CHRR Champs Left Hanging Sorokin
2010 Hot Rod Heritage Top Fuel Champion
California Hot Rod Reunion finals to conclude at the 46th annual
Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals
CA - 10/18/10: After
three days of 90 degree sunshine the race had to be called due
to inclement weather after the semi final rounds. Thus the 19th
California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern
California finals in Nostalgia Top Fuel and Nostalgia Funny Car
will be finished at the 46th annual Automobile Club of Southern
California NHRA Finals held at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona,
Nov. 10-13. Remaining classes (A/Fuel, Junior Fuel, A/Gas, AA/Gas,
7.0 Pro and Nostalgia Eliminator) divided the purse equally and
the lowest elapsed time of each class in the previous round received
the 19th California Hot Rod Reunion trophy.
it out until Monday but we decided to call off the racing due
to severe weather conditions, said Greg Sharp, Reunion
Event Director, Reunion fans can expect to see more action
come November as the CHRR Funny Car and Top Fuel Champions are
crowned at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals.
Top Fuel driver Adam Sorokin made it to the finals on the same
track he won the 2010 March Meet in the Nostalgia Top Fuel class.
He got there by getting by Keith Burgan, Brad Thompson and Jim
Murphy. Sorokin posted his career-best elapsed time of 5.634
at 252.03 against Murphy in the semi finals and that win clinched
the Nostalgic Top Fuel Champion in the 2010 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage
at Pomona for the 2010 CHRR title will be Brett Harris who got
the best of Rick White, Rick Williamson and 2009 CHRR winner,
Fuel Adam Sorokin, Sterling Dragster, 252.03, 5.634 def.
Jim Murphy, 09 Thornhill, 104.04, 8.606.
Fuel Brett Harris, Neil & Parks Dragster, 250.20,
5.776 def. Rick McGee, 97 Tedford, 132.68, 6.886.
Funny Car, Leah Pruett-LeDuc and Mark Hentges will face off at
the NHRA Finals for the California Hot Rod Reunion FC Championship.
Hentges mowed over the field when he defeated Steven Densham
with an elapsed time of 6.092 at 218.65. He also took down Kris
Krabill and Dennis Swearingen.
Car Leah Pruett-LeDuc, 72 Mustang, 241.41, 5.823 def.
Claude Lavoie, 72 GTX, 202.33, 6.036.
Car Mark Hentges, 78 Ply Arrow, 218.65, 6.092 def. Steven
Densham, 69 Camaro, 171.13, 6.168
Fuel round by round coverage will be featured here as soon as
all the thousands of staff photos are received and processed.
Funny Car will also be featured.
Sorokin and the VanDyke Motorsports team, your 2010 Top Fuel
and funny car champ, Leah Pruett-LeDuc
Fuel Qualifying Order:
01: Jim Murphy
02: Rick White - 5.81/254.16
03: Rick McGee - 5.82/224.88
04: Adam Sorokin - 5.83/239.61
05: Brad Thompson - 5.85/204.59
06: Denver Schutz - 5.92/226.01
07: Rick Williamson - 5.95/242.98
08: Bill Dunlap - 5.95/211.61
09: Troy Green - 5.99/202.15
10: Brendan Murry - 6.06/222.55
11: James Day - 6.06/244.03
12: Brett Harris - 6.14/180.07
13: Mike McClennan - 6.18/217.46
14: Keith Burgan - 6.31/214.84
15: Rick Rogers - 6.35/227.23
16: John Weaver - 6.83/186.95
Top Fuel Preview
- Semi Finals
The skies were
getting a bit cloudy by the time the semis rolled around but
it was still nice and the track was super tight. The first pair
out was the match up of the event... Jim Murphy and Adam Sorokin.
Sorokin came into the event trailing Jim Murphy by just nine
points in Nostalgia Top Fuel and with a 17-point lead over Brad
Thompson, who was third. Sorokin qualified sixth in the 16-car
field and matched up with Thompson in round two, taking the win
and eliminating Thompson from the title chase.... then there
and much harder. His .033 RT trumped a .170 for Murphy in his
defense, Murphy was already wounded before staging. It all started
when someone forgot to install the throttle stop on the throttle
linkage. Hence, on the burnout, the engine went to 12,500 RPM,
bending many valves. It was running on 7 cyls., so Jim staged,
just in case Sorokin red lighted. When he hit the throttle, it
was way down on power so it didn't move so quick. He just ran
it a little and clicked it off, watching the championship drive
Problems or not
Sorokin would have been hard to beat on this one. His 1.01 60ft
time and 210mph at half track were carried through for the best
run of his career.
The blower had
a 1320 foot fuse as there was a big BOOM in the lights followed
by a flash fire. Adam was fine and a new unit was waiting in
The other pair
to see who would meet Sorokin in the final was Brett Harris in
the Nitro Thunder "Big Red" and Rick McGee (2009 CHRR
winner) in the Tedford & McGee "Overtime Special".
closest of margins Harris had lane choice (5.805 to 5.822).
left together and it was a good drag race until McGee experienced
engine problems while Harris never missed a beat.
at 250.20 was more than good enough to send him to the finals
while McGee coasted through with a 6.886 at 132.68.
The only incident
of note in Top Fuel was the over handling of Butch Blair's Fugowie
by alcohol funny car driver John Weaver who, in the first quaifying
session started in the left lane and by the 1000' mark was in
the right lane.
the car stayed on its side glued to the wall but suffered severe
Now for the rest
of the story in the words of award winning photographer Mark
When a 200mph
Parachute meets a Camera, the Camera Loses
when I post a drag racing blog I typically lead off with my coolest
photo of the weekend. When a destroyed camera is the lead photo
I am pretty sure you can guess what the story of the weekend
will be for me!
For about the
past eight years I have really gotten into setting up remote
cameras. There are two reasons for this, one is to put a remote
camera in a place thats too dangerous to stand or a place photographers
are not allowed to stand. The second reason is by setting up
a remote camera (or two) I am able to get multiple angles of
the same moment. In the past several years I have done countless
remotes. I have had some close calls but then again I have had
many more close calls from where I myself was standing and had
to run for my life or dive to the ground to avoid death. Thats
all part of the job of being a sports photographer and its honestly
part of the fun of my occupation.
For the California
Hot Rod Reunion nostalgia drag race in Bakersfield, CA, I would
set up a remote camera in a spot that I have done every year
at that track for awhile. While setting up the Nikon D700 camera
with a 400mm f2.8 lens that morning I had no idea that it would
be the last time I would ever set up that camera again.
past the finish line (top end is what its called in the biz)
is by far the most dangerous place to shoot in any motorsports
I have ever shot. The reward for that risk is you get really
cool angles of the cars coming right towards you and it is also
the best place to set up if you wanna shoot crashes (for those
of you sick people into that sort of thing). Yea a big part of
the danger is parts and pieces off of crashing or exploding cars
but by far the biggest risk down there is parachutes coming over
the wall and snatching you and/or your camera up. While its pretty
rare, it has happened in the past and the results usually arent
I have shot countless
crashes from the top end of numerous drag strips around the country
but anytime I am at this particular track I have to be very mindful
of whats going on. Most tracks have walls that are straight down
to the track surface, at this track just past the finish line
the walls in the shutdown area are like the walls in temporary
construction zones where the bottom is wider than the top so
if you hit it instead of bouncing off it the cars have a tendency
to ride up on the wall which is very bad.
Below is an example
of the straight walls (on left) and the beginning of the construction
zone walls with the lip so you can better understand what Im
Below, my buddy
Guy Rhodes lets me know that the camera is successfully firing
as I tested the remotes range from my shooting position about
200 feet further down in the shutdown area.
Ok on to the
moment of impact .
In the first
round of qualifying for nostalgia top fuel dragster, driver John
Weaver (in the far lane) would lose control while racing James
I was initially
following James Day in the near lane until I noticed out of the
corner of my eye that Weaver was way out of control.
quickly got the parachutes out which usually straightens a car
But in this situation
it appeared that the throttle was slightly stuck open (judging
by the heat waves still pouring from the headers) so gaining
control wasnt gonna happen
By this point
it was time to make the decision to stay put and keep shooting
or run like child. Below is my last shot I took before I bailed.
(Note the remote camera being a bad ass and not running).
As I started
running the camera fired the below frame which shows the car
missing the camera but the parachute coming in to ruin the day.
When Weaver hit
the wall the car rode up on the wall and rolled the car on its
side. In the below frame from Guy Rhodes you can see the last
instant of the cameras life .. Photo by Guy Rhodes
from the track I quickly looked to make sure no parts or pieces
were flying my direction before resuming shooting as the car
headed away from me in a cloud of dust and smoke.
At that point
I was pretty pissed that I ended up running for no reason and
missed the crash but its better to be safe than sorry.
My anger quickly
turned to shock when I looked over at the wall where I had my
remote and noticed it was no longer there.
I started walking
over to the spot expecting that the camera had simply fallen
over to the ground during the crash .. until I saw my manfrotto
magic arm and super clamp laying in the middle of the track.
At that point
I knew I was completely screwed and began to pick up all the
parts and pieces of my camera and lens.
My father Gil
has destroyed at least four or five remote cameras in his career
and I knew I would eventually kill a camera. I figured if it
ever happened that I would quickly begin crying. Not sure why
but I took the situation pretty well. Perhaps it was because
several of my friends were across the track shooting me retrieving
all the parts of the camera but all I know is that being sad
wasnt gonna help the situation at all so all I could really
do is laugh as the cameras fired away at me. Photo by Guy Rhodes
Guy Rhodes photo
picking up all the pieces I sat them on the wall so all my buddies
While I was able
to find most of the camera the one thing that was missing was
the compact flash card that had been in the remote. I knew that
even if the camera had fired with the car coming at it that it
would be way out of focus since the remote had been focused on
the finish line. Even knowing that I still really wanted the
card back so I could at least know what the camera had seen in
its final moments.
I spent a lot
of time searching for the card alongside the track as well as
on the track following the day. Even the track owner (Blake Bowser)
and an NHRA official (Don Irvin) spent some of their valuable
time searching as well. Thanks guys.
Guy Rhodes and
I found out that with the big piece remaining of the 400mm that
you could quickly light fires by aiming the sun through it . Guy
you could make yourself look like a cyclops .. Guy Rhodes photo
The day ended
with nobody finding the flash card and that sucked. Suffice to
say I got rather inebriated that night!
The next day
while driving out to the track I got a text from my friend Dave
Kommel letting me know the flash card had been found and was
Below is the
photo from the camera. Yea its far from the coolest remote shot
but I think it still tells the story of the imminent Nikon destruction
about to occur.
Thanks again to Mark for allowing me to share this....
was a banner weekend for the piston manufacturers....
Funny Car Preview
began the year with a win at the March Meet (also at Auto Club
Famoso Raceway) and came into the weekend with a 47-point lead
in Nostalgia Funny Car over Tim Boychuk. Pruett-LeDuc broke on
her burnout in her first qualifying attempt and had to rely on
her second and final qualifying pass with 36 Funny Cars vying
for a spot in the 16-car field. She clocked in at 5.88, 236.84,
good for the 11th spot right behind Boychuk in 10th.
then beat Dwayne Patton in round one and Mike Halstead in round
two with a 5.89, 237.78 to lock up the Nostalgia Funny Car championship.
She then outran Claude Lavoie with an even quicker 5.82, 241.41
and will face Mark Hentges in the final in Pomona. Boychuk fell
in round two to Lavoie.
and Lavoie heat their tires for their semi fianal.
was out first and never looked back. She snatched up a win and
the championship with this semi-final win running a 5.823 at
241.41 against Claude Lavoies game 6.036 at 202.33.
The other semi
final pair featured Mark Hentges in Bucky Austin's 78 Ply Arrow
and Steven Densham in his Dad's 69 Camaro.
left first and looked like he would be going to the finals.
But at the other
end Hentges drove around a wounded Densham with a 6.092 at
slowed to a 6.16 at just 171.13.
Oil downs aside,
Funny Cars had a very safe outing with only one noteable incident,
a fire that was reluctant to go out, in the Red Dragon Cuda of
will be photos of some of the other cars in that competed throughout
Harris in Flathead Jack's 180 mph dual fuel flatties dragster.
The last car
down the track for the weekend Greg Leahy in the new Roly Leahy
tribue car that was going to the NHRA Museum after the event.
That trip will be delayed for some major repiar work after he
crossed the track and whacked the guardwall.
Of couse any
CHRR is full of special recognitions and tributes. With the passing
of the legendary Joaquin Arnett just weeks ago, the entire Bean
Bandit clan came to honor one of the true pioneers of drag racing.
will be tons of people pics from the track and other events like
the Friday night Honorees get together.
Mousie Marcellis, Chris Karamesines and Tom Ivo
Pam Hardy and TV Tom
Fuller, Roland Leong, Don Prudhomme and Evelyn Fuller
Manager of Education and Public Relations for the NHRA Museum,
Rose Pohorely better known as Rosebud of the Museum, Linda Vaughan
and Graciela Sanchez of NHRA.
Mac" McClelland received a surprise (and well deserved)
Wally from Steve Gibbs for his years of service to NHRA in particular
and drag racing in general.
Bagshaw had his own special fan.
awards auctions were held including this garden variety welders
mask. The rib was it was signed by Don Long, Woody Gilmore, Kent
Fuller and Tom Hanna. Now the shocker... it sold for $5500.00!
and the Mouse
The post Honorees
show was a mini cacklefest in the hotel parking lot which included
the Greek in Ron Johnson's ChiZler V, Tom Hanna in his newly
repainted masterpiece and Pete Eastwood's Old Master.
At the track
on Saturday the Standard 1320 Group had their annual CHRR group
On Thursday night
Monique Valadez along with NAPA put on a funny car preview at
the local Hooters.
of course, you can look forward to the most extensive Cacklefest
coverage anywhere on Cackefest.com
over 5000 photos to review, choose for publication and ready
for the Web you can look for complete CHRR coverage on both WDIFL.com
and Cacklefest.com in a couple of weeks (hopefully) and as always,
it will be HUGE and well worth the wait. Check back for release
Calif. (Sept. 1, 2010) The dates have been announced for
the 53rd running of nostalgia drag racings premier event,
the 2011 March Meet. The three-day event will take place March
18-20, 2011 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, just outside Bakersfield,
the March Meet is held the first week of March", said Blake
Bowser, vice president and general manager of the Kern County
Racing Association, operators of Auto Club Famoso and producers
of the fabled March Meet.
to hold the March Meet later in the month for a few reasons,
Bowser explained. The first and second weekend of March
may be too close to the NHRA Winternationals. Traditionally the
Winternationals is held in early February. In 2011 the Winternationals
will be held the last weekend of February. A lot of our local
race fans want to attend both, but it gets difficult for them
when they are held only a few weeks apart. Also, thanks to the
NHRA, we use the Winternationals as a promotional springboard
to help kick-off the March Meet. The extra few weeks give us
more time to get the word out.
Bowser also said
that many NHRA racers such as Robert Hight, Ron Capps, Gary Densham,
Cruz Pedregon and Jack Beckman enjoy competing in and/or attending
the March Meet every year. The fans love it too when the
NHRA stars attend. The way the 2011 NHRA schedule falls, theres
no NHRA race the third week in March, so theres no conflict.
Weather is also
a factor in the move, Bowser said. Typically, as the month
of March goes on, we see warmer weather, which can only help.
It will make for better racing conditions. Plus, Daylight Savings
will have already taken place. This will give us an extra hour
of sunlight which will let us run a bit later under good conditions.
said the move to later in the month has some luck involved: luck
of the Irish. The Thursday before the March Meet is usually
when we have our kick-off party, he said. In 2011,
the Thursday before the March Meet is St Patrick's Day (Mar.
17). How fun can that be?
March Meet ticket
sales and prices, as well as other race information, including
downloadable forms for race entries, car show registration and
camping will be posted soon at Famoso Raceway
53 years of racing, the March Meet is a three-day speedfest that
enthusiasts call the jewel of Nostalgia Racing. It
attracts drag racers and spectators from around the world and
also includes a hot rod car show, swap meet and a vendors
midway. The 2011 March Meet will be held Mar. 18-20 at historic
Auto Club Famoso Raceway
The Kern County
Racing Association operates Auto Club Famoso Raceway (just north
of Bakersfield, Calif.) and promotes a full schedule of races
year round, including the world famous March Meet, which is recognized
as the Mecca of nostalgia drag racing. For more details, visit