2021 Nitro Nationals



Tulsa, OK. (Sept 21, 2021) – The 2021 Tulsa Nitro Nationals is in the books and although it featured abbreviated nitro fields, the top Heritage Series points players were on hand. In Top Fuel It was Adam Sorokin and Jim Murphy in a last ditch effort to stop the Juggernaut known as Dan Horan Jr. - they failed.

At the end of the day Bobby Cottrell, Dan Horan Jr., and Kin Bates all but stamped their names on the Heritage Series championship Wallys due to their respective Tulsa wins. In fact, with only one event remaining on the season, Cottrell cannot be challenged. Similarly, Horan and Bates need only show up at the California Hot Rod Reunion in October to earn the 10 points needed to guarantee them the Top Fuel and A/Fuel championships, respectively.

For Horan and crew chief Pete "Fritz" Kaiser, their car was a bracket racer for the two-day race. A qualifying run of 5.601 at 263.00 mph put them three tenths of a second quicker than number two Adam Sorokin’s 5.925. In round one of eliminations, Horan Jr. earned a bye run for his No. 1 qualifying position in the seven-car field. Then, a shocker that probably no one saw coming. Jim Murphy, second in points, was rocked by Brendan Murry’s 6.212 to Murphy’s 6.392 slowing to 164.01 mph.

Sorokin kept the pressure on Horan Jr. winning against Garry Wheeler in round one and Murry in round two. Thus, it was down to No. 1 versus No. 2 in the final contest. Sorokin drilled Horan Jr. on the Tree, .066 to .111, but could not hold off the powerful Hemi for the entire quarter-mile. Horan carded another consistant number with a 5.641 at 259.01 mph to overtake Sorokin’s game effort of 5.834 at 222.66 mph.





Coming into the Nitro Nationals, Bobby Cottrell had won three of the four prior Funny Car point events. The win at Tulsa sealed the deal for the Austin-Obrien team.

Cottrell qualified No. 1 at 5.655 followed by a 5.764 in round one. In the final round Cottrell’s opponent was Kamaka Pocock driving the “California Hustler.” Pocock left first, .070 to .119, but Cottrell staued in the groove and the Bucky Austin horsepower did the rest. Cottrell’s 5.636 at 248.60 mph prevailed over Pocock’s game 5.811 at 249.72.


Thanks to AAFD Facebook and NHRA News for text help.






Leading off testing were a pair of bad ass 200 mph nitro TF bikes. This is Sam Wills from Tulsa who is a IDBA 3 time Top Fuel Champion. In 1984 Sam was the last Top Fuel motorcycle rider to win a NHRA US Nationals, the last year they were contested. He was just 20 years old when he won his first Top Fuel Bike race at Fremont Dragway, CA in 1975.



Mitch Brown hails from Kansas. He owns Monster Race Products. They build motorcycle engine cases, cylinder blocks and heads.

Both bikes run the Mancup Motorcycle Drag Racing Series. Both of these bikes are based on a Suzuki, both have frames built by Sam Willis in his Tulsa shop. Bikes use a B&J 2 speed transmission. Brown is carrying the number 1 plate indicative of his Championship last season.





The first NTF car to test the track was Jim Murphy who was one of three drivers that were still in the window to win the 2021 Heritage NTF champion title. Also, Murphy's WW2 Racing fueler was one of four teams that made the trek from California.







If there is a lap available, Bobby and Tyler Hilton will make the call. Still trying to sort things out after their massive explosion and fire at Bowling Green, Bob needs all the data he can get.




Throughout the weekend fans paid for a back seat ride in these 8 second dragsters. The two seater was $250 and the three seater was just $150.






Adam Sorokin at the hit.


Eventual A/F winner Ken "Doc" Bates.




Garry Wheeler in the Grand Prix Auto Sports Center A/FD.


















Waiting until after 9 pm to run the first qualifying session makes for a long day at the track but sure makes for cooler conditions. The first pair out was Dan Horan Jr. from Sylmar, CA and Tim Cullinan out of Franklin Park, Il.








Horan ripped off a stout 5.601 at 263 serving notice he was here to race. Cullinan clicked it early to a 6.115 at 203.98.





Next out were a pair of California cars. Brendan Murry in his "Running Wild Racing" entry and Adam Sorokin in the Champion Speed Shop small block car.





Sorokin went immediately into tire smoke while Murry was away clean.




Not giving up, Adam was on and off the throttle trying to get hooked up.






Sorokin salvaged what he could to card a 7.339 at 210 while Murry shut off early to a 8.929 at just 94.59.





Out for a single was local boy Garry Wheeler in the ever improving Grand Prix Auto fueler. As a side note, this car was once fielded by the late Brian Van Dyke under the RB Entertainment Enterprises banner with Adam Sorokin driving.






Wheeler was off the throttle early coasting to 9.387 at 101.91.







With only 4 cars contesting the Funny Car trophy, there wasn't a lot of urgency to make the show. All four cars opted to make a single in the right lane. First out was Jeff Gregory out of Elk Grove, CA in his "Madness" entry.


Gregory hung the front end and eased it to a 7.95.





Then it was Kamaka Pocock in the potent "California Hustler" Trans Am.





After some good early numbers Pocock clicked it to a 6.47.





The Austin & O'Brien team made the haul to Tulsa with every intent of locking up the championship before the CHRR in October. With Bobby Cottrell in the seat it served notice that the mission was at hand.





Never one to pussy-foot around with his tune-ups, Bucky came out of the box with a 5.658.





The fourth car was Nancy Matter. Her story was very short. Kicked the rods out on the burnout. Load up, go home. Not the outing they were looking for.






Team Horan servicing their late model hemi after Q1.






Jon Brook overseeing the mountainous on his two cars, the Grand Prix Auto Top Fuel and A/Fuel dragsters.





Never a shortage of bodies in the Bucky Austin pit.





The legendary Alison Lee has never outgrown her role as a Top Fuel crew tuner. She's a regular member of her Tyler Hilton crew and is hands on. Just a super lady.





Jim Murphy's weekend got off to an ominous start when he killed a crankshaft on his afternoon test run. That led to a complete engine swap that went on into the night. It also caused him to miss the first qualifying session.













Top Fuel Test & Qualifying - Session 1  -  Page 1

Q2 and Eliminations  -  Page 2


Nostalgia Race Coverage like this and more importantly the drag racing history on WDIFL will cease sooner than later if racers and fans don't start supporting WDFIL again. Thanks, Don




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