2008 NHRA Winternationals

 

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2008 Season Off and Running

 

Pomona, CA - Feb. 14-17, 2008:  For the 48th time all eyes were focused on the historic acreage previously known as the LA County Fairgrounds - currently The Fairplex - for the event that officially kicks off the drag racing season, the NHRA Winternationals. Like Daytona for NASCAR, the "WInternats" tells the world that the winter break is over, a new year has dawned, and its time to go racing.

Surrounding the Winternationals there are a multitude of events within the event - both at the track and at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum located within the Fairplex, about one-half mile from the strip. It is there WDIFL will start our coverage on Thursday night and end on Sunday with all nitro, all the time.

Photos by John Ewald

 

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“A Night with Snake and Mongoose”


Feb 7 2008: Over 200 of drag racing and hot rodding’s finest came to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum Thursday night to pay tribute to the most legendary duo in drag race history, Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen. 

 

John Force stopped by the dinner on his way to physical therapy. He's interviewed here by Dave McClelland.

 

Once upon a time Don Prudhomme didn't know John Force or that he was the fledging funny car drivers hero. Now the rolls are equal if not somewhat reversed.

 

A featured part of the night was an auction to help support the museum and the items were largely Snake and Mongoose related - like a helmet from each. The painting was was not for auction but commissioned by NHRA to Kenny Youngblood for the corporate office...this was it's unveiling.

 

 

Prudhomme and McEwen were on stage for much of the evening. They reminisced, answered questions and took some ribbing from the audience.

 

MC, Dave McClelland with Ed Pink and Roland Leong.

 

 

Danny Ongias and Art Chrisman

 

The crowd got to enjoy a 7-minute clip from a new DVD on their careers called “Once Upon a Wheel: Match Race.”

 

 

 

After the DVD clip there was back-and-forth joshing, joking, incredible bench racing and tall tales from the two great showmen. They touched upon everything from early match races to how McEwen helped put together the Mattel Hot Wheels deal to NHRA Founder Wally Parks to nostalgia drag racing. As usual, McEwen poked Prudhomme about his Leer jet. “Hey,” Snake bit back, “It was only a small one!”

 

 

 

Mac and another legend who's never short on commentary, Tom Ivo.

 

Ed Pink gets the best of the Wildlife duo.

 

Mac and museum Curator Greg Sharp auctioned off the autographed dragster nose that was donated by WDIFL.com. Starting at the CHRR, John Ewald got everybody who was anybody sign this great piece and someone saw its value as the winning bid was $1,100.00.  Complete List of Signatures  The auction raised about $25,000, all of which will directly benefit the Museum.

 

Bob Muravez, Robert Height and Tom Ivo

 

The Snake, John Force and Ed Pink

 

Ashley Force and John Ewald

 

Linda Vaughn and Tony Thacker, executive director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.

As things wrapped up, McClelland called it the Year of the Snake and the Mongoose and reminded the guests that both are Co-Grand Marshals of the 2008 March Meet in Bakersfield (Mar. 7-9), the fabled drag race at the Auto Club Famoso Dragstrip.

 

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“Night of Champions"


Feb 8 2008: Over 200 fellow racers, press and fans came to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum Friday night to spend any evening with some of NHRAs brightest stars.

 

On hand were JR Todd, Doug Herbert, Hillary Will, Jack Beckman and Antron Brown.

 

 


 

The old guard flanks the new guard... James Warren, Jack Beckman and Gas Ronda.

 

Steve Gibbs and Kenny Youngblood with the magnificent Youngblood portrait of Wally Parks.

 

Cindy Gibbs and Gas Ronda

 

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Front Engine Top Fuel at the 48th Winternationals

Thompson Clocks 5.63.
Quickest NTF Run in History!

Photos by John Ewald

 

 

The first pair out on Saturday was Bill Dunlap in Brendan Murry's car and Rick White in the Neil & White fueler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rick White ran 5.957 at 244.25
Bill Dunlap ran 6.029 at 230.92

 

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The other pair on Saturday featured Brad Thompson and Mike McClennan.

 

 

 

 

Mike McClennan ran 6.215 at 231.04
Brad Thompson ran 5.738 at 261.57

 

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On Sunday the first car out of the Pomona staging lanes was Mike McClennan in the Mike Fuller Motorsports car for a single. Brendan Murry suffered a damage crankshaft on Saturday and was unable to repair the car for Sunday.

 

 

Note the Hoosier tires.... more to come.

 

Mike McClennan Ran 6.227 - no MPH

 

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Brad Thompson, who was paired with Rick White was about to send a shock wave through the front engine Top Fuel dragster ranks and fans from coast to coast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To many of the fans at Pomona this day the scoreboard just said one car was quicker and faster than the other, but for fans of the class it was a jaw dropper. Brad Thompson had just run the lowest elapse time in NTF history - by a ton. As stated on the Welcome page article on All American Fuel Dragsters, this sets the standard for the 24 Top Fuel cars that will be competing at the 2008 March Meet at Bakersfield. We'll see YOU there.

Rick White Runs 6.197 at 228.73
Brad Thompson Runs 5.632 at 259.21

 

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Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars

Austin Clocks 5.79
Quickest NFC Run in History!
Photos by John Ewald

 

 

 

Also on hand were four Nostalgia Nitro funny cars where Bucky Austin carded the quickest NFC time in history with a 5.79 at 236 on Saturday. A serious statement to the other 30+ funny cars slated to compete at the March Meet.

 

 

 

Terry Capp was in the seat of the Ron Hodson owned, Roland Leong tuned "Bubble Up/Pacemaker" Firebird. Capp was right on Austin's heals with a fine 5.866 at 246.39 (top speed).

 

 

 

 

Jeff Utterback ran a best of 6.017 at 231.28 in the Pisaono & Matsubara tribute car.

 

 

 

Due to a driver problem on Saturday, the Donny Couch tuned "Future Flash" only ran on Sunday with substitue driver Kris Krabill in the seat. It ran 6.295 at 224.43.

 

 

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Mike Boyd was on hand in the ever popular "Winged Express" AA/FA of Marcellis & Borsch.

 

 

 

 

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For the first time in several years there was no major cacklecar display or Cacklefest. Representing the breed was the museum workhorse, the Howard Cams Rattler maintained by Dusty McWilliams.

 

Over the weekend McWilliams put several folks in the car for static fire-ups that always attracted a large crowd.

 

 

Jennie Halstead (Jon was there, both seem in good health so we may see him back in NTF).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The following shots, in no particular order, are from Darrell & Pam Conrad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Pluger and Mouie Marcellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Show Nitro & More - 2008 Pomona Page 2

 

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