California, Oct.2019 - Mendy Fry is the 28th California Hot Rod Reunion
Top Fuel Champion. Fry drove the High Speed Motorsports dragster
to victory with a 5.52 ET at 264 MPH after runner-up Pete Wittenberg
red-lighted in his Circuit Breaker machine, disqualifying a 5.64
ET at 248 MPH. Fry arrived at Auto Club Famoso Raceway with her
second NHRA Heritage Series Top Fuel Season Championship already
clinched and won the race for the second year running.
was nuts," Fry said. I thought I lost on a holeshot.
I was beyond shocked and amazed that I did that. I walked off
in the field at the top end because I couldn't bear facing the
team having let them down in that way. Then I found out Wittenberg
red-lighted, and I screamed with joy like a little girl. I am
so proud of Sean Bellemeur and the team for digging deep and
making this win happen."
Fry's fifth consecutive
Heritage Series event win was an emotional moment for the entire
team as they triumphed in honor of High Speed Motorsports team
founder and crew chief Tom Shelar, who unexpectedly passed away
Fry set Low ET
of the meet in Round One with a 5.522-second win against Dan
Horan Jr., who was behind the wheel of an all-new dragster built
as a tribute to his departed father, Top Fuel driver "Digger"
Dan Horan, Sr. Fry also clocked event Top Speed with her 5.526-second
264 MPH Final Round win to conclude the 2019 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage
Series Nostalgia Top Fuel racing season.
up the weekend with this thought. "We all did our jobs,
but there was a presence and energy missing, Fry said.
Tom was so much fun. Such a force and a tremendous leader.
And he was a heck of a tuner. We had a 5.60 (second) bracket
car. Tom flat-out got it. We did this for him.
further ado, we present the weekend with Team High Speed and
the Shelar family. Lots of photos making sure everyone can remember
an exciting and emotional three days.
Leading off, a few candid
shots from Friday afternoon when the team was getting ready for
the first qualifying session.
Tuner Sean Bellemeur
was constantly tending to the engine, as Tom did.
Nobody's better than Car Chief
Rick Shelar at paying attention to details from the front wheels
to the chutes.
Senior crew member Walt
Stevens prepped a fleet of sparkplugs.
Mendy hams it up as Larry Shelar
and Carol Dobson made sure the pre-run check list is followed
to the letter. Another facet of organization that makes this
First warm-up of the
Bill" is a huge High Speed fan and can often be found in
After the warm-up there
was nothing to do but take 5 and wait for the call to the lanes.
Arlene Eliason, Don Ewald
and Dan Kaplan
Frankie Hedge, Maria Stevens,
Patrick Shelar, Danielle Berger, Patrick's mom and Tom's life
partner and Mendy.
Joe Walla with his soon
to be fiance (he proposed Saturday) Sandra Reynolds.
Mendy with Sean and Kiera
The Bellemeur family
was out in force. Ashley, Baby Audrey, Kiera and Peyton, the
The traditional pre race
Friday - 1st Qualifying
The third pair of the first of
three quaifying sessions would be a classic final round match
up at any drag race. 76 year old Jim Murphy out of Santa Rosa,
CA, in his "WW2 Racing" entry up against newly crowned
2019 Top Fuel Champion Mendy Fry from Los Angeles driving the
High Speed Motorsports monster.
Walt Stevens has been
the High Speed BUG (Back Up Guy) for years, its an art form.
Sean never asked for, nor did
he ever want the role that Tom Shelar played race in and race
out on his car. But fate dealt the hand and Sean played it well.
Here making the final tweaks on the potent hemi.
As she has done so many times
before Mendy comes out of the box with a back breaking number.
Her 5.595 at just 237.42 was a full two tenths quicker than Murphy's
5.730 at 247.07 which was good for #2 for the day.
Saturday - 2nd
As he's done so many
times before, Sean bolts Mendy in.
Rick (Shelar) never stops
paying close attention to what ever is happing to the car.
Pair two of Q2 paired
Mendy and Pete Wittenberg, both were solidly in the show.
Amanda Wakefield, wife of High
Speed Motorsports bottom end specialist, Kyle Wakefield got all
Wonder Woman to back up Pete. HSMS shared her since Walter Stevens
is the High Speed "BUG" LOL!
Wittenberg lit up the
tires before the tree. Home run swing gone foul.
Mendy clicked it early,
and needless to say, neither improved.
Saturday - 3rd
Pair two of Q3 featured #1 Mendy
and Adam Sorokin who was on the outside looking in. A very rare
spot for the Champion Speed Shop car.
Mendy didn't improve but was
still low for the session. Her 5.70 at just 207 supplied all
the data needed for E1. As for Sorokin, a 6.23 put the last nail
in the Champion coffin. He, Bobby and the team would be spectators
on Sunday. A role none are used to.
Round & Winners Circle