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.
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.
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.
At 11:00AM the team warmed
up the engine.
Saturday - Qualifying
Friday's rain lingered
until early Saturday so the 10:00AM schedule was moved to noon.
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.
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.
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"
Saturday - Qualifying
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
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.
the night air set in, the car has been serviced and ready for
round one of eliminations on Sunday.