Lippencott Jr Wins Top Fuel at Indy!
By John Drummond
Clermont, IN - Burbank, CA's Bob Muravez, better known in drag racing circles as "Floyd Lippencott Jr" captured his first-ever Goodguys Top Fuel crown at the 13th Hot Rod Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park by defeating Roger Lechtenberg of Cedar Falls, IA. "This is my fifth time competing at IRP and five has always been my lucky number," said the jubilant driver of John & Linda Halstead's San Diego, CA based "Western Hoist Special" vintage top fuel dragster. "The last time I raced at Indy was in 1970 driving John & Linda Peters' Freight Train'. Something would always bight me here at Indy, but today was my day. This is unbelievable!"
The Top Fuel final was incredibly close at the finish line with Muravez' 6.17 @ 234 just edging Lechtenberg's 6.21 @ 242. Muravez was quick to point out crew chief Chris Nance and car owner John Halstead should get the credit for the car's performance. "The guys put together a new combination after our win in Top Fuel B at the Goodguys Spring Classic in Las Vegas," he said. They changed the magneto drive and added a Pete Jackson fuel system complete with a hi-speed lean out. It worked wonders today!" The 63 year-old Muravez', who is still an active member of the "Road Kings" car club, had a benchmark weekend as his qualifying time of 6.17 was a career best. Things continued to progress nicely from that point as he defeated Fred Bach's Ford powered entry in round one with a consistent 6.18, then got lucky in the semis by defeating Kent Terry. In the race, Muravez smoked the tires off the starting line, pedaled furiously managing to get by Terry on the top end 6.78 to the loser's 6.82. Other finalist Roger Lechtenberg got to the finals by beating Jack "The Sheriff" Harris with a 6.22 in round one, then defeated a tire smoking Bill Dunlap in the semi's with a "Heat of the Day" 6.21 @ 242. Eight cars competed in the Top Fuel A field, six of which traveled from California.
A special Top Fuel B class was contested attracting 11 entries from throughout the Midwest, South and East Coast regions. Number one Top Fuel B qualifier Joe Hendricks of Virden, IL nailed the top spot with a 6.93 but post race inspection revealed irreparable damage. With Hendricks out, number three qualifier Charles Benson, of Gardiner, NY took advantage of the field and took his big block Chevy powered entry to the class title, running a 7.23 to defeat fellow finalist Bob Beedy Jr.'s 7.32.
Junior Fuel action featured a weekend-long grudge match between 17 year-old class darling Scotty Parks of Burlingame, Kansas and class newcomer Brian Olson of Peru, IN. Olson debuted a gorgeous new Dave Tuttle-built Junior Fueler with the engine program being supplied by sprint car racing engine specialist Earl Gaerte. Parks set the tone Saturday with sterling 7.32 to grab the top spot, Olson qualifying second with a 7.56. Both drivers were able to survive two rounds of eliminations, setting up a heavyweight trophy dash. In the final, Olson cut the tree down, launching to a .474 light, but Parks got by on the big end to post a 7.37 to Olson's 7.71. The win was Parks' first of 2001.
In a rather comical scenario, Michael Kaiser of Butler, IN won the Flathead/Inline class in a "Walkover," grabbing the easiest $500 bucks of his life in the process! When fellow participant David Cook couldn't make a qualifying run due to mechanical trouble, Kaiser was left as the lone class entrant. Sunday morning, Kaiser, who campaigns a straight-six cylinder Chevy powered dragster, walked into race control rather meekly, and asked the Competition Director "At what time would you like me to make my run?" Needless to say, Kaiser was number one qualifier and top eliminator.
Other winner's at the Goodguys 13th Hot Rod Nationals were Charles Benson (Top Fuel B), Larry Hunter (Combo Nostalgia), Ken Ratzloff (Combo Gas), Ron Finney (Hot Rod 1), Bill Ostwald (Hot Rod 2), Bob Westhoff (Street Machine 1), Henry Ogburn (Street Machine 2), Joe Ewing (Nost. Super Stock), and Tim Glenn (Nos. Gas).
A record 389 cars competed in this event which featured 12 classes of competition, including an exhibition of the 'American Racing Wheels" Nostalgia Funny Cars. Troy Martin of Pierceton, IN won the Funny Car exhibition, beating Rick Stambaugh with an out of shape 8.04 in the final.
Next stop for the Goodguys Vintage Racing Association is September 22 & 23 as the Fall Classic stops at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
*Summary of eliminations in Nostalgia Top Fuel at the 13th annual Hot Rod Nationals: Round 1: Roger Lechtenberg, Cedar Falls IA, Dragster-Donovan, Left lane, (0.560) 6.227 240.64 def. Jack Harris, Kaysville UT, N&P-Chrysler, (0.573) 6.275 232.49
Bill Dunlap, Capitola CA, Uyehara-Donovan, Right lane, (0.581) 6.146 222.66 def. Lee Jennings, Chino CA, Stirling-Donovan, (0.654) 6.450 198.63
Kent Terry, San Miguel CA, Stirling-Rodeck, Right lane, (0.711) 9.001 98.18 def. Brendan Murry, San Jose CA, Stirling-Arias, Broke
Bob Muravez, Burbank CA, Uyehara-Chrysler, Right lane, (0.552) 6.190 215.25 def. Freddy Bach, (0.544) 6.355 207.70
Round 2: B Muravez, Right lane, (0.580) 6.782 204.82 def. K Terry, (0.853) 6.828 208.04
R Lechtenberg, Right lane, (0.535) 6.210 242.39 def. B Dunlap, (0.559) 6.564 219.94
Round 3: B Muravez, Left lane, (0.554) 6.173 234.74 def. R Lechtenberg, (0.547) 6.212 242.26
Low ET: Bill Dunlap 6.146 seconds Top Speed: Roger Lechtenberg 242.39 MPH
*Summary of eliminations in Nostalgia B Top Fuel at the 13th annual Hot Rod Nationals: Round 1: Bob Beedy Jr, Hometown IL, R&B Automotive-464 Chry, Right lane, (0.563) 7.104 197.54 def. David Brown, Bridgeview IL, '68 F.E.D., Broke
Charles Benson, Gardiner NY, '62 F.E.D.-434, Left lane, (0.631) 7.213 186.52 def. George Mikulyuk, Granger IN, '68 Don Long-400, (0.579) 7.807 168.66
Randy Lauen, Watertown SD, Dragster-388, Right lane, (0.801) 7.411 189.71 def. Claudie Meador, Hico TX, '68 RED, (0.634) 17.362
Ron Hope, Franklin TN, AA/FA, Left lane, (0.618) 7.193 208.28 def. Tom McKevin, Midlothian IL, '67 F.E.D., (0.728) 7.576 188.04
Round 2: B Beedy Jr, Left lane, (0.522) 7.085 197.32 def. R Lauen, (0.592) 7.277 189.47
C Benson, Right lane, (0.721) 7.194 195.60 def. R Hope, (0.657) 9.050 206.56
Round 3: C Benson, Left lane, (0.621) 7.235 191.44 def. B Beedy Jr, (0.577) 7.323 189.71
Low ET: Joe Hendricks 6.926 seconds Top Speed: Ron Hope 208.28 MPH
* Summary of eliminations in Junior Fuel at the 13th annual Hot Rod Nationals: Round 1: Randy Bridges, Girard IL, Hew Way-403 Ford, Right lane, (0.520) 7.883 107.28 def. Elmer Sawyer, Le Roy IL, Stiletto-Chevy, Broke
Mark Clarke, Omaha NE, '68 SPE, Left lane, (0.418) 7.856 169.84 def. Dennis Jarrell, Munith MI, Logghe, Broke
Brian Olson, Peru IN, Tuttle-Gaerte, Right lane, (0.668) 7.536 176.81 def. Jim Slayton, Cresco MI, Canode-408, (0.742) 8.181 161.29
Scott Parks, Burlingame KS, N&P-Chevy, Right lane, (0.494) 7.325 178.60 def. Troy Wilson, Jamestown IL, Boulton, (0.480) 7.903 167.28
Round 2: B Olson, Right lane, (0.761) 7.554 177.13 def. R Bridges, (0.509) 7.948 167.50
S Parks, Right lane, (0.500) 7.346 179.21 def. M Clarke, (0.425) 7.903 170.10
Round 3: S Parks, Right lane, (0.530) 7.371 179.31 def. B Olson, (0.474) 7.716 172.57
Low ET: Scott Parks 7.325 seconds Top Speed: Scott Parks 179.31 MPH
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