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The final event of the Goodguys 2002 VRA season came to a close  at Famoso Raceway, November 1-3.  The event was graced with beautiful weather, the action was non-stop, and several class championships were decided at the very end.  A lot of drama played out throughout the weekend, so without further adieu, we're going to jump right into the photo highlights of the event.  Enjoy!  Dawn & Mark

Scott Smith drove the wheels off his "Misbehavin" '55 Chevy en route to collecting the B/Gas title.  Smith planted himself in the fourth spot of the field with an 8.62, and took out the likes of Kevin Riley, Dave Torgrimson and Brad Chafee, respectively, using lightning quick reaction times and consistent 8.70 e.t.s.

John Shoemaker qualified in the 14th spot of the Top Fuel field with an anemic 8.05.  The performance level changed dramatically on Sunday, as Shoemaker lasted until the semi-final round, upsetting the likes of Denver Schutz and Lee Jennings, before losing to eventual runner-up, Brendan Murry.  Shoemaker netted a best of 6.120/224.60 during his second round battle with Jennings.
Johnny Wood, who campaigns this gorgeous '32 Ford in the Hot Rod category, wrapped up his year with a runner-up finish against Jeff Crider.

Jim Lange qualified his A/Fuel entry in the ninth spot with a 6.807.  Lange met Ron Attebury in the opening round, but his 6.849 was no match for the 6.557 turned in by Attebury.
Jim Murphy, who had not won a Goodguys event since the '99 season, ended 2002 with a bang, as he nailed the number one qualifying spot, low e.t., and top speed of the event with an outstanding 5.857/251.74.  Murphy defeated the likes of "Wild Bill" Alexander, Gerry Steiner and Brendan Murry, respectively, to collect his long overdue Goodguys trophy.  

How'd ya like to own this beauty?  Well you can, if you want to pony up $58,000.  Greg Fernald, who competes with this hemi powered '65 A/FX in the Street Machine category, made it well known that that he's got this for sale. For more info, check out www.ssandafx.com 
What a difference a year makes.  Bill Wayne, who crashed his Jr. Fuel entry here one year ago, has since stepped up to A/Fuel competition.  Wayne dominated the field from the start, grabbing the pole & low e.t. of the event with a 6.418.  Wayne backed the record up with a 6.461 in his opening round defeat of Greg Uffens, before knocking out repeat champ, Sean Bellemeur, in the semi final round.  Here, Wayne takes the obvious holeshot advantage over final round opponent Ron Attebury, and parlayed that into a 6.496 win light over Attebury's tardy 6.667.

Chad Demler, a regular competitor of the Goodguys Hot Rod category, experienced a huge loss during eliminations, when his '41 Willys took a hard right turn into the guardrail through the lights and barrel-rolled to stop.  Demler was a-okay, but the same could not be said for the car.
Can you believe it?  Brendan Murry not only qualified well into the Top Fuel field with a 6.04, but ripped off his first "5" during the second round of eliminations.  Murry secured the remaining spot within the Goodguys 5 Second Club, as well as the 13th spot of the Nitronic Research AA/FD 5 Second Club.  Murry worked his way to a final round meeting with Jim Murphy.  Both drivers left together, but once Murry's entry started to skate around at mid track, it was all Murphy to the end.  Murphy took the win light with a 6.16 over Murry's shut-off 7.04.

Tom Franks ripped off an 8.626 in his '69 Opel during B/Gas qualifying, which placed him in the fifth spot of show.  Franks upset low qualifier Dan Crisp in round one, before losing in the second round to eventual runner-up, Brad Chafee.
Jed Dubach qualified the pretty "Iron Butterfly" NE-1 entry in the 11th spot of the field with a 7.63.  Dubach made a strong showing, as  he lasted until the semi final round, where he was defeated by eventual winner, Scott Christlieb.

Rich Facciano, a former B/Gas competitor, has been making steady improvements since moving up to A/Gas.  Facciano ran a best of 7.98, but that fell short of the 7.85 bump held by Larry O'fria.
Denver "6.00" Schutz, who qualified in the sixth spot of the Top Fuel with a 6.003, experienced traction problems during his first round match with John Shoemaker.  Schutz was forced to abort the run and watch Shoemaker take the win light with a 6.34. -  Photo Sequence by Mark Hovsepian

"Wild Bill" Alexander collected the second "5" of his career, when he wheeled John & Linda Eirich's "Ground Zero" entry to a 5.999 during Top Fuel qualifying.  Alexander lasted until the second round, where he was defeated by eventual winner, Jim Murphy.
Steve Castelli entered the Finals 28 points behind A/Gas leader Mark Mahood.  Castelli spent the weekend chasing Mahood, as he qualified in the second spot with a 7.610, just behind Mahood's 7.606.  Castelli met Mahood in the final round, but his 7.721 lost out to the holeshot induced 7.734 by Mahood.

Rick McGee qualified the "Razmataz" Top Fuel entry in the seventh slot with a fine 6.033.  McGee advanced to the second round where he lost a close battle to newly crowned champ, Gerry Steiner.  Despite nearly a tenth of second advantage off the line, McGee's 6.10 wasn't enough to hold off the winning 5.93 posted by Steiner.
Tommy Schiffilea qualified his sharp looking '40 Willys in the sixth spot of the A/Gas program with a 7.79.  Schiffilea, who has switched to a blown combination since his days in B/Gas,  stepped up in the first round with a 7.91, but was sent home by Steve Castelli's quicker 7.71.

Dave Rosenberg qualified Bruce Dyda's "Surfers Paradise" NE-1 entry in the fifth spot of the field with a 7.619.  Rosenberg lasted until the semi final round, where he fell victim to eventual runner-up, Dave Sammons.  Sammons used a .400/7.83 package to defeat Rosenberg's .625/7.766.
Mark Mahood not only won the A/Gas title but also clinched his second A/Gas championship, by virtue of his number one qualifying position and outstanding starting line prowess.  Mahood defeated defending champ, Sean Renteria, in round one on a holeshot, and proceeded to pull the same driving job on Troy Moyle and Steve Castelli, respectively.

Jerry Kumre enjoyed an excellent outing during the Finals, as he qualified the "Old Broke Dick Racing Team" digger in the 13th slot of the NE-1 field with a 7.65.  Kumre upset Dave Gruzen in round two where both drivers nailed identical .464 lights, but Kumre out ran Gruzen by six thousandths-7.683 to a 7.689!  Kumre fell to eventual winner, Scott Christlieb, in the next round, as his 7.572 was too quick against the 7.60 index.
Jim Ferren ran right on the C/Gas index in his ultra clean '64 Ford, using a 9.604 to take the top spot.  Ferren lasted until the semi final round, where he bulbed against eventual runner-up, Rob Patten.  Gotta wonder what's up with the Ford/Chevy logo in the license plate area though... 

Mike Chrisman used a best of 7.248 to qualify fifth in Jr. Fuel.  Chrisman defeated Brad Woodard in round one, before falling to eventual runner-up, Dean Carter, in round two.
Dave Torgrimson qualified his '63 Corvette in the sixth spot of the B/Gas field with an 8.632.  Torgrimson upset Jon Wallace in round one on a double break-out, (8.573 to a 8.567) before losing to eventual winner, Scott Smith, in the second round.

Greg Uffens qualified the gorgeous nitro-injected "Flying Dutchman" entry in the eighth spot of the A/Fuel field with a 6.729.  Uffens met Bill Wayne in the first round, but his 6.824 was not enough against Wayne's 6.461.
Steve Wood entered the Fuel & Gas Finals just two points behind AA/GS points leader Ron Nunes.  Despite qualifying in the fourth spot with a 6.973, Wood's shot at the championship came to an end in the opening round, where opponent, Rich Roberts, used a 7.053 to knock out Wood's 7.161.

Kin Bates qualified his nitro-injected A/Fuel entry in the seventh spot with a great 6.686.  Bates lasted until the semi-final round where he was knocked out by eventual runner-up, Ron Attebury.  Interestingly, it was Bates who played spoiler in the A/Fuel championship, as he clocked a career best 6.564/206.42 during his second round defeat of Jim Paul, who ran a 6.619/204.31.
Scott Christlieb qualified in the 16th spot of the always tough NE-1 field with a 7.710.  Christlieb went on to claim the event title, taking out the likes of Jerry Kumre, Jed Dubach and Dave Sammons, respectively.

Mike Wadstein launches his '67 Camaro during the final session of C/Gas qualifying.  In his only attempt of the weekend, Wadstein back-doored his entry to a 9.296/142.06...well below the class' 9.60 index.
Jack Harris, who had blasted off a 5.789/254.23 shot during the second Top Fuel qualifying session (while testing the 2003 billet head set-up), launches into this giant wheelstand during the final qualifying set.  As much as he pedaled it, the digger failed to land gently, promoting much needed front end work.  Frank Parks, of Neil & Parks Chassis fame, was on hand to make the necessary repairs Saturday night.  The late night thrash went for not, as the "Nitro Thunder" entry sashayed down track during the first round, ultimately clipping the timing cones and chased opponent Lee Jennings through the traps.

Dale Boomgaarden drove the Mallicoat Bros. '68 Cuda to a best of 6.865/202.56, which held for the second spot in AA/GS.  Boomgaarden marched through eliminations to the final for a meeting with Howard Anderson.  Boomgaarden nailed a slight holeshot advantage on Anderson, but both cars broke at nearly the same point on the track.  Fans and crew members watched in amazement as the drivers coasted from half track through the traps...Anderson crossed the finish line first with an 11.923 to Boomgaarden's 12.097.  Interestingly, Anderson clinched the championship with the win.
Bill Dunlap drove Mike Fuller's Top Fuel entry to a 5.949/238.09 during qualifying, which placed them in the fourth spot of the field.  Dunlap paired up with Mike Lockman in the first round, but despite a starting line advantage, Dunlap's 6.128 was trailered by Lockman's surprising 6.024!

Chris Abbey qualified his sleek '63 Corvette in the sixth spot of the tough AA/GS field with a 7.004/197.93.  Unfortunately, Abbey fouled in the first round against eventual runner-up, Dale Boomgaarden.  Adding insult to injury, Boomgaarden experienced a broken rear end at the hit in that round.  Ouch!
The Jr. Fuel final round was a classic match-up of low qualifier meeting number two, as Scott Parks and Dean Carter had swapped qualifying positions all weekend with sub-7.10 e.t.s., with Carter claiming the pole with a stellar 7.079 over Parks' equally impressive 7.099.  Here, Parks launches to a .447 light against Carter's slightly better .431, but it was Parks pulling it off on the big end as he used a 7.146 to defeat Carter's 7.163!  M.O.V.-.001, WOW!

Tim Burns clocked a 7.093/194.93 during AA/GS qualifying, but that number was only good enough for the second alternate spot.  Rich Roberts held the bump with a 7.020.
Todd Meikle qualified his Gary Ritter-tuned Top Fuel entry in the 10th spot with a 6.361.  Unfortunately, Meikle met Gerry Steiner in the opening round and lost the battle, as his off pace 7.58 was no match for Steiner's early shut-off 6.574.  

Doug Araiza entered the final C/Gas qualifying session sitting in the seventh spot with a 9.747.  Araiza improved with a 9.721 in the last session, but still managed to be bumped out of the show into the 11th slot.  The bump spot was held by Bret Pichler with a 9.674! 
Craig Wallace made the short tow alone from Nevada City, Nevada, to compete in NE-3 with his '29 Ford.  Wallace defeated the newly crowned 2002 Champ, John Cassie, in the opening round, as well as Jim Souza and Bob Olmscheld, respectively, to claim the event title.  

Clay Bentson entered the Finals with a six-point lead over Mario Braga in C/Gas.  Braga failed to make the program, virtually cementing Benston's claim on the championship.  Good thing, as Bentson fouled in the opening round against eventual runner-up, Rob Patten.
Lee Jennings qualified his Bob Hansen built Top Fuel entry in the ninth spot with a 6.175.  Jennings scored an upset win in the first round over Jack Harris, using a strong 6.057 over a center-line crossing Harris.  Jennings met John Shoemaker in round two, but the 6.217 that Jennings clocked was pushed out by the better 6.120 turned in by Shoemaker.

Pete "Fritz" Kaiser returned to competition as the latest shoe of John & Jeannie Halstead's "Western Hoist" Top Fuel entry.  Kaiser qualified in the 12th spot with an early shut-off 6.44, and earned a first round meeting with "Wild Bill" Alexander.  Despite cutting a .448 light to Alexander's .561, the motor started going away on Kaiser at 1,000', allowing Alexander to charge on by with a winning 6.007 to Kaiser's 6.208.
Ron Nunes entered the Fuel & Gas Finals as the points leader of AA/GS.  Nunes qualified third best with a 6.966, but lost control of the championship in his opening round match with Howard Anderson.  By a mere two thousandths of a second, Anderson defeated Nunes' 7.017 with a 7.020!

Mike "Everything is green and so is the team" Lockman scored a huge first round upset win in Top Fuel over Bill Dunlap.  Despite giving up nearly eight hundredths to Dunlap at the start, Lockman used a stunning 6.02 to drive around Dunlap's 6.12.  Lockman's day came to an end, though,  in his second round match with Brendan Murry, as a "$.10 part" broke away from the throttle linkage at the hit. Lockman idled helplessly down track and watched Murry streak on through to a winning and historic 5.995!  I guess we'll always wonder, "What if?".
Kathy Lloyd attempted several shake-down runs in the "Flathead Jack" entry.  Reverser problems prevented Lloyd from making a full pass until Sunday morning, but the effort was well worth the wait, as she nabbed a team best 8.56 e.t. @ 171 m.p.h.!

Rick Lawrence had his hands full in his '66 Chevy during the final qualifying session of B/Gas.  While his wildly out of shape burnout may have thrilled fans, his 8.837 was unimpressive compared to the 8.647 bump spot held by Kevin Riley. - Photo sequence by Dawn Mazi

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