Tulsa, OK. (Sept 21, 2019)
The 2019 Osage Nitro Nationals is in the books and although it
featured abbreviated nitro fields, the top Heritage Series points
players were on hand. In Top Fuel it was Adam Sorokin and Jim
Murphy in a last ditch effort to stop the Juggernaut known as
High Speed Motorsports and defending champion, Mendy Fry who
has only lost 2 races in the last two years. Valiant and expensive
efforts aside, Murphy went out in round one and Sorokin was once
again the runner-up to who is now a two time champ.
As an exclamation mark, Mendy
clocked low ET and Top Speed of the meet in the final. Her 5.604
at 258.07 drove past Sorokin's 5.980 at just 186.54.
Following the unexpected passing
of High Speed Motorsports owner/tuner Tom Shelar just days after
the team's last win, the decision was made by Tom's son Patrick
and brother Rick to finish out the season in Tom's memory. To
make this outing even more meaningful, the entire Shelar family
was on hand for the emotional two days in Oklahoma. The last
part of this coverage is dedicated to them and the rest of Team
Thus, with heavy hearts, Team
Highspeed headed to Tulsa in full force to finish what Tom started.
Taking over the tuning duties were two very qualified vets who
both, at one time or another, drove for HSMS. Current NHRA Top
Alcohol Funny Car champion, Sean Bellemeur and vet tuner/driver/engine
builder, Troy Green.
Using stored data, the duo along
with car chief Rick Shelar followed a tried and true formula
to once again qualify #1 by a bunch and do what had to be done
to get to the winners circle where a large bottle of Crown Royal
was waiting. With only two quaifying sessions, they came out
swinging on Friday night laying down an "easy" 5.668
at 222.40. With that under their belt they chose to sit-out Q2
on Saturday afternoon and get ready for eliminations that evening.
With these thoughts in mind,
find ou the rest of the story in the coverage below.
Special thanks to Arlene Eliason
who did a great job of covering the event. Very huge task for
one photographer to cover an entire show,
The Team: Sean & Ashley
Bellemeur, Erik & Leslie McMorrow, Frankie Hedge, Angela
Reeves, Donnie Ho, Jake Dungan, Nick San Angelo, Mario Campos,
Troy Green), Alanna Kuhn, Walt Stevens and Mendy all lined up,
Tom's sister, Carol Dobson, Patrick Shelar, Rick Shelar, Lary
Shelar and Maria Stevens. Kyle Wakefield not shown.
Once the pit was set up and the
car unloaded, the team went about getting ready for a test pass
in the afternoon. Walt Stevens getting the spark plugs ready
Leslie McMorrow and Rick
Shelar with Frankie Hedge in the background.
Nick San Angelo checking
the bottom end.
Rick paying attention
to engine details.
Larry Shelar (Tom's brother),
Patrick Shelar (Tom's son), Stephanie Shelar (Rick's daughter)
and Jake Dungan.
San Angelo and Mendy
pouring the nitro.
Clutch man Mario Campos without
a job ... at the moment. His tasks begin after the car makes
Cole Coonce, Whit Bazemore,
Troy Green and Sean Bellemeur.
Morning track prep.
Erik McMorrow and Rick
Gorman Green (aka Junior),
Troy Green and Mendy
Maria Stevens pins the
memorial pins on hubby Walt.
Adding oil, packing the
Getting ready for the
first warm-up of the weekend.
Mendy climbing into her
The traditional High
Speed crew pep talk over the engine. Rick in Tom's place.
All was good.
As the nitro fumes filled
the pit, the place cleared out.
Amanda Wakefield ( team
hospitality and tee shirts with
Sean pouring over the
stored data to choose the best tune-up.
Tracie Dobson, Toms neice/Carols
youngest daughter, Carol, Patrick, Angela
Reeves and Stephanie.
A perk of Alanna's position is
she gets to drive the car to the staging lanes and back to the
pits after a pass.
The team en masse heading
for the cars first pass without Tom at the helm.
As planned, Mendy left
hard and ran it to half track which supplied the needed data.
FRIDAY - FIRST
Following routine maintenance
from the test, it was another warm-up ritual before the first
Mendy's office sans Mendy
For the first session Mendy was
matched with Adam Sorokin in the Champion Speed Shop car.
The Team doing their
best Grubnick impression on the starting line.
At the other end it it was Mendy
carding a 5.66 at 222 which would hold through both sessions
as #1. Sorokin ran a 5.91 at 210 which would hold for #2.
SATURDAY - FIRST
ROUND OF ELIMINATIONS
The High Speed team chose to
sit the 2nd qualifying session out, standing on Mendy's earlier
5.66 at 222 which held for the #1 spot. They instead, prepared
Call to warm-up for round
One more team HURAH and
it was race time.
Being the #1 qualifier,
Mendy got the round one bye.
BAM! Low ET, #1