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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Muldowney Slays Garlits...Again!

By Billy Anderson

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 action.

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 Modified action.

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.

Billy Anderson


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