The 2004 Goodguys-VRA
racing season came to an abrupt end when a strong rain storm
hit the track just as Jim Murphy and Jack Harris were staging
for the Top Fuel final. After two days of unseasonably cold weather
and countless oil downs, it was called a draw and the prize money
was split. Since only one final had been run (Top Fuel B-Field)
that left all the other classes without a clear winner as well.
Thus ended a less than satisfactory season for Murphy and the
WW2 Racing team. For myriad reasons that in no way constitute
an excuse, the 2003 World Championship team unraveled soon after
the VRA March Meet (which they won) and never quite jelled for
the remainder of the 2004 season. In spite of finishing # 2 in
the points standings and losing OSH as a primary sponsor, Murphy
vows to be back in 2005 to take the championship back for an
unprecedented 5th time.
That said, here
is the race report from the 2004 VRA Fuel & Gas Championships.
Being one of
the rare two day meets, the Finals offered only 2 qualifying
sessions. The first started at 11:00 am Saturday morning and
Murphy chose to near the end of the session.
Jim Murphy sporting
the # 1 on his car for the last time (for at least a year) was
paired with rookie, Brad Thompson.
Murphy laid down
a great pass (5.822 @ 253.59) but made a severe sacrifice to
the Aluminum gods at the top end. The car sounded flat for the
last 200 to 300 feet and then disappeared behind a wall of white
smoke. Thompson got loose right after 60 feet, spun the tires
very hard, and clicked it to a 9.274 @ 91.54.
The WW2 Racing
dragster had a mechanical problem on their second qualifying
attempt but it made no difference, Murphy still ended up in the
# 1 spot based on his first effort.
order in Nostalgia Top Fuel at the Goodguys 6th Fuel & Gas
Murphy - 5.822 @ 253.59
2. Jack Harris - 5.826 @ 259.36
3. Denver Schutz - 5.859 @ 245.63
4. Rick McGee - 6.004 @ 239.23
5. Terry Cox - 6.036 @ 228.83
6. John Shoemaker - 6.089 @ 241.87
7. Bill Dunlap - 6.105 @ 245.90
8. Mendy Fry - 6.165 @ 205.85
this shot kind of sums up the A&O (accidents and oildowns)
day the Goodguys crew had to deal with on Sunday. A top end accident
in the Hot Rod class pushed first round of Top Fuel back 45 minutes
and it went down hill from there.
In the first
round of eliminations Murphy was paired up the rookie phoneme,
Mendy Fry. After Bellemeur's DNQ, Fry was the only Plaza Hotel
car left in the show. Well, that didn't last long. As Fry staged
an oil line broke and covered the starting line. Fry moved up
against the guardrail in her lane while Murphy ignored the whole
mess and laid down a nice 5.837 @ 251.88.
After another very long clean
up from an A-Fuel incident, the first pair out for round two
was Jim Murphy and Terry Cox (no photos). By all accounts the
wait was worth it That was worth the wait as both cars were side
by side until about 1000 feet when Murphy pulled ahead for the
win. The clocks said: Murphy 5.942 @ 248.00 and Cox with a career
best 5.962 @ 249.51... just missing the 250 MPH Club which Murphy
was the first to establish back in 1999.
The big dog final was to feature
the biggest dogs of all - Jim Murphy and Jack Harris. But as
mentioned on the header, the final round of Top Fuel was called
a draw when rain halted the event. The race will not be re-run
or made up.