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June 12-14 2014

Murphy Loses in Semi Final



BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (June 15) – The NHRA Motorsports Museum Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA came to a thrilling close on Saturday after three action packed days of racing and honoring NHRA drag racing and cacklecar legends. Grandstands filled to capacity on Saturday with fans three deep standing by the fences down the quarter mile.

Jim Murphy returned to Kentucky to defend his Top Fuel title and Tony Bartone came to attempt to further his 2014 points lead. Both had high hopes of leaving with the Wally but only one survived. In spite of losing to Bartone in the semis, Murphy moved from 9th to 3rd in the points race, just one point out of second.

This year saw Top Fuel return in strength with 10 cars vying for a spot in the eight car show.

Dave Hirata was back in Dale Suhr's “Orange Crate” and he led the field following Thursday's initial qualifying session with a 5.843 at a stout 254.71 mph followed by Tony Bartone with an early shut off 5.95. After two sessions on Friday, June 13, Bartone was on top of the list with a 5.830, again slowing on the top end. Hirata's earlier run held up for second and Jimmy Young was third with a 6.013 in Steve and Ernie McClain's car, just ahead of Jim Murphy's 6.057 and Randy Bridges' 6.084. Dave Miller, Lincoln Hassell and Roger Letchenberg filled out the field with Jerry Kumre and Jason Greenwood missing the cut.





As is done for every trip down the quarter mile, the car was warmed up (timing, check for leaks etc.) before the first qualifying session.










First Qualifying Session


The cars hit the staging lanes on Thursday afternoon for the first of two qualifying sessions.







Murphy was paired with Dave Hirata in Dale Suhr’s “Orange Crate” out of Iowa.









Both cars left hard but...






Just past the tree Murphy started smoking the tires and soon after called it quits.



Hirata went low to that point while sacrificing some pistons to the aluminum gods.



Murphy went back to check the data in preparation for the Friday session.





Second Qualifying Session


In the second session Murphy had Jerry Kumre Jr. in the other lane. Krume was making his first and only attempt.








Murphy left hard and appeared to be on a good run..






But at half track Murphy's car started getting out of the groove.


He couldn't reel it back in and had to lift. This killed his chance.








Final Qualifying Order

1. Tony Bartone -  5.830 @ 228.31
2. Dave Hirata -  5.843 @ 254.71
3. Jim Young  - 6.013 @ 232.43
4. Jim Murphy -  6.057 @ 202.48.
5. Randy Bridges - 6.084 @ 205.76.
6. Dave Miller - 6.721 @ 181.72.
7. Lincoln Hassell - 6.776 @ 186.67
8. Roger Lechtenberg - 6.849 @ 159.21

------------ Not Qualified ------------

9. Jerry Kumre Jr  - 7.354 @ 161.29
10. Jason Greenwood - DNQ



Top Fuel Round One









This was his first pass in the car but between his years of experience and faith in this battle proven piece, he legged it.





Murphy left first by a tenth and never looked back.















Piston damage aside, Murphy picked it up with a nice 5.823 at 248.43. This put him back in the game.





Eliminations - Round Two




In round two it was Murphy vs the 2014 March Meet winner, Tony Bartone.








Both cars left together.









They were side by side until Murphy's engine started burning the #4 piston (again) allowing Bartone to power on for the win.

As stated earlier, in spite of the loss Murphy moved from 9th to 3rd in the points race, just one point out of second in the 2014 points chase. This will make the final two races very interesting.






Check out where Murphy and Team are racing next....
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