PARK - JUNE 7, 2008: Top fuel dragsters, long the mainstay for
nostalgia drag racing on the West Coast, were the headline attraction
for Sacramento Raceway's 32nd Nitro Nite of Fire. Coming on the
heels of a NHRA Heritage Series race just a week before and scheduled
for the same week as a hot rod reunion in Bowling Green, the
event still attracted seven of California's best nostalgia top
fuel dragsters for the Chicago-style elimination program. It
turned out to be quite a memorable show as Jim Murphy and his
WW2 Racing TFD rewrote the track e.t. record in the final round
against Rick White.
In what might
have been the last appearance for the venerable '03 Stirling
car, Murphy showed that the dependable and resilient piece of
pipe still had what it took to pound out the big numbers. Jim
has long maintained that the less-esteemed left lane was just
as good as the right lane, and he proved that belief correct
when he out-dueled Rick White in what was the best top fuel race
in the history of the track. Though Murphy left first (.123 to
.157), White pulled even by 330' and appeared to be pulling away
when his '06 Hansen car made a move toward the center right as
he approached the finish line. Clipping a cone, Rick was forced
to get out of it, and that gave Murphy just enough time to regain
the lead and record the historic 5.789-254.87 to White's 5.810-234.57.
Rick White and Chuck Neal have to wonder what it will take to
get a win at Sacramento Raceway? They have been to the last three
finals at Sacramento Raceway, but have come up second best each
time. At last year's Governor's Cup, White made five runs in
the 5s (slowest was 5.91), but lost to Brad Thompson in the final
with a 5.84! At the NNF, Rick ran three 5s, was the #1 qualifier
at 5.840, set top speed of the event at 256.04, yet could not
beat his old antagonist Murphy. But, there is no doubt that the
2006 Goodguys champ is in top form and White-Neal will be a formidable
opponent for the rest of the teams come Boise in August.
As for Murphy
and WW2 Racing, a new Dave Thornhill car is just about finished
and ready for testing and should be ready to race at the Pepsi
Nightfire Nationals come August 7th-10th.
Murphy, running in the right
lane, had a magnitude of problems including a smokeless burnout
and a pass that was very un-Murphy like (which included a lot
of clutch dust, too). McLennan, in the left lane, had a huge
explosion at 1100', crossed over in the right lane, dodged Murphy,
and then parked the still smoking Uyehara car along the K rail.
The dragster kept running for some time before Mike unbuckled
and calmly got out of the car. But, that run effectively ended
the day for Mike Fuller Motorsports as the damage to the engine
was too extensive to repair in the time remaining before Q2.