Track ET Record - 5.86
general and drag racing in particular is like any other major
sport - its very competitive and the sheer number of class competitors
makes it almost impossible to get "on top". Over the
last six seasons, Jim Murphy and the OSH-WW2 Racing team, like
a surfer on a huge wave, have ridden the peek and and wiped out
in the curl. For the last six races they've back on the peek
and are still riding the curl.
the 2002 Goodguys World Finals last November, and the 2003 March
Meet at Bakersfield, Murphy and crew traveled to Boise, Idaho
for the "Ignitor Open" - the first major race of the
season at Firebird Raceway. Amid inclement weather conditions,
they qualified # 4 with an easy 6.24.
saw ideal racing air, extraordinary track conditions and some
unwelcome rain. With temperatures in the mid-50s and overcast
skies, the fans would see Murphy run the quickest NTF time in
track history. But that didn't come until round two.
Round one had
Jim Murphy defeating Scott Mason with a slowing 6.07 @ 191.08
to a game 6.17 @ 222.44. Tim Beebe had the OSH car tuned tight,
netting a stunning 3.91 @ 204.82 at the eighth mile. Unfortunately
the car drifted to the centerline at the 1,000 mark and Murphy
had to shut it off early (below).
In the semi-finals, Murphy was
paired with #1 qualifier and track record holder, Jack "The
Sheriff" Harris. No one will argue that these are two of
the sports top teams and alone are worth the price of admission.
Coming into 2003, Harris has won 3 of the last 4 Nightfire Nationals
at Firebird. Murphy knew they couldn't make any mistakes and
beat Jack on a track he's basically dominated.
What should have been the marquee
race of the event turned out to be a stunning one sided victory
for Murphy and the OSH-WW2 Racing entry. At the green, Harris
immediately had problems (below) while the black and yellow OSH
fueler marched to a new track record - a stunning 5.862 @ 246.77.
Considering the altitude of the Boise track and the fact that
the previous record was a 5.93 set by Harris just hours earlier
- this run was huge.
that the Nitro Thunder car was loaded for bear and by the numbers,
Murphy was the underdog in this match. What could have been a
side-by-side 5.80 race literally went up in smoke for Harris.
Due to a failure in the fuel system, massive amounts of raw nitro
got under the rear tires and caused them to hopelessly spin from
the hit of the throttle. You can bet that over the course of
the 2003 season these two will lock horns again, and every time
it will be a coin toss.
The Top Fuel final was to pit
the new track record holder, Jim Murphy against the other semi-final
winner, Lee Jennings in his "California Trucker". Even
though he had run a respectable 6.00 in qualifying, Jennings
was coming off a very ugly win in the previous round. While his
opponent, Bill Dunlap crossed the center line, Lee go up on two
wheels narrowly missing the retaining wall. On the other hand,
Murphy was running quicker and faster every round. The numbers
suggested that the OSH-WW2 Racing entry would be a strong favorite
but rain, instead of horsepower, decided the outcome.
Unable to finish the race, the
two teams split the runner-up purse and the AA/FUEL Dragster
crown will be decided at the Nightfire Nationals in August. Murphy
and Jennings will race for the winners money and bragging rights
during the second round of qualifying at that race.
Mortal advisories on the track,
most racers are the best of friends the rest of the time and
have a lot of fun in the process. Here Jack Harris reluctantly
turns over the "Jim Herbert Memorial" trophy to Jim
Murphy. The trophy is awarded to the winner of the Goodguys March
Meet and kept by that winner for the following year. Harris had
possession of this prize for the two previous years but had to
turn it back over to Murphy as the winner of the 2003 event.
Murphy had won the trophy the two years prior to Harris' back-to-back
Jim Murphy, Jack "The
Sheriff" Harris and Billy "The Kid" Robins
This was the kind of weekend
the crew loves. Virtually no parts breakage which means routine
maintenance and time to study the tune-up.
Designated driver (back to the
pits), Dave Thornhill and the new Dodge "Yea, it's a hemi"
ad campaign sticker. These were all over the pits of Boise. Yep,
it pays to advertise. And you can bet the OSH-WW2 car is a HEMI!
Good race - happy crew. Barry
Byrne, Jeff Shamrock and Dave Thornhill.
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