NHRA Her­itage Sea­son Cham­pi­ons Crowned

The Oakdale Leader - - SPORTS - By MIKE BURGHARDT Rac­ing Correspondent

Jim Mur­phy from Santa Rosa, a vet­eran drag racer with decades in the field, closed out the sea­son in the AA/FD cat­e­gory at the 26th an­nual NHRA Her­itage Se­ries Cal­i­for­nia Hot Rod Re­union on a high note. The re­union, held at the famed AAA of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia strip in Famoso, is the fi­nal event of the NHRA Her­itage Rac­ing sea­son. Fin­ish­ing up the rain de­lay event from Boise, Idaho, Mur­phy de­feated Adam Sorokin in the cham­pion speed shop drag­ster, to inch closer to the Her­itage Sea­son Cham­pi­onship. Then he took the num­ber one qual­i­fier and the bonus points to edge even closer. Then he run­ner-upped against the class win­ner, Jim Young, seal­ing in his fifth sea­son cham­pi­onship In the fi­nal round, nei­ther driver had a great per­for­mance, as Young col­lected the win with a 6.310 at 137.86 mph to 14.893 at 74.85 mph. Young had ear­lier col­lected top speed of the event hon­ors at 261.78 mph, while Mur­phy had gone as quick as 5.651 dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing.

In Nos­tal­gia Funny Car, Bobby Cot­trell, driv­ing Bucky Austin’s “not so nos­tal­gic” 1969 Bar­dahl Ca­maro, col­lected the event ti­tle. Ryan Hodg­son, driv­ing a sim­i­lar car to Cot­trell, cap­tured the sea­son cham­pi­onship, with help from the rule­book.

Ja­son Ru­pert, a six-time se­ries sea­son cham­pion failed to qual­ify for the event. Dur­ing his Boise, Idaho make up fi­nal round vic­tory over Hodg­son, his engine let go and de­posited oil on the race track. He would keep the Boise event win, but would lose the run for qual­i­fy­ing pur­poses as a penalty for oil­ing the race track. This run was also his third and fi­nal qual­i­fy­ing at­tempt that net­ted him a 5.65 sec­ond elapse time. This would have qual­i­fied him sec­ond in the field but, with the penalty tak­ing away the run, he would fail to qual­ify. This lit­er­ally handed the sea­son cham­pi­onship to Hodg­son. Hav­ing suf­fered three engine dam­ag­ing runs at the event, it might not have made much of a dif­fer­ence, as Ru­pert had no parts left to re­pair his engine for fur­ther com­pe­ti­tion at the event.

Nick Davies cap­tured the AA/Fuel Al­tered event ti­tle, tak­ing out Vince Gen­era­leo in the fi­nal round with a 6.117 at 231.36 mph to 6.136 at 232.51 mph ef­fort. Th­ese wild race cars fea­ture a wheel­base of around 90-inches (about the same as a VW Bee­tle) mak­ing them very dif­fi­cult to drive. The most pop­u­lar car in the class is the fa­mous Mar­cel­lus and Borsch “Winged Ex­press” driven by Mike Boyd. This car thrills the fans with half-track smoky burnouts and wild wheels up six-sec­ond, 190-plus mph runs.

Richard Townsend of Oak­dale was at the track, but was not rac­ing. He and his team are build­ing a brand new Nos­tal­gia Funny Car for next sea­son. But, the big news is his soon to be com­pleted NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car. Their plans are to com­pete at three to four Na­tional events next sea­son against the likes of John Force, Ron Capps, Robert Hight and the rest of the ‘Big Show’ stars in the very pop­u­lar 300-plus mile per hour Funny Car cat­e­gory.

The NHRA Mello Yello se­ries will re­sume at the Strip in Las Ve­gas, Oct. 26-29. The sea­son se­ries will close out in Pomona, Cal­i­for­nia Nov. 9-12 and the sea­son cham­pi­ons will be crowned. Steve Tor­rence and Brit­tany Force are the front run­ners in Top Fuel, while Ron Capps and Robert Hight are lead­ing the way in Funny Car. The fi­nal event in Pomona, at AAA of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Race­way, is a 150 per­cent points event, where each round of rac­ing is worth 50 per­cent more points than nor­mal.

PHOTO BY MIKE BURGHARDT

Clos­ing out the sea­son with a run­ner-up fin­ish was Jim Mur­phy of Santa Rosa, a vet­eran drag racer with decades in the field.

PHOTO BY MIKE BURGHARDT

The Mar­cel­lus and Borsch “Winged Ex­press” driven by Mike Boyd was the most pop­u­lar car in the AA/Fuel Al­tered class at this week­end’s com­pe­ti­tion.

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