2006 was the
13th year the March Meet has been run under the Goodguys VRA
banner and it proved to be unlucky indeed. There are some things
in life you just have to write off as a really bad deal that
was nobody's fault. The 47th March Meet proved to be one of those
things. Drag racers can do a lot but running in the rain is not
one of them. Over two miserable weekends the Goodguys, racers
and fans could only hope that the rain would stop and the race
Top Fuel cars did get one qualifying run and squeezed in first
round of eliminations, the sun that finally came out on Sunday
only served to draw water up from under the racing surface making
it to dangerous to race on. It was the first time in history
that the event had to be not only postponed for a week but canceled
altogether. It was a no win situation for all involved.
This was all
very disappointing to Jim Murphy and the WW2 Racing team as they
were poised to do exactly what they came here to do - win Murphy's
5th March Meet which would have tied him with the legendary Don
Garlits with the most wins in the 47th year of drag racings oldest
Photos and full
This sets the tone for
Friday morning - nothing
but rain. Tinker with car. Talk to friends...
or just take a nap.
An upside of the wait
was Jim had time to spend with his grandson.
Friday afternoon with little
hope of getting a run in the WW2 Racing crew fired up the engine
to make sure there were no leaks that would bite them the following
Among all the cool things the
Goodguys had planned for the weekend was the unveiling of the
March Meet Champions board. Fortunately they were able to pull
this one off and had 9 of the drivers pose for photos on Friday.
Goodguys PR Director,
John Drummond with four time winner Jim Murphy.
L to R: Art Chrisman (1959),
Don Garlits (1965, 1971, 1979, 1986 & 1987), Gary Beck (1984
& 1985), Butch Blair (1988), Pete Kaiser (1995), Bill Dunlap
(1994 & 1997), Jim Murphy (1998, 1999, 2003 & 2004),
Jack Harris (2001 & 2002), Howard Haight (2005).
At about 2 p.m. on Saturday the
teams were told that they were, barring anymore rain, going to
try to get a one-shot qualifying session in around 3 p.m. It
was time to warm the engine.
Saturday - One-Shot
At 3:51 on a cold afternoon the
first pair of Top Fuel cars finally got a shot at the track.
Murphy chose go in the 8th pair gambling that the track would
get better with more rubber on it. As they prepared to start
the engine it was nearly 4 p.m. The track did have more rubber
but it was still cold and had a very narrow racing groove.
Long time WW2 crewman,
Dave Thornhill backs Murphy up from his burnout.
Doing his burnout in the left
lane, Jim Murphy knew low ET was only a 6.13. Under normal (or
even average) conditions that would be "weak". But
these where not normal or even average conditions and with only
two pairs to go, a .13 was looking way good. In the other lane
was Terry Cox in the Cheetah III car.
Cox smoked the tires
early and could only watch Murphy pull away from him.
The green car
was on the edge from the hit and logged the best 60' time of
The Tim Beebe - Jim Murphy tuned
car never missed a lick and although Murphy got way close to
the wall on the top end his 5.947 at 238.72 would move him to
the head of the class - by a full tenth.
Check out the tire distortion!
Murphy was running the new M&H "C" compound slicks
that are a full 2" taller than previous designs.
Jim made his contribution to
The Patch Insect Abatement Program (burned pistons) but it was
worth it for the time slip they netted.
Top Fuel Qualifying
There is no better praise
than that of a peer.....
"Every time I look at the
photo of Jim Murphy throwing the laundry out it impresses me
more and more that Jim was able to run as good as he did on that
run. Not only is he out in the marbles throwing dirt, but he
is so far out of the groove that you can't even see it in the
picture. These cars are notorious for spinning the tires under
the best of conditions, so for Jim to run a '90' with all of
that working against him is quite amazing. This run is typical
of the challenge that everyone faced. Just keeping the tires
glued to the ground, and the car pointed in the right direction,
was a major challenge that nearly everyone failed to accomplish.
Cheetah III Nostalgia Top Fuel
1. Jim Murphy
- 5.947 @ 238.72
2. Brad Thompson - 6.033 @ 250.13
3. Howard Haight - 6.137 @ 248.00
4. Mendy Fry - 6.185 @ 181.67
5. Sean Bellemeur - 6.223 @ 245.96
6. Brett Harris - 6.233 @ 218.23
7. Shannon Stuart - 6.369 @ 227.33
8. Pete Kaiser - 6.403 @ 232.01
McGee - 6.569 @ 214.95
10. Bill Dunlap - 6.750 @ 202.83
11. Adam Sorokin - 6.980 @ 228.19
12. Jason Richey - 7.251 @ 175.26
13. Terry Cox - 7.316 @ 210.32
14. Rick Rogers - 7.639 @ 180.00
15. Mark Malde - 8.447 @ 99.45
16. Rick Williamson - 8.662 @ 94.92
The crew got the car
ready for battle.
Sunday morning Jim Murphy, Tim
Beebe and Ron Rapadas go over data prior to the first round of
- Round One
Sunday was just that - the first
day in two weeks that predicted NO rain. The Goodguys crew had
cars on the track by 8:00 am trying desperately to salvage the
race and give everyone at least one shot at the show. Everyone
was planning for a very long day and nighttime finals. In spite
of the sun shine and comfortable temps, the massive amounts of
rain would prove to be the winner yet another day.
The only person to win the March
Meet more times than Jim Murphy was Grand Marshall, the legendary
Don Garlits here with Goodguys PR Director John Drummond and
CEO Gary Meadors during the pre race ceremonies.
10:02 a.m. Much nicer
conditions this morning. About 58 degrees and lots of sunshine.
Track temperature in the high 70s. A perfect day for a drag race.
Brian Shamrock activates
the data computer just prior to Jim staging.
#1 qualifier, Murphy was in the
fifth pair out for round one and would face #16 qualifier, Rick
By the 330' mark Murphy
was past and pulling away.
Playing it safe, Murphy had an
unusually slow reaction time (0.238) so for a second or two he
was playing catch up to Williamson.
Before the 1000' mark there were
signs of piston sacrifices but lifting, for Murphy, was not a
Amid oil and smoke, Murphy took
the win and Low ET of the Event (5.917 at 241.41) even lower.
He'd taken the first step in tying Big Daddy Don's record.
After the first round
win the car was hustled back to the pits and repaired.
Still thinking there would be
a second round of eliminations, the crew warmed up the engine
in anticipation of round two.
Shortly after the WW2 Racing
dragster was ready to go the staging lanes the word was handed
down that the event had been canceled. This was the last thing
Jim Murphy and his crew wanted to hear. They were more than poised
to win the event and accomplish what they had set out to do -
win Murphy his 5th March Meet tying him with Garlits. But Mother
Nature had other plans and now they have to wait until next year
to take another shot at tying the record. A huge disappointment
for everyone - especially Jim.
Bakersfield, CA Wet track
conditions caused by weepers (pockets of water seeping
through tiny cracks in the asphalt) forced Goodguys/VRA officials
to cancel all racing at the 47th March Meet. Water from weeks
of rain continued to seep through the racing surface today even
though the weather conditions were perfect for racing.
The day started off with some
sportsman eliminations and continued with round one of top fuel.
Conditions were fine with Visalias Brad Thompson running
Low ET of the meet at 5.862. After a couple more hours of racing
water started seeping up through the racing surface in several
areas causing the cancellation of the event.
Goodguys officials deemed the
race canceled at 1:30pm. There will be no rerun.
The 47th March Meet got off to
an inauspicious start when it was postponed a week due to rain.
The rerun this weekend was not much better with most of the first
two days washed out due to passing rain showers.
Its as frustrating
as it gets, said Goodguys President Gary Meadors. The
racers and the officials both agreed that the conditions were
not suitable for further competition.
The next Goodguys West Coast
Championship Series event, the 9th Pomona Nitro Nationals, is
scheduled for May 5-7 at Pomona Raceway.
AA/FD Inc. - Nostalgia Top Fuel Teams
And so ended a very disappointing
weekend for the WW2 Racing team. Their sights are now set on
the VRA May race in Pomona.