.68. Murry coasted to a unremarkable
After the second session, the
girls kick back while the team does its routine maintenance.
Rick Shelar and Darrell
Read doing their thing.
Big Show crew chief Lance
Larson stopped by for a visit with Tom.
Team Photographer Arlene Eliason
going through here captures from Q2. She is also a team photog
Clutch specialist Sean Bellemeur
in the can while Jake Dungan who works the bottom end observing.
Mendy is a hands on driver
who mixes her own nitro.
Long time SoCal starter
Larry Sutton was hangin' out all weekend.
Bellemeur with National
Dragster photog Mark Gewertz.
Maintenance done, it
was time to warm up the engine.
Celia Green (wife of Top Fuel
driver Dusty Green) and Amanda who is Kyle's fiance took total
control of the "souvenir booth" that featured T-shirts,
hats, signed pistons and other HSMS goodies.
Mendy spent as much time as she
could supporting the sales and signing autographies, which were
Eric Mc Morrow who takes care
of the fluids on the car, surprised everyone with these very
unique awards he made up for Frank Hedge and Donnie Ho who he
claims addicted him to drag racing. He also made a very cool
"Best Damn Team" award for Tom Shelar.
Mendy was not forgotten,
he made her this abstract spark plug paper weight.
Donnie Ho, Eric and Frank
"Root Beer" Hedge.
Saturday - 2nd Qualifying Session
For session two Fry was paired
with Adam Sorokin. At the time they both had a shot at the championship.
Sorokin spun the tires
before the tree and was done early.
Fry stepped up with a 5.660 at
224.47 landing her in the #2 spot. Sorokin was good with his
Q1 5.742 that was #4.
For the final session it was
Mendy Fry and Jim Young. These two would meet again on Sunday
with points consequences.
Young jumped into the #3 slot
with a strong 5.673 at 255.24 while Fry clicked it early to a
6.18 at just 151.15. She remained #2 with her previous 5.660.
1. Jim Murphy
5.651 @ 249.30
2. Mendy Fry 5.660 @ 224.47
3. Jim Young 5.673 @ 255.24
4. Adam Sorokin 5.742 @ 243.06
5. Pete Wittenberg 5.906 @ 205.01
6. Rick McGee 6.031 @ 199.76
7. Bret Williamson 6.179 @ 175.34
8. Brendan Murry 6.656 @ 153.89
Not Qualified ------------
9. Phil Ruskowski
6.756 @ 178.90
10. Tyler Hilton 8.053 @ 159.59
Saturday night found the dragster
without a heart. Thanks to a great catch by Kyle, who is half
of the bottom end team, spotted a crank in the radius of #4 main
journal. Had this not been found, the result could have been
catastrophic. The engine was pulled and a new crack was installed.
Sunday - Eliminations,
Your Reservations Now