One of these days, "Big Daddy" Don Garlits is going to get
sick of hearing the tune. In the latest match of Top Fuel's two greatest
drag racers, Shirley Muldowney got the best of her former arch nemesis
Garlits, as part of the P.C. Richard & Son All-American Jet Car
Nationals and Pro Mod Cars Under the Stars July 31st at fabled Old Bridge
Township Raceway Park.
The two Top Fuel combatants had renewed their rivalry on December 31,
1999, after not racing each other for over a decade. In that special match
race, Muldowney defeated Garlits. She had since continued that reign at
the much celebrated qualifying pairing from the 2001 Mac Tools U.S.
Nationals and the less celebrated first session qualifying pairing at the
2002 Mac Tools Gatornationals. These match-ups set the stage for the
Wednesday night brawl in Englishtown, NJ.
Muldowney was in the lanes more than a half-hour ahead of Garlits for
their first round pairing. In the race itself, Garlits launched to an
early lead with an excellent .909 60-foot time, while Muldowney's Mac
Tools/Blue Angels entry was a little lazier, and starting smoking the
tires around the 300 foot mark. Garlits' Matco Tools entry threw the
belt just past half-track, as Muldowney pedaled and recovered to take the
round one pairing with a 5.71, 237.09. Garlits could only watch helplessly
as Swamp Rat XXXIV coasted to a 6.62, 128.31.
With one shot at the track, Muldowney's crew chief Rahn Tobler was
able to adjust the Mac Tools machine, and Muldowney laid down a superb
4.804, 312.71 to defeat Garlits two straight. Garlits again lost power
just past half-track; however, he was already behind at that point.
Garlits finished with a 5.40, 210.73.
In jet action, Aggi Hendriks joined Muldowney over the triple-century
mark as she blasted a 5.24, 300.40 in the Hanna family's Queen of
Diamonds entry. Ernie Bogue, Jr. also looked good with a 5.32, 297.65 in
the Beast From the East. Joe Douthit and Lou Pereira rounded out the
Rich Hanna was again the class of the Jet Funny Car field, setting the
best marks at 5.77, 276.24. Also entertaining the fans were Fran Peppler,
Al Hanna, and Bruce Abbott in Bob Van Sciver's Ford pickup. Scott
Shockley rounded out jet action with his ‘57 Chevy pickup.
In Pro Modified action, Pat Musi set Low E.T. at 6.547, 212.63 in his
‘69 Camaro, but Vinny Budano was able to win two straight with a 6.58,
218.09 best. New England favorite Ron Iannotti brought out the West Coast
Choppers blown Corvette, and defeated Marcello Mastroianni's
nitrous-assisted ‘63 Corvette after a short staging duel, 6.67,211.36 to
6.76, 213.41. Tommy Gray, Jr., and Mike Castellana rounded out the Pro
Danny O'Day bested Richard Hutchins in a pair of Wheelstander
match-ups. O'Day's Superwinch entry recorded a 9.20, 149.05 best to
the Chevy Rebellion's 10.11, 127.88.
Brian Ferrari took the Steve Ficarro's Auto Body Ultra Quick 8 over
Leo Barnaby's ‘02 Camaro, 7.67, 179.09 in his ‘66 Chevelle to a
7.68, 179.14. The eight-car field featured six seven-second runners.