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45th March Meet

Murphy Wins Unprecedented 4th March Meet


Winners Circle




Jim Murphy and the OSH-WW2 Racing team started the 2004 season the same note they ended the 2003 campaign - with a huge win. The March Meet has been held at the Famoso Raceway outside Bakersfield, CA for the last 45 years. Next to the US Nationals, it is the longest running annual event in drag racing. In four decades only one driver has won Top Fuel Eliminator four times ... Jim Murphy. Until this year Murphy was tied with Don Garlits and James Warren at three wins a piece. Now he stands alone grabbing the gold in 1998, 1999, 2003 and now 2004.

After a weekend of record crowds, when the warm California sun set Sunday evening, Jim Murphy and the OSH -WW2 Racing crew were the victors over another stellar field of Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragsters. The final pitted the two quickest cars on the property, the yellow and black OSH entry of Murphy and the VRA Speed record holder, Jack "The Sheriff" Harris in his "Nitro Thunder" fueler. Murphy's 5.88 @ 247 was just enough to beat Harris' 5.92 @ 241 and give the OSH team their first step in repeating the VRA Top Fuel Championship and keeping the big # 1 on the car.

Enjoy the entire story and photos below.



Final Top Fuel Qualifying

'A' Field

1. Jack Harris 5.907 @ 252.80
2. Jim Murphy 5.919 @ 255.31
3. Bill Dunlap 5.937 @ 221.72
4. Jeff Diehl 5.995 @ 247.45
5. Jason Richey 6.071 @ 241.22
6. Brendan Murry 6.137 @ 230.59
7. Pete Kaiser 6.145 @ 229.59
8. Chuck Tanko 6.173 @ 227.50

 'B' Field

 9. Sean Bellemeur 6.178 @ 238.03
10. Lee Jennings 6.207 @ 227.73
11. Rick White 6.377 @ 163.69
12. Rick McGee 6.380 @ 175.91
13. Denver Schutz 6.412 @ 226.07
14. Rick Rogers 6.554 @ 202.93
15. Mark Malde 6.614 @ 215.67
16. Dusty Renteria 6.702 @ 184.53



Jim Murphy's weekend started as good as it ended. On Thursday night he accepted the 2003 Goodguys/VRA Top Fuel Champion trophy and the Goodguys awards ceremony.





The first qualifying session was held on Friday afternoon. Here Murphy heats the tires prior to his first trip down the quarter mile in 2004.



Playing it safe, the OSH-WW2 Racing crew carded an easy 6.191 @ 216.39. The clutch was a bit loose and Murphy shut the car off early.






Qualifying session #2 - Saturday AM. Murphy is still in tune-up mode. Here he heats the tires prior to the run.




Murphy rolls into the staging lights.


After a good leave, the OSH-WW2 Racing entry launched hard and ultimately improved their time with a 6.123 at just 205.19. Murphy shut the car off early so they could get a solid computer reading for the final qualifying shot later in the day.








As always, the pits is where races are won and lost. The OSH-WW2 Racing crew may be a volunteer group but they know how to get the job done.



Jim Murphy and Ron Rapadas do some last minute touch ups on the potent hemi engine prior to their third qualifying attempt on Saturday.



Crew Chief, Tim Beebe is one of the main reasons for Murphy's success. Tim has been in drag racing his entire adult life and has forgotten more than most tuners will ever know.




The WW2 "Womens Auxilery" knows how to enjoy a drag race!



The third and final qualifying round was held late Saturday afternoon. Here Murphy is lined up in the water box prior to his burnout.


Tires get good and hot. This will be an all out attempt at the #1 spot.


"Sneaking up" on the tune-up paid off as Murphy cards a stellar 5.919 @ 255.31 (top speed of the meet). At the time is was good for the #1 qualifying spot. Jim would be dropped two runs later to #2 by Jack Harris by on one hundredth of a second.








The OSH-WW2 Racing team are obviously pleased with their final qualifying run. The crowd is on their feet with approval.




Prior to the second qualifying session, Murphy and crew chief, Tim Beebe check out the starting line conditions during A/Fuel.



Sunday, March 13 - Eliminations


The first round of racing on Sunday found Murphy pitted against the #7 qualifier, Pete Kaiser.



Murphy and Kaiser back up from their burnouts.


The OSH-WW2 Racing car left hard and pulled away to a 5.96 @ 220 win over Kaiser's game 6.15 @ 229.











A new addition to Murphy's pit area this year is the OSH Hospitality Center. Throughout the weekend friends and fans alike stopped by for a cold drink, a snack or just conversation. If their timing was right, some folks got some great tri-tip.





Without a doubt, the OSH "bucket campaign" is a huge hit with the fans. By the time Sunday rolled around, they where everywhere you looked.



Jim Murphy always packs his own parachutes but not without the help of young Rick Nordness. Rick also helps Jim with mixing the fuel.






Round Two of racing paired Murphy with Brendan Murry.


From the green light it was Murphy all the way. Murry, down on horsepower, could only muster a 6.70 @ 188 and watch the yellow car card a sub-par 6.32 for the win.








Murphy dodged a bullet in this race when the engine suffered some internal damage accounting for the 6.32 ET. Had Murry been on his game the results could have been different.





Before the finals it was all business in the pits.





The final pitted the #1 and #2 qualifiers - Murphy vs Harris. A match up the fans pay their money for. Friends off the track - fierce rivals on - when these two come to the line there is no quarter given, no easy tune-up - no shut off early.



Barry Byrne backs Jim up after the burnout.



At the green, both cars left together.





To say this was a great drag race would be an understatement.


At the 1200' mark you could throw a blanket over both cars.




At the stripe it was Murphy with a stout 5.888 (low ET of the meet) @ 247 to Harris' very close 5.92 @ 241. These are the kinds of races that keep the fans coming back for more!





After getting out of the car, the look on Jim Murphy's face says it all.



Before returning to the chaos at the Winners Circle, the crew posed for WDIFL on the top end. Everyone in this shot played a part in this historic win.



This picture says a thousand words.....



All is well that ends well. Jim Murphy and the Top Fuel Eliminator trophy for the 45th annual March Meet.



Related Link

AA/FD Inc. - Nostalgia Top Fuel Teams


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