WINS THIRD RACE IN A ROW
CA - September 19-20, 2008: Jim Murphy and WW2 Racing, no stranger to
the winner's circle at Sacramento Raceway, nailed down his third
consecutive nostalgia top fuel victory by winning the 39th Annual
Governor's Cup. Coming on the heels of wins at the Nitro Nite
of Fire (Sacramento) and the Nightfire Nationals (Boise), Murphy
has to be rated the favorite going into the season's final race
at the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway in McFarland.
From the onset of this event, it was evident that the team from
Santa Rosa was intent on continuing its winning streak. While
all the other top fuel teams stumbled in Q1 Friday afternoon,
Murphy coolly went down the right lane to the tune of 5.851.
The only other run of merit during that session was Evan Eirich's
the 2003 Governor's Cup winner and 2005 co -winner with Arnold
Birky wasn't the only team in the pits intent on winning the
open 8-car show. Rick White, Adam Sorokin, Mike McLennan, and
Rick Williamson, all consistent five second 'hitters', were not
going to let Murphy grab 'The Cup' without a fight. Although
2007 champ, Thompson-Bless Racing, was unavailable due to a racing
accident in August, 2006 winner Jason Richey aboard Nitro Fever
and 2005 co-champ Mark Malde were also on hand to challenge Murphy's
green monster. In addition, John Cox had the immaculate Cheetah
IV ready to pounce, and John Blanchard was back at the track
with new driver Mike Halstead handling the driving duty. Although
The Year of the Rat had not been kind to Brendan Murry, he was
back driving his Running Wild Chevy dragster hoping to return
to the form that saw him run a 5.87 at the 2004 Governor's Cup.
By the time Q2
rolled around on Friday evening, the track temperature had dropped
to 71 degrees. Although most of the top fuel dragsters launched
hard and clean, the cars wanted to smoke the tires down track.
As a result, there wasn't much change in the qualifying ladder.
Mark Malde made a wild pass down the right lane and actually
improved to a 6.37, but the run was disallowed as Mark crossed
over the center line. The Birky Bunch eventually withdrew as
that pass caused too much engine damage to repair. Things changed
significantly Saturday midday with the final qualifying session.
With ten cars still healthy, Rick Williamson and Rick White kicked
off the round with side-by-side 5.9s, and that moved them into
the #2 and #3 positions, respectively. Evan Eirich was solidly
in the field from Friday's Q1 blast, but an encounter with the
wall in the last session KO'd the Ground Zero team for the weekend.
With Eirich and Malde out and John Blanchard unable to make a
complete run, #9 Brendan Murry was reinstated and the field was
and story by Stephen Justice
by Jason Ellis and Steven C. Wallace
Dave Smith opened
the track from 12:00-4:30 for all cars to test-n-tune; Q1 was
at 5:00 and Q2 was at 7:00. Both Terry Cox and Adam Sorokin took
advantage of this and made half track passes to get some data
The Wilson Ninnis
& Cox team along with Crew Chief Ronnie Capps have had a
real battle getting the new Cheetah IV car to stop smoking the
tires on the bottom end. They appear to have found the clutch
combo the car likes and showed some much improved performance
at the Governors Cup.
that found the transition to the Hoosier tire frustrating seems
to have also discovered the bottom end combo the car likes. They
not only avoided the violent tire shake that's been plaguing
the team but clocked consistent .980 60' times throughout the
Friday - First
The first pair
out was Mike McClennan in the Mike Fuller Motorsports car and
Brendan Murry in his Running Wild Racing entry.
Rick White in
the Neal & White Racing fueler and Evan Eirich in Ground
Zero were the second pair out.
The second pair
of session one matched Terry Cox in the Cheetah IV car and Adam
Sorokin in the RB Entertainment Champion Speed Shot entry.
Next pair pitted
Jim Murphy in his WW2 Racing car and Mark Malde in the Birky
After a stout
leave Murphy set the bar high early clocking a super 5.851 at
Williamson in the Hot Rod Bills car.
was out for the first time in over a year with Mike Halstead
in the seat. The car experienced problems on both its qualifying
attempts and never got past the burnout.
Friday - Second
Nitro at night
the sun setting in the west, Rick Williamson led off Q2.
out was Evan Eirich and Adam Sorokin.
Malde and Rick White lit up the Sacramento skies.
and Rick Williamson paired up next.
Richey in Dave Smith's "Nitro Fever".
Saturday - Third
pair of the final session was Rick Williamson and Rick White.
up big time with a 5.933 at 247.10 while White was right there
too with a 5.976 at 247.60.
pair featured Mike Halstead and Mike McClennan.
of the best looking cars in the class, John Blanchard's rarely
seen fueler made two attempts to qualify and neither resulted
in the car staging.
out was Mike McClennan and Mike Halstead.
his "Stone Age Man" esque helmet plume, lost fire on
the burnout and bailed.
was Adam Sorokin.
Sports fans -
this is a picture perfect launch and netted one of the quickest
60' times in NTF history - how about a .971.
Cox was next out.
Richey for his last shot in Nitro Fever.
Eirich heats the tires for what will be an interesting pass.
had a problem from the hit.
The car was either
lined up slightly cockeyed or simply jerked the front end to
the right but it hunted down the guardwall in a hurry.
At this point
this could be chalked up as a rookie mistake as the throttle
should have been dead shut by now.
The tire tracks
tell the tale as fortunately the blow was glancing. The damage
would put the car in the box but not keep the team from being
ready for the CHRR.
Steve, ya think he should have stayed out there?"
car of the final session was Brendan Murry.
ORDER TOP FUEL
Cup Eliminations - Page 2
All American Fuel Dragsters
1. Jim Murphy
2. Rick Williamson
3. Rick White
4. Evan Eirich
5. Jason Richey
6. Adam Sorokin
7. Mike McLennan
8. Terry Cox
10. Mark Malde
5.933 @ 247.10
5.976 @ 247.60
6.076 @ 223.81
6.149 @ 223.38
6.169 @ 179.14
6.269 @ 222.36
6.393 @ 228.45
10.332 @ 81.20
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