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Bakersfield, CA - 10/22/18: The 27th edition of the California Hot Rod Reunion® presented by Automobile Club of Southern California completed competition at Auto Club Famoso Raceway on Sunday crowning not only event winners but also the champions in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series. High Speed Motorsports and their driver, Mendy Fry were winners of both.

Fry arrived at the 27th California Hot Rod Reunion with the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel championship already in hand and drove the High-Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel Dragster over the finish line for the event win. Her Top Fuel victory at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield marked a three-peat season clincher for Fry and the team after successive wins the the National Hot Rod Reunion and Nightfire Nationals. Fry had already clinched her first Top Fuel world championship in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Drag Racing Series, It’s been a banner year for Fry, who has put together impressive performances time and time again, winning two races in 2018. But even with the championship clinched, the team wanted to cap the season with a CHRR win.

"This title belongs to the team,” Fry said. "They’ve upped the bar for me as a driver, and thankfully I haven’t screwed it up this year. The thing that’s really helped is getting to know the car. They’re giving me something that repeats and because the team is so consistent and the maintenance on the car is second to none, it’s really upped my confidence level. I love this track and going there. My first Top Fuel win happened at the March Meet and it feels like I’m home there." "We lost only one round of racing this year, ran the table on Low ET and Top Speed at every event except for Top Speed at the National Hot Rod Reunion."

"I’d say Tom Shelar and the crew have it dialed in. My team gave me the car to beat, and I didn’t screw it up. So this win is theirs. I’m just glad they picked me." said Mendy.

Fry had left a Top Fuel win on the table in the the season opener seven months ago at the March Meet when she was disqualified in the final. She she had a huge lead but was disqualified for drifting over the center line on a cold and tricky track. Those regrets were erased on Sunday she piloted the High Speed Motorsports dragster to a CHRR victory with a 5.61-second pass at 259.36 mph in the Nostalgia Top Fuel final taking out Rick McGee. Fry was the top qualifier for the weekend and achieved the low ET for the event in the semi-finals with a 5.550 ET.

"We did make quite a statement, didn’t we," said Fry. “I think we set low ET every round." She started with a 5.582 blast at 258.24 to beat Tyler Hilton and was even better in the semis as she thundered to a 5.554 elapsed time at 261.62 mph, leaving Pete Wittenberg and his 6.153 effort in her wake. The semifinal numbers were the quickest and fastest Fry has gone.

"We need to get quicker and faster,” she said. "Everybody’s going to catch up, that is the reality of this sport. We’ve got a big target on our backs and we can’t sit on our laurels."

"With other cars now biting at our heels, we are looking at 2019 to be a much tougher season. We will be ready." said team owner Tom Shelar.

Without further ado, here is the event coverage featuring a cast of many.







But wait, there's more, much more of the post-race celebrations but first we need to go back to Friday to see how we got here. Enjoy the ride.



Leading off, a few candid shots from Friday afternoon when the team was getting ready for the first qualifying session.


Sean and Ashley Bellemeur were front and center with kids, Peyton is the oldest, Kiera (with Sean) and the new baby Audrey. Sean loves saying he’s surrounded by girls. Even the dog – Lucy, is a girl!



Frankie Hedge poured the good stuff with Mendy.


Tom Shelar always has a team meeting at the start of every race day.




Then there was the first warm-up of the weekend.


Jake Dungan getting a spare set of tires ready.





The HSMS hospitality team does a great job of keeping everyone watered and fed.





When Eric Morrow isn't taking care of "fluids" he can be found filling gaps all over the pit. Go to guy with a ton of enthusiasm.


Walt Stevens does a superb job in his roll as supervisor.




Friday - 1st Qualifying Session


For the first of three qualifying sessions Mendy Fry was paired with Brendan Murry in his "Running Wild Racing" late model hemi car.













No surprise to anyone, Fry went low with a 5.600 at 231.44. Murry got no love from the cameras and was a DQ due to an oil down.





Saturday - 2nd Qualifying Session


Shelar chose to go last in session two and that paired Mendy with Dusty Green who was not yet qualified.





Shelar and Belemeur made last minute adjustments on the fuel system.

















Settling for nothing less than #1, Fry/Shelar do just that again with a 5.592 at 239.14. Green had issues and remained a DNQ with a 7.06.






Moving on to Saturday afternoon, after routine maintenance the team warmed up the engine for the final qualifying session.




















Saturday - 3rd Qualifying Session


Starting a very long wait in the staging lanes were 2018 Top Fuel Interns Matthew Fischl and Alanna Kuhn. This was Matt's first event, Alanna came on board at the '18 March Meet and has not missed a race since. Graduated to pit driver.


Jake Dungan and Matthew Fischl


Frank, Ruthie and Frankie Hedge with Rick Shelar.


Owner/tuner Tom Shelar checking out the track not knowing it would be another hour+ before they would make their run.


After a another lengthy clean up Fry and Dusty Green were finally given the sign to fire-up. Totally dark, having to shoot with no flash (thanks NHRA). Mission tough.









Green went into tire smoke almost immediatlely and did a great job of slapping the throttle to recover before the tree.







Fry clicked it early to a 5.83 at 196 while try as he did, Green failed to make the show.



Nostalgia Top Fuel Final Qualifying Order

1 781 Mendy Fry, Los Angeles CA, '16 Hadman 5.592 239.14
2 380 Jim Young, Salem WI, '07 Dragster 5.661 252.57
3 7238 Bret Williamson, Gilroy CA, '14 Uyehara 5.665 252.71
4 7131 Rick White, San Diego CA, '06 Hansen 5.705 247.25
5 706 Pete Wittenberg, Anaheim CA, '01 Stirling 5.716 250.27
6 766 Adam Sorokin, Glendale CA, '04 Sterling 5.720 243.59
7 701 Rick McGee, Exeter CA, '97 Tedford 5.761 217.56
8 736 Dan Horan, Sylmar CA, '09 Dragster 5.873 253.71
------------ Not Qualified ------------
9 379 Tyler Hilton, Sharonville OH, '12 Horton 5.907 255.63
10 1 Jim Murphy, Santa Rosa CA, '13 Neil & Parks 5.986 193.02
11 752 Dusty Green, Pleasant Hill CA, '08 Neil & Parks 6.472 239.82
12 7188 Brendan Murry, San Jose CA, '10 Rooman 6.592 133.29
13 600 Phil Ruskowski, Victoria BC, '11 McKinney 6.995 164.79



Sunday - Eliminations And Final

Sunday - Winners Circle - It's Crown Royal Time



Make Your Reservations Now



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 Photos - Race Results


 The Team

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