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CHRR 2002




Jim Murphy and the OSH-WW2 Racing team is getting tired of winning battles but not wars. This was the case again at the 2002 CHRR. With the problems that plagued the team earlier in the season found and solved, expectations were high for this event, one that Murphy has won twice in the past. With only two qualifying sessions, both on Saturday, none of the 27 Nostalgia Top Fuel cars in the pits could afford to make mistakes including WW2 Racing. After a nice 6.12 first attempt, Murphy came back in the second session to run a "safe" 6.06 @ 234 MPH landing them solidly in the # 5 qualifying position of the quickest NTF field in history. With a mere .10 of a second separating the # 1 and # 8 qualifiers, Sunday eliminations were deemed "anybody's race". That anybody turned out to be Jack Harris from Utah but for another stroke of "freak luck" it might have been Murphy. Enjoy the full story and photos below.


Final Top Fuel Qualifying

"A" Field

1. Gerry Steiner 5.999 244.43
2. Jack Harris 6.004 179.56
3. Glenn Hutchenson 6.01 235.10
4. Rich Howell 6.013 194.84
5. Jim Murphy 6.063 234.19
6. Rick McGee 6.066 219.51
7. Bob Hallock 6.071 211.01
8. John Shoemaker  6.095 217.07

"B" Field 

9. Bill Dunlap 6.098 229.88
10. Brendan Murry 6.102 217.67
11. Troy Green  6.123 227.73
12. Kerry Moreira 6.149 236.15
13. Bill Alexander   6.152 218.87
14. Denver Schutz   6.171 226.81
15. Lee Jennings   6.199 211.61
16. Marc Malde   6.208 219.35



ready to rumble

Rolling though water box prior to burnout.


1st burnout

The first qualifying session on Saturday netted the team a "safe" 6.12 which was good but not good enough to ultimately make the "A Field". Session Two would be crucial.


from rear


1st session

From the beginning of Top Fuel qualifying it was obvious that the track personnel had done an excellent job preparing the racing surface. All weekend long only one car smoked the tires - that is the true testament of the "bite". Here Murphy launches on his 6.12 run... rear tires glued to the surface, car perfectly balanced.



pits 1

Warming up prior to Saturday's second qualifying session. The "warm up" procedure is done back in the pits prior to every run the car makes. This is done to (a) get some heat in the engine and more importantly, to make sure there are no leaks or other problems.


pits 2

3000 HP nitro hemi on the hoof. i.e. - a beautiful bomb.



hot days

Temperatures on Saturday and Sunday hovered in the 90 degree range and there were umbrellas everywhere - mostly keeping the drivers shaded while they sat in 6 layer fire suits waiting to run. One of the many hats worn by Cheryl Grisel is "keeper of the shade".






rolling up


in staging



fire up 1

Crew Chief Tim Beebe squirts gas into the injector (to help engine start) before activating the remote starter (below).


fire up 2


water box

Saturday - Qualifying Session Two ... WW2 rolls though the water box before burnout.


2nd session

Murphy does his typical short and smoky burnout.




back up

Barry Byrne backs Murphy back to the starting line making sure he stays in "the groove" (the track surface with the best traction). Backing up in the same tracks you made on the burnout is crucial to the best start possible. Note the SRO crowd that lined the Fomosa quarter mile.


leave 1

Backing up.


leave 2

The second qualifying session got underway about 3 PM, right in the heat of the day. Normally 90 degree air temps make for a hot and "unstable" track. The concern is spinning or smoking the tires on the less than ideal surface. With that thought in mind, Murphy tweaked the tune-up and set out to give the track all it would take.


leave 3

Rear tires hooked up, front end dangling in the air, Murphy's on his way to a "safe" but quick 6.06 @ 234 MPH. This put them in the # 5 spot of the top eight and gave Murphy and Tim Beebe the data they would use for their first round match up with Gerry Steiner on Sunday. All was good.


leave 4


leave 5



Both cars come to a safe stop - Murphy in the show, Ginsberg is not.



Murphy literally had his tongue hanging out after this run!



pits 1

Firmly in the field, the crew prepares the car for Sunday's eliminations. Here are several candid pit shots of Ron Rapadas, Barry Byrne, David Thornhill, Gary Grisel, Jeff Shamrock, Brian Shamrock, Jon Moore, the "WW2 Women's Auxiliary", Tim Beebe and Jim Murphy at work.


pits 2


pits 3

Jim Murphy mixes his own fuel. Here he is checking the "percentage" (nitro vs alcohol) with a hydrometer. Since most fuel cars cannot run straight nitromethane, the percentage is cut with methanol so the engine is actually getting anywhere from 92 to 95 (depending on the tune up) percent nitro.


pits 4


pits 5


pits 6


pits 7



getting ready

On Sunday morning the first round of Top Fuel "A" saw # 5 qualifier, Jim Murphy paired up with # 1 qualifier, Gerry Steiner. This is a pay-for-view final at any nostalgia race in the world.


back off

Tim Beebe backs down (makes sure there is no raw fuel in the cylinders) the potent WW2 hemi just prior to Murphy getting into the car.


get in


check belts



After their burnouts both Gerry Steiner and Jim Murphy stage for their first round match-up. In the closest race of the weekend (and there were several close races) Murphy sent Steiner packing with a hole shot win that was determined by less than 13 inches at the finish line! Murphy's 6.026 @ 239.10) just did defeat Gerry Steiner's quicker and faster (5.985 @ 249.51).


Murphy leave

As illustrated above, the new M&H tires were working flawlessly all weekend giving the fuel cars a rare chance to use more horsepower.


Murphy lead

At the 300' mark Murphy was a good 3/4 of a car ahead of Steiner. Try as he did, Gerry was never able to make up the starting line deficit and failed to run down (catch) Murphy.





An elated crew head down to pick up the car after their first round win over Steiner.



pits Sun

After their huge win over Steiner, the WW2 team got back to the pits and started preparing for round two against Glenn Hutchinson.


pits Sun 2


Pits Sunday 3



round two

In round two, all looked fine during the burnout.



After his win over Steiner in round one, most of the smart money was on Murphy to defeat Hutchinson in the semis setting up Nitro Thunder - OSH-WW2 Racing final.


BO 3


back up

Backing up from the burnout there was no indication that the car was broken.



Winning was not to be as the WW2 car broke a rod bolt on the burnout and had to sit dejected as the Foothill Flyer took an early shut-off single. Jim Murphy climbed out of the car and like everyone else was asking, "what happened this time?" Later it came down to... "That's drag racing".


Parting Shots


Leong - Murphy

Murphy spends some time with Roland Leong, legendary dragster and funny car owner.



Old friends Jim Murphy, Tim Beebe and Roland Leong.


5-Second Club

Jim Murphy accepts his "5-Second Club" jacket during the Nitronic Research presentation ceremony on Saturday. Jim Sorenson has that look of a tailor to him as he inspects the goods.

photo & commentary by Vic Cooke



Related Link

AA/FD Inc. - Nostalgia Top Fuel Teams


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