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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

K & N Filters/Goodguys 43rd Anniversary
March Meet: "The Amazing Race"

By John Drummond

Bakersfield, CA - Amazing is about the only way to sum up the 43rd Anniversary edition of the K & N Filters/Goodguys March Meet. The event attracted 412 '72 and earlier racecars, over 800 '72 and earlier rods, customs & classics and a spectator crowd of tens of thousands prompting March Meet regulars to remark "we've never seen this place so crowded." One could argue that the record turnout of fans and cars wasn't the main story. On-track performances left even the most grizzled drag racing veterans shaking their heads. In all, three Goodguys/VRA national records were set including new marks in Top Fuel, A/Fuel, and Junior Fuel.

Top Fuel action was fierce beginning with Friday's opening qualifying session when defending Goodguys Top Fuel Champion Rance McDaniel set the pace with a 5.94. Saturday however, Gerry Steiner, who debuted a brand new car at the March Meet, eclipsed everyone with a 5.93 which was sufficient enough to grab the Red Line Oil Low Qualifier bonus. The run of the event and possibly one of the most shocking runs in drag racing history occurred in Sunday's opening round when Jim Murphy logged a 5.819 @ 255.24 is his OSH, Metrinch sponsored top fuel dragster to defeat Marc Malde. Prior to the apocalyptic blast, the fastest run in the history of front-engined top fuel was Roger Lechtenberg's 5.870. "It's been there all along, but new crew chief Tim Beebe (of Beebe & Mulligan top fuel fame) is so good, he brought out the full potential of our combination," said a jubilant Murphy following the run.

While the entire facility was buzzing following Murphy's run, it was low qualifier Gerry Steiner who was consistently carving up the competition with career-best performances. Steiner advanced to the final round with a 5.88-best during eliminations (the 5.88 was logged in the 2nd round against the "amazing" Jim Murphy - who fell off his 5.81 pace with a 6.08 in defeat) to face off with defending March Meet top fuel champion Jack "The Sheriff" Harris. In a bizarre turn of events, Harris was reinstated into eliminations twice during the day via the Goodguys break rule. Adding to the final round drama was the furious thrash taking place in Steiner's pit following his 5.93 semi-final victory over Rick McGee. With only minutes remaining, Steiner pulled to the line to face off with Harris. Steiner's record setting day ended short of victory as he watched Harris take the win 6.10 to 9.12. It was clear to all that after a full day of career-best performances, Steiner's engine wasn't up to the task. "What a strange day" said Harris in the winner's circle. "I've never won a race where I've been beaten twice, but the break rule saved us!" The day wasn't a complete loss for Steiner as he set both ends of the Goodguys/VRA top fuel record with a 5.93 @ 248.55. 

Goodguys 2001 A/Fuel champion Sean Bellemeur didn't miss a beat all weekend and again proved to be the best "leaver" in the class. His brilliant reaction times (he recorded successive reaction times of .448, .449, .421, and .430 in eliminations) earned him the March Meet victory. Bellemeur's best elapsed time during eliminations was 6.62 and his key race of the day came in the semis against number one qualifier Ron Attebury, who in qualifying set a new Goodguys VRA National speed record running 217.75. "The Kid" as he's known by his competitors cut a .421 light and his 6.70 beat Attebury's quicker 6.68 which proved to be the closest race of the day in all classes. He then used a .430 light in the final to defeat Jim Paul running a 6.68 to Paul's better 6.58.

The old cliché "What a Difference a Day Makes" perfectly fitted March Meet AA/GAS Champion Gary Reinero, although in his case it was "What a Difference a Year Makes." In 2001, Reinero won one round of competition in five events. On Sunday at the K & N Filters/Goodguys March Meet he defeated number one qualifier Ronnie Nunes 6.94 to 9.08, Howard Anderson in the semis 7.18 to 8.85 and took out long shot Mike Leonard in the final 6.98 to 7.10. "Last year was horrible," said Reinero - a Merced, California based farmer. "We had chassis gremlins all year but over the winter we took everything apart and re-evaluated and it worked out good today!"

Goodguys Junior Fuel racing has a new dominant figure and his name is Wayne Ramay. In February, Ramay reset the NHRA Comp Eliminator class index at the Kragen/Checker/Shucks Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Arizona by logging a 7.138. At the K & N Filters/Goodguys March Meet, his record setting performances continued in qualifying when he grabbed the pole with a 7.211. Sunday, he improved to a 7.148 @ 185.91 with those times setting both ends of the new Goodguys/VRA National record. He basically mowed through the field to meet Stacy Paul in the final. Ramay "eased" off his torrid pace by defeating Paul in the trophy dash 7.212 to 7.414.

The most serious incident at the event occurred in round two A/Fuel qualifying when Mark Woods Jr. rolled Brian Van Dyke's brand new unpainted "Flying Dutchman" dragster near the finish line. Woods was knocked out for a brief moment but regained consciousness before he got out of the car under his own power. He was in fine shape later that afternoon.

Other winners at the K & N Filters/Goodguys 43rd March Meet were Don Taros (Nostalgia Eliminator), Alan Hull (Nostalgia II), John Cassie (Nostalgia III), Mark Mahood (A/GAS), Kevin Riley (B/GAS), Mario Braga (C/GAS), Jeff Crider (Hot Rod) and Dale Thomas (Street Machine).

Next up on the K & N Filters Goodguys Drag Racing Series is the 14th Nitro Nationals, April 20 & 21 at the newly modernized Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, CA. For additional information call (925) 838-9876 or visit www.good-guys.com

Summary Results: Top Fuel: Round 1: Tim Gibson, N. Hollywood CA, -Chevy, Right lane, (2.026) 24.466 56.09 def. Bill Alexander, Sunland CA, -Donovan, Broke Kent Terry, San Miguel CA, Stirling-Rodeck, Right lane, (0.424) 6.145 237.02 def. Dale Pulde, Sylmar CA, Dragster-Donovan, (0.517) 6.283 228.60 Gerry Steiner, San Jose CA, Stirling-Chevy, Left lane, (0.645) 6.770 145.13 def. Lee Jennings, Chino CA, Stirling-Donovan, (0.620) 13.935 30.71 Jim Murphy, Santa Rosa CA, Stirling-Donovan, Left lane, (0.523) 5.819 255.24 def. Mark Malde, Windsor CA, Stirling-KB, (0.523) Broke, Jack Harris, Kaysville UT, N&P-Chrysler, Left lane, (0.566) 6.067 237.46 def. Jason Howell, Tacoma WA, Howell-Chevy, (0.543) 6.186 232.79 Denver Schutz, Fresno CA, Stirling-Donovan, Right lane, (0.518) 6.106 220.04 def. Rance McDaniel, Daly City CA, -Chevy, (0.558) 6.011 216.34 Rick McGee, Exeter CA, Tedford-Donovan, Left lane, (0.470) 6.108 234.43 def. Butch Blair, Martinez CA, Stirling-Chrysler, (0.192 foul) 6.389 222.11 Bill Dunlap, Capitola CA, Uyehara Donovan, Left lane, (0.581) 6.008 234.68 def. Rich Howell, Long Beach CA, Hanson-Chev, (0.512) 6.299 225.45 

Round 2: D Schutz, Left lane, (0.502) 6.190 229.59 def. T Gibson, (0.526) 6.180 238.53 R McGee, Right lane, (0.515) 6.019 231.66 def. J Harris, (0.575) 6.046 244.03 K Terry, Right lane, (0.479) 6.080 233.76 def. B Dunlap, (0.559) 6.110 209.05 G Steiner, Right lane, (0.650) 5.884 248.55 def. J Murphy, (0.553) 6.082 209.49 

Round 3: K Terry, Right lane, (0.504) 6.162 205.80 def. J Harris, (0.566) 6.101 236.09 G Steiner, Right lane, (0.594) 5.933 246.17 def. R McGee, (0.524) 6.181 212.96 

Round 4: J Harris, Left lane, (0.529) 6.073 219.94 def. G Steiner, (0.684) 9.182 98.56 

Low ET: Jim Murphy 5.819 seconds Top Speed: Jim Murphy 255.24 MPH

A/Fuel Round 1: James Paul, Forest Hill CA, Uyehara-Chevy, Left lane, (0.524) 6.550 206.89 def. Jack Beckman, North Hills CA, (0.435) 7.537 171.95 Rick White, San Diego CA, Dragster-Chevy, Left lane, (0.508) 6.830 200.49 def. Russ Conroy, San Dimas CA, Hansen, (0.530) 6.896 201.16 Ron Attebury, San Jose CA, Attebury-BAE, Left lane, (0.509) 6.540 216.60 def. Steve San Paolo, Salinas CA, Stirling-KB, (0.615) 7.120 197.84 Sean Bellemeur, La Canada CA, Uyehara-KB/BAE, Left lane, (0.448) 6.740 209.10 def. Ed Schwarz, Culver City CA, , (0.501) 11.589 75.98 Jason Richey, Pleasanton CA, Sterling-Chevy, Left lane, (0.494) 7.198 198.23 def. Bill Genco, Westchester CA, Tuttle-Donovan, (0.517) 7.248 176.26 Greg Uffens, Tracy CA, Stirling-Chevy, Left lane, (0.810) 6.767 201.56 def. Jim Swedberg, Grand Forks CO, Stirling-Donovan, (0.552) 8.102 116.86 Kin Bates, Anderson CA, Tuttle-Chrysler, Left lane, (0.547) 7.089 198.80 def. Mark Mittel, Tulare CA, 23-T-Chevy, (0.777) 7.270 183.59 Mike Joyce, Van Nuys CA, California-KB, Right lane, (0.563) 6.826 196.80 def. Tom Taros, San Pedro CA, '67 Chevy, (0.541) 7.028 188.48 

Round 2: J Paul, Left lane, (0.466) 6.612 198.54 def. G Uffens, (0.537) 6.678 205.57 S Bellemeur, Left lane, (0.449) 6.626 209.15 def. M Joyce, (0.666) 6.856 198.01 R Attebury, Left lane, (0.654) 6.622 211.26 def. J Richey, (0.496) 7.142 199.42 K Bates, Right lane, (1.015) 6.696 206.37 def. R White, Broke 

Round 3: J Paul, Left lane, (0.478) 6.571 206.65 def. K Bates, (0.513) 6.784 192.71 S Bellemeur, Right lane, (0.421) 6.700 208.76 def. R Attebury, (0.484) 6.689 213.21 

Round 4: S Bellemeur, Right lane, (0.430) 6.687 209.88 def. J Paul, (0.558) 6.589 206.84 

Low ET: Ron Attebury 6.540 seconds Top Speed: Ron Attebury 217.75 MPH

AA/GAS Round 1: Mike Leonard, Pleasanton CA, '69 Chevy, Right lane, (0.609) 6.953 197.02 def. Steve Woods, San Leandro CA, '48 Austin, (0.217 foul) 6.883 197.84 Steve Wood, Merced CA, '53 Studebaker, Right lane, (0.522) 6.938 195.82 def. Chuck Moore, Danville CA, '48 Anglia, (0.637) 7.019 195.31 Howard Anderson, Applegate CA, '38 Chevy, Left lane, (0.877) 7.053 197.75 def. Dale Boomgaarden, Gilroy CA, '68 Plymouth, (0.551) 7.578 188.95 Gary Reinero, Merced CA, '48 Austin, Left lane, (0.512) 6.949 198.45 def. Ron Nunes, Danville CA, '63 Vette, (0.563) 9.081 97.84 

Round 2: M Leonard, Left lane, (0.537) 7.039 194.76 def. S Wood, (0.479) 7.112 193.92 G Reinero, Left lane, (0.512) 7.182 195.73 def. H Anderson, (0.466) 8.854 128.27 

Round 3: G Reinero, Left lane, (0.528) 6.988 196.89 def. M Leonard, (0.600) 7.106 196.12 

Low ET: Ron Nunes 6.766 seconds Top Speed: Dale Boomgaarden 204.49 MPH

Junior Fuel Round 1: Kelly Craig, Campbell CA, Davis-Chevy, Right lane, (0.512) 7.452 174.89 def. J.D. Zink, Chico CA, (0.747) 7.910 158.28 Bud Hammer, Oxnard CA, Tuttle-Chevy, Left lane, (0.635) 7.510 176.60 def. Nick Norton, Playa Del Ray CA, (0.483) 10.024 111.53 Stacy Paul, Auburn CA, Uyehara-Buick, Left lane, (0.526) 7.355 176.57 def. Kolman Johnson, Escondido CA, Meyer-Chevy, (0.622) 8.238 159.97 Dean Carter, Glendale AZ, Right lane, (0.490) 7.332 180.18 def. Kristin Neumann, Ventura CA, Victory-Olds, (0.472) 7.823 169.17 Todd Movius, Long Beach CA, Stirling-Chevy, Right lane, (0.465) 7.363 180.97 def. Jim Moore, Watsonville CA, Dragster-Chevy, (0.437) 7.849 169.39 Scott Parks, Burlingame KS, N&P-Chevy, Right lane, (0.545) 7.305 176.78 def. Dan Fenton, San Lorenzo CA, -Chevy, Broke Wayne Ramay, Simi Valley CA, JP Motorsport-Chevy, Right lane, (0.499) 7.253 183.71 def. Brad Woodard, Oceanside CA, -Chevy, (0.538) 7.779 167.78 Mike Chrisman, Lake Forest CA, Chrisman-Chevy, Right lane, (0.541) 7.372 178.39 def. Brett Murphy, Hillsborough CA, Innovative-Chevy, (0.484) 7.588 175.78 

Round 2: T Movius, Right lane, (0.566) 7.302 182.18 def. K Craig, (0.447) 7.445 175.43 S Paul, Left lane, (0.558) 7.345 177.63 def. B Murphy, (0.483) 7.503 178.25 S Parks, Right lane, (0.506) 7.468 170.13 def. B Hammer, (0.494) 7.486 177.09 W Ramay, Left lane, (0.478) 7.165 185.07 def. D Carter, (0.425) 11.348 67.61 

Round 3: S Paul, Left lane, (0.465) 7.364 177.40 def. T Movius, (0.536) 7.337 182.33 , Right lane, (0.536) Broke, def. W Ramay, Broke W Ramay, Left lane, (0.497) 7.148 185.91 def. S Parks, (0.439) 7.623 169.93 Round 3: S Paul, Left lane, (0.465) 7.364 177.40 def. T Movius, (0.536) 7.337 182.33 W Ramay, Left lane, (0.497) 7.148 185.91 def. S Parks, (0.439) 7.623 169.93 

Round 4: W Ramay, Left lane, (0.452) 7.212 183.89 def. S Paul, (0.522) 7.414 176.60 

Low ET: Wayne Ramay 7.148 seconds Top Speed: Wayne Ramay 185.91 MPH

John Drummond


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