CA - October 6-8, 2006: Over its 15 year history the California
Hot Rod Reunion has evolved in many ways not the least being
the quality and quantity of race cars. What started as a one
time weekend get together for "geezers" has become
one of the two major races for nostalgia drag racing in the country.
Every year the CHRR attracts record crowds of spectators and
maxed out car counts in all the contested classes. It is in a
word - a spectacle of all things drag racing. To win this event
in any class is a huge accomplishment and to win Top Fuel is
as good as it gets.
Jim Murphy, Tim
Beebe, Ron Rapadas and the rest of the WW2 Racing team came into
this race with the same goal as always - win. However, having
not won a major event in over two years (2004 March Meet) their
confidence level was mixed with doubts. After the two allotted
qualifying session they found themselves qualified in the bottom
half (# 11)of the quickest 16 car field in Nostalgia Top Fuel
history. The car was still hurting parts and nothing they did
seemed to help. Up against the wall - again.
First round of
eliminations was held on Saturday night and Murphy was paired
the the # 5 qualifier, Denver Schutz and would be the last cars
to run. To say the seven pairs before them had every imaginable
problem one could think of would be an understatement. To say
that it was the ugliest round of NTF racing anyone could remember
would be unanimous. By the time Murphy ran they were over two
hours into the round and things didn't get any better. In a pedalfest
(both cars smoked the tires hard) Murphy came out on top - dodging
a bullet and advancing to round two on Sunday.
Back in the pits
Murphy was admittedly baffled as what to try next and that's
when, after a prayer or two, things started to turn around. The
team was informed that due to a very rare dual disqualification
in round one, they would have a single in round two. It was just
the break they needed and a chance to "go back to basics"
with the tune-up knowing that they would at the very least be
in the semi finals.
As they say,
the rest is history. The free pass Sunday morning told them they
were on the right track with the tune-up and for the first time
all weekend believed they could be in the Winners Circle that
afternoon. The semi and final races were all Murphy, all the
time and the sweet taste of victory once again filled a camp
that had been down too long. At the end of the day you could
see it on all their faces - WW2 Racing is back.