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Broken Driveline Ends Murphy's Season 1 Round Early

Page One




Bakersfield, CA - October 12-14, 2007: The 16th NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion lived up to its star billing in spades. From the opening of the gates on Friday, record crowds filled Famoso Raceway and considering this is one of the two premier nostalgia drag racing events in the country, the teams came here loaded for bear with one thought in mind - winning. 21 Top Fuel dragsters rolled in for the 16 car show and what a show it was.

Coming off a strong outing at the Governors Cup, Jim Murphy and the WW2 Racing team had a very optimistic outlook going into the 16th California Hot Rod Reunion (a race they had won last year). Murphy and Crew Chief, Tim Beebe felt the car was peaking just in time to win the prestigious CHRR along with the 2007 AA/FD Points Series championship. In spite of some rain on Friday the rest of the weekend at Bakersfield featured near perfect racing weather and as always, the track itself was in suburb condition. Murphy's ducks were forming a nice row.

When qualifying ended Saturday afternoon the WW2 fueler was sitting #2 with a very strong 5.77 at 257 MPH. The engine was not hurting any parts and Murphy knew he had a lot more left in the tune-up if needed. After running an 80 in the first round and another 70 in the second round of eliminations on Sunday, Murphy faced Pete Kaiser in the semi-finals - a race he also won but at a price. On the top end they broke a pinion in the third member which in turn hurt the clutch and clutch can. Unfortunately they did not have a spare third member or a spare clutch can so they were done for the day. Kaiser was reinstated into the final via the break rule where he lost to Brad Thompson.

Photos and full story below.






Since everyone was set up by Thursday, Friday started out somewhat laid back as the first qualifying session wasn't scheduled until 3 PM.


3:10PM After five Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragsters completed their first qualifying runs, rain postponed the completion of the program for the day. The remaining cars were scheduled to take their first attempt at At 10:00AM on Saturday.




Friday's rain lingered until early Saturday so the 10:00AM schedule was moved to noon.


At 11:00AM the team warmed up the engine.










Saturday - Qualifying Session One


Under cloudy skies Murphy heated the tires for his first shot at a Bakersfield track with "teeth" (excellent racing surface). He was paired with another strong car, Brett Harris.






Dave Thornhill observes the engine as Murphy backs up in his tracks.



As Murphy moves into the staging beams, the tires are scraped clean of any debris they may have picked up.


The car was set up to run "a number" and left hard.














With Harris having his share of problems in the other lane, Murphy never missed a lick and shut off with a pace setting 5.871 at 250.90. They had a solid base line and found that the engine had "a lot more" in it.





Saturday - Qualifying Session Two

The first pair for session two fired at 5:09 p.m. Weather conditions: relative humidity 64 percent, barometer 29.87 inches, track temperature 78 degrees


Jim Murphy and Rick McGee share some laughs before they would pair up in the second, and last, qualifying session. Murphy was sitting # 2 and McGee was not qualified.



Both driver get in their respective cars. They would be the forth pair to run.




Murphy starts his burnout.





Once again, Thornhill oversees the back-up.



This time the car left even harder and netted a time slip to prove it - a super strong 5.774 at 257.43 (top speed qualifying). This would leave Murphy # 2 behind Brad Thompson's 5.74.






As the night air set in, the car has been serviced and ready for round one of eliminations on Sunday.




Page Two: Sunday Eliminations


Top Fuel Qualifying - Final Order
1. Brad Thompson  -  5.741 at 255.89
2. Jim Murphy  -  
5.774 at 257.43
3. Adam Sorokin  -  5.816 at 239.61
4. Troy Green  -  5.830 at 251.04
5. Brett Harris  -  5.879 at 244.69
6. Pete Kaiser  -  5.885 at 243.04
7. Denver Schutz -  5.886 at 250.62
8. Rick White  -  5.929 at 244.16
9.   Rick Williamson  -  5.929 at 228.65
10. Jack Harris  -  5.932 at 230.65
11. Scott Mason - 5.934 at 238.66
12. Jason Richey  -  5.939 at 228.19
13. Shannon Stewart -  6.012 at 228.42
14. Howard Haight  -  6.073 at 223.15
15. Mike McClennan  -  6.082 at 235.60
16. Rick Rogers  -  6.104 at 250.34

17. Rick McGee  -  6.123 at 244.23
18. Mark Malde  -  6.135 at 233.03
19. Brendan Murry  -  6.241 at 220.04
20. John Shoemaker  -  6.314 at 215.77
21. Mendy Fry  -  7.766 at 175.88


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