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"March Meet Madness"

Forget about the "Sweet 16", the "Final Four", or the NCAA Basketball Championship for that matter. I've found a new love in March and it was the "Meet", completed in all of its madness and glory at Famoso Raceway in Famoso, California...just "outside" of Bakersfield.

The 40th running of the famed "March Meet" was more than a three day gathering of nostalgia drag vehicles, car show, and swap meet...it was more like a Family or High School Reunion, complete with group photos, hours of conversations, lotsa laughs, great stories, a couch and recliner, the Goodguys Rock & Roll bash Friday night, a dinner gathering of "Header Flames"/Standard 1320 folks, and even "Frog Races". (Gee, did I forget anything?)

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to go to this event. I had read plenty about it and it just turned into one of those things "I had to do". The "March Meet" kicks off the season for the Goodguys VRA series.

I would have to say that the most overwhelming part of the whole trip was meeting all of the folks whom I've read about or corresponded with via the internet. My original plan of shooting video and photos for this site certainly materialized, however, I almost missed what I did get due to the engaging conversations I was wrapped up in. The people...absolutely fantastic! Harrison and son Les, (Professional Touring Bleacher Bums) Pat 'Ma' Green, Jim Sorenson, Dale Smith and Henry Walther, (great dinner companions, can't wait 'til our next meal at the Woolgrowers!) Robby and Sherry "Split Pea" Andersen, "Kingpin Racing"...Nick, Brett, Adam, Walt, Steve, and Jeff, (thanks for putting up with me and supplying the beer) Brendan Murry, Karen, and Pete, Dave Tuttle, the Stirling Family, Dave and Sky Wallace, Tom West, Tom Posthuma, (where ever you were, and you were staring) "staging lane guy" Jon Roscher, (he, too, made the trip from Cleveland), and Mark Hunerlach...special thanks to you and your wife, Francesca, for supplying photos to help complete my story!

The best way to sum up my experience...if you have not attended the March Meet...find a schedule and JUST GO!

The following includes random photos shot by myself and Mark Hunerlach.  Enjoy!- Dawn

Mark Hunerlach Photo

Brendan Murry campaigns this beauty in the Nostalgia Eliminator category. With over 40 cars shooting for the 16 car field, (running on a 7.50 index) Murry was bumped to the 17th spot in the last session.
"No Mercy" best describes this fuel altered running in the Nostalgia Eliminator class. Impressing the crowd with it's killer burnouts, and night time header flame show, this beast ran in the 6's, exceeding the index by over a second, with it's best run of 6.27 in the final session!

Mark Hunerlach Photo

Mark Hunerlach Photo

Alicia Stirling, pictured here with her parents, was chalking one up for the female contingent, running her Top Fuel dragster. Despite making some progress with her new ride, Alicia missed making the program.
Claudie Meadors and Son, getting ready to make another pass in the Top Fuel class.

Mark Hunerlach Photo

Mark Hunerlach Photo

"Wild" Bill Alexander, warms the Master Cam Top Fuel car. Alexander went all the way to the finals, before losing to sentimental favorite, Jim Murphy.
Mike Leonard runs this flamed Chevelle in the Pro Supercharged category.

Mazi Photo

Mazi Photo

Dale Emery, former crew chief of Raymond Beadle's Blue Max funny cars, was out tuning for Jack Harris, and his gorgeous "Nitro Thunder" fueler.
Nick Arias III drove Brendan Murry's #2 car, qualifying #10 with a great 7.54 in the very tough Nostalgia Eliminator class. A little more than a tenth of a second separated the 16 car field!

Mark Hunerlach Photo

Mazi Photo

Larry Dixon Sr., (as his helmet reads: Cathy and Larry Dixon's DAD) drove his ultra cool "street legal", blown BBC powered Roadster in the Hot Rod 1 category. Dixon qualified with 7.87(!), but lost in the first round, when his hot rod got waaay out of shape, crossing over into his opponents lane, back into his own, and narrowly missed tagging the guardrail!
Bill Genco launches his fueler hard off the line! (notice the exhaust fumes hovering above the car)

Mazi Photo

Mark Hunerlach Photo

The WWII fueler, is being prepared for another pass. Reigning class champ, Jim Murphy, won the event, despite the recent loss of Owner/Crew Chief, Jim Herbert.
Sammy Hale launches his way into what was a truly spectacular wheelstand, during the Friday qualifying session! (of course I didn't snap any further than this! ughh!) Hale made his historic record run, during Saturday's final session, with a 5.87!

Mazi Photo

Mazi Photo

Dixie Welch, prepares for another time trial pass, for the Nostalgia Eliminator class. Dixie actually qualified #1 in her first attempt, with a 7.504, but was bumped to #2 by the final session. She managed to compete until the second round.
Arnold Birky and Larry Gotelli, strike up conversation, prior to the last qualifying session.

Mark Hunerlach Photo

Mark Hunerlach Photo

Jim Boyd, is getting ready to suit up for another pass, in his gorgeous "Red Turkey" Top Fuel machine.

Every race should be this laid back! Nick Arias III crew member, Steve Northrop, takes a break...

 

 

Mazi Photo

Mazi Photo

...while the rest of the crew is hard at work!

M & H Photography -All text, photos, graphics, artwork and other contributed material within the Combustion Chamber  are copyrighted and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without express written consent.