Goodguys Fuel & Gas Finals Caps Vintage Drag Racing Season
By John Drummond
|Veteran Howard Haight drove Butch Blair’s “Fugowie” Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragster to his third Goodguys Top Fuel win of the season, defeating Rick White in the finals of the Goodguys 7th Fuel & Gas Finals at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield. Photo by Rich Enos|
Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA – The 2005 Goodguys/VRA season came to a rough and tumble end this past weekend at storied Famoso Raceway. Coming into the event, 11 of the 14 class championships were still undecided which provided for an anxious weekend for nostalgia drag racing’s top teams. The weekend was carnage filled with five major incidents, one of which turned sadly fatal when 76 year old Roy Moore of Santa Paula suffered in a crash in C/GAS competition. Moore was flown to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield where he succumbed to his injuries later that evening.
In Nostalgia Top Fuel action, Upland, California’s Howard Haight won his third Goodguys event title of the season driving Butch Blair’s “Fugowie”dragster. Haight used consistent performances and some luck to advance to the final where he squared off with newly crowned Goodguys/VRA Top Fuel Champion Rick White of San Diego. At the flash of green, Haight streaked to a 5.99 @ 251.04 to defeat White who went up in tire smoke.
|Larry Pettit dominated the competition at the 7th Fuel & Gas Finals winning the event and the 2005 Goodguys Class Championship as well as becoming the first Nostalgia Funny Car racer to run a 5-second time. He set the new class ET record at 5.927 driving he and partner George Doty’s “Crazy Horse 1971 Mustang. Photo by Dawn-Mazi Hovsepian.|
The story in the Nostalgia Funny Car division was the record breaking performances of Hawthorne, California’s Larry Pettit. Driving he and partner George Doty’s “Crazy Horse” 1971 Mustang funny car, he became the first driver to ever record a sub-six second run in a Goodguys/VRA-legal Nostalgia Funny Car when he blasted to a 5.928 during qualifying. He backed it up the next day with an even quicker run establishing a new class elapsed time record of 5.927. During Sunday’s eliminations Pettit won the class championship title in dramatic fashion by overtaking points leader Dan Horan Jr. in a semi-final clash. Leaving nothing on the table, the Doty & Pettit team then defeated Nostalgia Funny Car rookie Dennis LaCharite in the final round, running a 6.167 @ 232.25 to LaCharite’s tire spinning 6.468 @ 223.43.
Event A/Fuel and class championship honors went to Claude LaVoie of Sherwood Park Alberta Canada when he ran a 6.492 @ 195.65 in the final to defeat teammate Kin Bates. During qualifying, LaVoie ran the quickest run in class history at 6.179 but he wasn’t able to back up the historic run.
Chris Abbey of Clovis took advantage of the Goodguys/VRA break rule to get back into eliminations after suffering an opening round defeat at the hands of Sean Renteria in AA/GAS competition. When Renteria couldn’t return for the semi-finals, Abbey was re-instated via the break rule and quickly took advantage advancing to his 4th final round of the year. He soundly defeated final round opponent Ronnie Nunes with a 6.613 @ 209 in the trophy dash for his second event win of the season – a season in which he dominated the class with breathtaking performances, running Low ET and Top Speed of every 2005 Goodguys/VRA event. With the win, Abbey and partner George Goshgarian won their first Goodguys AA/GAS class Championship.
The final round of Junior Fuel competition turned scary right at the hit of the throttle for veteran JD Zink of Chico, California. Zink went into a power wheelstand at the flash of the green light which sent his dragster all the way over backwards then barrel rolling several times before coming to a stop against the guardrail. Opponent Stu Sandhaus, who traveled all the way from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to compete here, got his first Goodguys Jr. Fuel win running a 7.065 @ 184.61, but of course all eyes were focused on Zink. Zink was cut from his car and taken via ambulance to Kern Medical Center for observation. He gave an emphatic waive to the prior to being loaded into the ambulance and was conscious and joking with safety officials.
|The left front wheel and tie rod flew off the fabled “Winged Express” AA/Fuel Atered midway through an exhibition run, sending the car into the guardrail. The car then barrel rolled before coming to rest upside down. Driver Mike Boys escaped uninjured. Photo by Dawn Mazi-Hovsepian.|
In yet another crash earlier in the day, Mike Boyd escaped serious injury when the fabled “Winged Express” AA/Fuel Altered crashed into the retaining wall during an exhibition run. The car lost the left front wheel and tie rod midway down the track which sent the car left into the retaining wall were it scrubbed off speed but eventually barrel rolled twice before coming to a stop. Boyd was out of the car before safety crews arrived on the scene but the historic race car looked to be sadly destroyed. Late word from team patriarch Al “Mousie” Marcellus is that they will rebuild the machine for next season and beyond.
Other winners at the Goodguys 7th Fuel & Gas Finals were Don Enriquez (Junior Fuel B), Steve Castelli (A/GAS), Don Taros (Nostalgia Eliminator), Dan See (Nostalgia II), Eric Christianson (Nostalgia III), Red McGuiness (B/GAS), John Contreras (C/GAS), Brian Faulk (D/GAS) and Kevin Houmard (Hot Rod).
2005 Goodguys/VRA Class Champions:
Top Fuel: Rick White
Funny Car: Larry Pettit
A/Fuel: Claude LaVoie
AA/GAS: Chris Abbey
Junior Fuel: Scott Parks
Junior Fuel B: John Rasmussen
A/GAS: Steve Castelli
B/GAS: Robert Patten
C/GAS: Steve Galileo
D/GAS: Ed Carey
Nostalgia Eliminator: Don Taros
Nostalgia II: Robert Lander
Nostalgia III: Craig Wallace
Hot Rod Eliminator: “Papa” Joe Furiani
Goodguys 7th Fuel & Gas Finals – Official Results:
October 28-30, 2005
Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA
Winner: Howard Haight, Upland, CA 5.991 @ 251.04
R/U: Rick White, San Diego, CA 15.67 @ 53.01
Winner: Larry Pettit, Hawthorne, CA, ’71 Mustang 6.167 @ 232.25
R/U: Dennis LaCharite, Palos Verdes, CA ’69 Corvette 6.468 @ 223.43
Winner: Claude LaVoie, Sherwood Park, AB, 6.492 @ 195.65
R/U: Kin Bates, Anderson, CA 8.625 @ 110.94
Winner: Chris Abbey, Clovis, CA ’63 Corvette 6.613 @ 209.30
R/U: Ron Nunes, Danville, CA, ’63 Corvette 8.642 @ 96.96
Winner: Stu Standhaus, Pittsburg, PA, 7.097 @ 185.98
R/U: JD Zink, Chico, CA (no time)
Junior Fuel B:
Winner: Don Enriquez, Mission Viejo, CA 7.274 @ 182.37
R/U: Bud Hammer, Oxnard, CA 7.400 @ 183.07
Winner: Steve Castelli, Windsor, CA, ’41 Willys 7.610 @ 177.06
R/U: Mike Thielen, Olympia, WA, ’67 Camaro 7.668 @ 164.83
Winner: Red McGuiness, Visalia, CA, ’70 Ford 9.968 @ 101.72
R/U: Jim Teague, Sanger, CA, ’63 Chevy 8.500 @ 156.76 (foul)
Winner: John Contreras, San Francisco, CA, ’65 Olds, 9.665 @ 136.86
R/U: Steve Galileo, San Francisco, CA ’64 Ford 9.686 @ 137.95
Winner: Brian Faulk, Bakersfield, CA, ’63 Chevy 10.619 @ 121.39
R/U: Jody George, Bakersfield, CA, ’57 Chevy 10.619 @ 123.79
Winner: Don Taros, San Pedro, CA 7.665 @ 161.43
R/U: Don Dicero, Vacaville, CA 7.643 @ 174.65
Winner: Dan See, Fresno, CA ’23 Ford 8.656 @ 155.22
R/U: Jay Huckleberry, Porterville, CA ’23 Ford 8.558 @ 133.98 (foul)
Winner: Eric Christianson, Camarillo, CA ’48 Fiat, 9.878 @ 115.62
R/U: John Eckelson, Auburn, CA ’23 Ford, 9.994 @ 137.40
Hot Rod Eliminator:
Winner: Kevin Houmard, San Dimas, CA ’70 Chevy 9.599 @ 122.53
R/U: Michael Furiani, San Dimas, CA, ’67 Chevy 10.195 @ 131.32
Goodguys Rod & Custom Association