CA - The Goodguys 7th Fuel & Gas Finals will probably not
be remembered as the "feel good" drag race of the year.
It will more likely be recalled as the "upset nationals"
mixed with tragedy and near misses. Amid great daytime racing
conditions the event was running just slightly behind schedule
until about 4 pm on Saturday afternoon when 76 year old Ray Moore
sustained fatal injuries during the final session of C/Gas qualifying.
The two and a half hour delay put the remainder of the days schedule
into chaos. Several Top Fuel teams will say the delay was the
major cause of the upsets and off pace times in the first round
of eliminations Saturday evening. We'll never know.
Going into the
event there were five drivers within striking distance of the
2005 Top Fuel Points Championship. All five made the show and
after first round but only two made it to the second. It was
like the championship nobody wanted. There was no huge surprises
in qualifying with Jim Murphy grabbing the # 1 spot with low
ET of the event... a sterling 5.85. In the end it was the second
quickest 16 car field in history and had all the makings of a
In round one
the points leader, Rick McGee (in on the break rule) smoked the
tires against Rick White (who was # 2 in the points) leaving
White well in the hunt. Then Bill Dunlap put Jim Murphy, the
# 5 points driver away in a very close race eliminating him from
the picture. # 4 in points, Terry Cox hung in by beating Mark
Hyla running low ET of the round (5.896). Another shocker followed
when Rick Rogers won a pedalfest over the # 3 driver, Brett Harris.
No repeat championship for Nitro Thunder. At this point all White
had to do was go two more rounds if Cox lost in round two (which
he did) for the championship.
Having a performance advantage
Murphy cut a safe light and Dunlap took advantage. He got 4 hundredths
on the tree and held off Murphy to take a 6.024 at 248.61 to
6.053 at 231.48 win. Bill Dunlap's sparkling MOV: 0.0810 seconds
(approximately 27 feet).
And that's a wrap for the 2005
season. Next year the Jim Murphy and the WW2 Racing team will
focus on one thing - winning the VRA Top Fuel Championship for
an unprecedented fifth time. Murphy has no bones about saying
he wants the Top Fuel Championship next season and will compete
vigorously to win it again.