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Human Error Takes Murphy Out In Round Two




The Goodguys, 9th Pomona Nitro Nationals was everything the ill-fated March Meet wasn't. Mother Nature gave three days of ideal racing temps and Sean Bellemeur and the High Speed Motorsports team took full advantage of it. After qualifying solidly in the top half of the field Murphy, Beebe and crew were very optimistic about going rounds and winning the event. In round one Murphy ran a stellar 5.859 (low ET of the round) at 252.52 and was sure the car would run better in later rounds.

Sunday morning Murphy was paired with tough customer and great leaver Sean Bellemeur. In an attempt to sharpen his starting line reflexes Murphy spend the time before racing began to use his practice tree which simulates the "Christmas tree" starting system on the track. In the interim they warmed up the engine. For reasons he'll never understand, for the first time in nearly 40 years of racing Murphy forgot to refill the fuel tank after the car was warmed up. The results are documented below.

Photos and full story below.



The first session of qualifying was held early Friday afternoon. The final pair to take a shot in were Jim Murphy in his WW2 Racing fueler and Terry Cox in the Rodeck & Cox "Cheetah III". Murphy's burnout produced little or no smoke (above).


In spite of the weak burnout Murphy left without incident.




Both cars were testing the waters and clocked respectable times. Murphy 6.090 @ 229.43 and Cox 6.058 @ 231.04.






Between qualifying sessions the crew did their normal maintenance.








Three teams chose to sit out the 2nd session late Friday afternoon which left Murphy with the track to himself on the mandatory lane switch rule during qualifying.



Backing up from the burnout.


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.


The green car left like a rocket and the time slip showed it.




A 5.946 @ 244.21 moved Jim up to the #4 spot.




The Fourth pair out for the third and last qualifying session was Jim Murphy and Jason Richey.




Murphy guided back from his burnout by Dave Thornhill.



Murphy moves in to stage.


Both cars left hard at the green.





Richey, who had improved on each pass, put it all together and just missed being the third driver ever to go 260 mph in a front engined TF car. His 5.881 at 259.16 was the best of the session and moved him into the #4 spot. Murphy was right there with a 5.917 at 249.30 which left him in the #5 spot.





Top Fuel Qualifying after 3 Sessions
1. Brett Harris -  5.828 @ 260.26
2. Brad Thompson  - 5.841 @ 248.80
3. Sean Bellemeur  -  5.849 @ 254.57
4. Jason Richey  - 5.881 @ 259.16
5. Denver Schutz  - 5.914 @ 244.16
6. Jim Murphy  -  5.917 @ 249.30
7. Mendy Fry  -  5.919 @ 243.99
8. Adam Sorokin  -  5.958 250.83
9.   Terry Cox  -  5.980 @ 240.38
10. Rick McGee  -  5.982 @ 248.02
11. Pete Kaiser -  6.013 @ 250.97
12. Rick White  - 6.040 242.54
13. Brendan Murry -  6.054 @ 240.29
14. Bill Dunlap  - 6.176 @ 230.88
15. Shannon Stewart  - 6.180 @ 213.30
16. Rick Rogers  -  6.464 @ 229.86




Another great race as Kaiser took a huge lead at the hit with a 0.048 light to Murphy's sub-par 0.118.




However, Kaiser's 5.979 at 244.43 couldn't hold off Murphy's 5.859 at 252.52 on the big end. Murphy's MOV: 0.0500 seconds (approximately 18 feet).




Pair three of round two had all the makings of yet another great drag race. The vet Jim Murphy and young gun Sean Bellemeur. The burnouts went fine but...




Like everything else during a run the backup ritual remains the same.





Just as Murphy was moving forward to stage the engine started to lean out and then went silent... out of fuel.


As the High Speed Motorsports crew readied Bellemeur for staging a dejected WW2 Racing team were pushing Murphy back to the pits.



To quote Murphy, "I just found my 578th way to lose a race." Blaming only himself, the car did not get re-fueled between rounds. It was a first in his nearly 40 years of racing. Like golf, drag racing is a sport where you can do myriad things wrong but can only win when you do everything right. In typical Murphy fashion, he was smiling on the outside but kicking himself on the inside. You can bet that this car will never go to the line without a full tank again.



Related Link

AA/FD Inc. - Nostalgia Top Fuel Teams


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