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High Speed Motorsports

 

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MENDY FRY WINS MARCH MEET
A Monumental Team Effort

 

 

Bakersfield, CA - March 06, 2017:

The 59th edition of the fabled March Meet offered five days of racing with near perfect conditions with the exception of one weather snag on Sunday. The event was completed on Monday that included a couple of very exciting nitro finals.

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.

In Top Fuel it was Mendy Fry taking her first major win ever in her debut driving the High Speed Motorsports fueler. Fry was paired with Jim Murphy in the final who unfortunately broke a fuel pump drive shaft on the burnout leaving Fry, in only her eighth pass in the car, to single for the win. As and exclamation point, Fry proved she would have been hard to beat posting low ET of eliminations 5.598 and 252 mph. The High Speed guys could have played it safe and saved the parts but that's not the way Tom rolls. As some icing on the cake, their 5.597 in round one was also low ET of the entire meet.

 

 

 

Backing up, with the driver switch over the winter, the team desperately needed to get seat time for Mendy Fry. With the big weight difference between her and former driver Bill Dunlap, the car would have to be rebalanced and the clutch dialed in. Arriving at the track a full week ahead of the race hoping to test, the weather had different ideas.

On Wednesday (below) the skeleton crew of Tom and Rick Shelar, Sean Bellemeur, Donnie Ho, and Walt Stevens finally got a shot at the track. The plan was to get a bottom end baseline i.e. short squirt and go from there.

Here Fry gets dressed for her second shot with the help of Bellemeur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The car left hard but went into tire shake just after the 60' mark.

 

 

 

 

On what would prove to be a very long Thursday, the first order of business was to get the car ready for the afternoon test session.

 

Darrel Reid and Donnie Ho tend to the Cam2 BlueBlood Oil.

 

Fry, very much a hands on driver, had to trim the seat padding that gives her the best view of thing from the cockpit.

 

 

Sean Bellemeur getting Fry comfortable in the car with Walt Stevens and Al Rentarea Jr. looking on.

 

 

 

Rentarea helping Fry with the good stuff.

 

 

 

 

There is never a shortage of food in the High Speed pit. This is the hospitality tent prior to set up.

 

 

Emergency fix on a bent heim joint.

 

 

 

 

By afternoon it was time to warm up the engine for the upcoming test session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Reeves messing with her earplugs.

 

Donnie Couch spent a few minutes interviewing Mendy, clowning included.

 

 

 

Things on this Thursday afternoon test run were all was good, until they weren't.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the 60' mark the engine rpm went up, there was a bang, sparks everywhere and the engine went dead. In the blink of the eye, there was a dangerous situation when the input shaft broke causing havoc in the clutch can. Thankfully the Trick Titanium bell housing did its job, containing the scrap metal.

 

 

 

Note the blower askew on what would be a mortally injured engine. This was a very expensive accident.

 

 

As documented below, it took the crew hours to literally cut the clutch out. If not for parts help from Brad Thompson and John Rasmussen, all the work would have been wasted as they did not have the spare parts on hand to fix all the damage.

After working late into the night, the car was repaired but the borrowed parts were not exactly like the ones that were destroyed, especially the clutch. Sean Bellemeur did a superb job of doing the math to make the clearances the same as their data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cause of it all.

 

 

 

 

With the car finally back together, it was all hands on deck to get the car ready for the first qualifying session on Friday.

 

 

 

 

Friday - 1st Qualifying Session

 

Sporting a new engine and clutch, Fry was ready for her first official run in the car. She was paired Phil Ruskowski in his Victoria BC based SBC car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After strong early numbers Fry completed the planned early shut off running a 6.02 at just 175.48. The crew let out their collective breaths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as the car was in the pit the routine maintenance got under way to get ready for session two. Kyle Wakefield doing the bottom end with Jake Dugan.

 

 

 

 

 

Friday - 2nd Qualifying Session

Due to several funny car oil downs the Top Fuel cars were left in the dark, literally. Some took a shot at a very cool track but there was not a lot of shuffling . The High Speed team chose to pass as the track was to cold to get solid data.

 

 

Tami Reid and Angela Reeves are the Hospitality Tent hostesses/cooks, and they do it good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle Wakefield and his girlfriend Amanda seem to be just kickin back but looks are deceiving.

 

In the wings the girls had Birthday Cupcakes for Kyle (Amanda thought she was giving him the surprise. It was the other way around).

 

 

 

After a birthday moment, Amanda got blind sided by Kyle who went down on one knee and proposed.

 

The answer was "yes" which called for a cupcake in the face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday - 3rd Qualifying Session

 

 

Proposals aside, it was Mendy Fry and Adam Sorokin out for their last chance to shuffle the deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorokin improved a bunch with a 5.738 at 239.02 moving him up to #4. Fry shut off very early and coasted to a 11.19. Sitting #8 with a best of 6.027, and drawing Bartone in round one, there was not a lot of high hopes for Sunday. Surprise!

 

 

 

Page Two - The Race

 

 

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