Combustion Chamber-2005 8th Annual Goodguys Pomona Nitro Nationals


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August 5-7, Pomona Raceway, Pomona, CA-   Wow!  Wicked hot temperatures didn’t stop the throngs of racers and fans from attending the 8th Nitro Nationals at Pomona Raceway.  Plenty of new faces and hardware surfaced at this event, as more than 400 competitors braved three days of sweltering heat and humidity.  Racing action was just as hot, as an abundance of first time event winners fueled the drama building in nearly every VRA class with extremely tight points chases.  I can’t wait to see what transpires at Pacific Raceways in two weeks!  The following photo highlights are just a portion of the excitement that happened during this event. Enjoy! Dawn & Mark

Mike Adams, near lane, and Dan Horan Jr. met in the opening round of Nostalgia Funny Car, and it was Adams upsetting Horan with a winning 6.91 over an up-in-smoke Horan. image
image Todd Movius was a surprise non-qualifier in Junior Fuel at the Nitro Nationals.
Jess Tyree qualified his 1963 Tempest in the fifth spot of the B/Gas field with a great 8.620.  Tyree, who celebrated his 70th birthday during the weekend with throngs of family and friends, lasted through the semi-final round where he lost a close match to Eric Bush. image
image Dick Stannard and Ed Schwarz continue to gather steam in their classic looking ’70 Vega flopper.  A career best 6.89 fell just short of the Funny Car bubble.
Rich Roberts struggled to get his ’33 Willys down Parker Ave. 1320, netting a 7.327/171.59 during qualifying which was off the 7.150 bump held by Chuck Moore. image
image Rick McGee exhibited early strength when he reeled off the only “five” during qualifying but a massive top end explosion in the first round nixed any chances to take over the Top Fuel points lead.
Lee Littlefield wheeled his gorgeous “Bad Bird” 1969 Plymouth Road Runner to the 14th spot of the C/Gas program with a 9.659.  Littlefield lost in the first round to Steve Galieo who used a holeshot-aided 9.73 to dispose of Littlefield’s 9.64!  Ouch! image
image Lee Jennings was stunned in round one when Rick Rogers unloaded a career best 6.09, but returned as an alternate in round two. Jennings then proceeded past Bill Dunlap, and Terry Cox to meet Howard Haight in the Top Fuel final.
Mike Savage, near lane, and Nate Bugg met twice during Nostalgia Funny Car eliminations, with Bugg getting the win light in each instance and advancing to the final round. image
image Dave Gruzen qualified sixth in NE1 with the reincarnated “Mighty Mouse” but lost in round two against Jim Scott. The weekend was sweetened by the fact that the “Mighty Mouse” received the VRA Most Nostalgic Race Car Award.
Randy Winkle dominated NE2 at the Nitro Nationals and his victory hoisted him into the sixth place in series points. image
image What’s not to love about Frank Merenda’s wheel-standing blown ’65 Nova wagon?  Merenda bowed to Kevin Riley in the second round of B/Gas.
March Meet winner, Bud Hammer, qualified in the number one spot of the Jr. Fuel B field with a 7.273.  Hammer defeated Kol Johnson in the opening round, but was unable to make the semi-final round call against eventual winner John Rasmussen. image
image Steve Castelli captured the A/Gas title in a door handle-to-door handle sprint to the finish against final round opponent Rich Facciano.  Castelli was victorious by just 7 thousandths of a second.
“Claude who?”  Claude LaVoie dropped everyone’s jaw during qualifying with an incredible 6.311, then he dropped Jim Lange, 2004 champ Bill Wayne, and then the March Meet winner, Mike Austin, to take A/Fuel at the Nitro Nationals. image
image Chris Abbey’s Nitro Nationals win in AA/Gas was the culmination of a weekend of total dominance.  His stunning 6.73 in qualifying held for best numbers in the class as did his booming 206.37 top speed.  Abbey marched through eliminations with gusto…
Scott Parks scored a pivotal victory in defense of his Junior Fuel championship.  Parks dispatched Wayne Ramay, and then surpassed (then) points leader JD Zink, before gunning down Jon Haire in a holeshot- aided final round triumph. image
image Defending Nostalgia Funny Car champ Randy Walls ran a best of 7.222 in his ’70 Nova during the first qualifying session, but unfortunately ventilated his only motor during the Friday evening session prompting an abrupt end to his weekend.
Johnny Wood, near lane, was on a tear during C/Gas eliminations until his meeting with quarter-finalist Pat McDonald.  McDonald snatched the starting line advantage but Wood made up the difference by the 60′ mark.  Both drivers were even between 1,000′ and the finish line, but it was McDonald taking the win light with a 9.630 over Wood’s 9.639.  Wow! image
image Mendy Fry had a frustrating outing at the Nitro Nationals.  Parts carnage during qualifying kept Fry from competing in eliminations.
Boom Boom Dale Boomgaarden shot down Chuck Moore and Sean Renteria on his way to the AA/Gas final. image
image Chandler, Arizona, resident Darell Perrott made his debut in the Jr. Fuel A field and ran a 7.989 during Friday evening’s qualifying session.  However, Perrott’s number fell short of the 7.37 bump spot.
Rich Facciano beat Anthony Marino, Jim Data, and Sean Renteria on his way to the A/Gas final. image
image Top Fuel competitor Jeff Diehl improved his elapsed time on every trip down the Pomona 1320 but a fatal red-light start in his semi-final match with the wounded Fugowie entry halted his progression to the final.
Tommy Schiffilea qualified his 1940 Willys on the bump spot of the A/Gas field with an 8.02.  Schiffilea received a bye run in the opening round when opponent Phil Herrera broke following his burnout, and then lost his semi-final round bid to Sean Renteria in round two. image
image Vintage racing newcomer Leah Pruett’s gorgeously flamed “Python” altered carried her into two rounds of action in the dynamic and diverse category, Nostalgia Eliminator.
Longtime Hot Rod competitor Hans Huber launches his high-winding 128 C.I. VW to consistent 12.20 elapsed times.  Huber lost in the second round by virtue a red light. image
image Mighty Mike Boyd closed each day’s activities in the famed Winged Express, capping off the weekend on Sunday’s pass with a record mph of 205.90.
Transplanted Michigander and Supercharged Thunder standout Gordon Veal made his Goodguys West Coast Series debut a notable one by qualifying seventh in AA/Gas and defeating class champ Ed Moss with a stunning holeshot in round one. image
image A weekend off from the grueling NHRA tour allowed Ron Capps to fulfill his dream of piloting a nostalgia Nitro Funny Car with Jeff Gaynor’s Mopar backed ‘Cuda.  Gaynor’s full-time shoe, Jeff Utterback, kept his points hopes alive at the wheel of Gary Turner’s new Arrow-bodied ride.
If not for the retaining wall, it would appear that A/Gas competitor Bob Clayton was out for a Sunday drive in his “Rat Infested” ’33 Willys.  HA!  Clayton just completed a qualifying pass of 7.94/173.81, but was unable to make the first round call on Sunday.  It was a tough weekend for the A/Gas contingent, as a total of four qualified entries failed to show for first round. image
image Kin Bates seemed to be on a collision course with eventual A/Fuel winner and racin’ buddy Claude Lavoie.  A loose fitting put an oily end to that prospect during his burnout in the semis.
Dave Ward qualified his “Dinosaur” 1947 Fiat in the 13th spot of the NE1 field with a great 7.70.  Ward lasted through the quarter-final round where he was dumped by Ken Rappaport. image
image 2004 NE2 champion Dan Schrokosch made his presence known in NE1 in a big way at the Nitro Nationals by avenging his Sonoma semi-final loss to Don Taros in a close final round win over the defending NE1 champion.
Bill Burch put his ’41 Willys 14th in the A/Gas field but was not able to make the call for first round. image
image Ron Anzalone debuted this stunning ’23 T in NE3 but failed to crack the 9.77 bump spot.  Anazalone didn’t go home empty handed though, as his Mike Kirby-tuned straight-six shooter did claim the VRA Best Appearing Car Award.
Adam Sorokin lit up Top Fuel qualifying in “Nitro John” Blanchard’s entry to the tune of 6.271, which held for the 14th spot of the field. image
image Cecil Mathews streaks ahead of Mike Leonard during AA/Gas qualifying.  Both found themselves unable to crack into the field-of-eight which was “bubbled” by Chuck Moore’s 7.15.
Brad Thompson came from the 16th position and knocked out number one speedster Rick McGee in round one but fell to clutch woes in round two against Howard Haight. image
image Yowsa!  Phil Herrera got wickedly out-of-shape in his ’68 Camaro during this burnout in the first round of A/Gas eliminations.  Herrera, who qualified eighth spot with a 7.777, was forced to shut off thus handing opponent Tom Schiffilea the win.
Jon Rowley’s “Retro Rocket” Jr/Fueler heats the hides under the lights at the fabled Pomona Raceway. image
image Les Vogt’s ’31 coupe is wildly popular with the fans with its classic hot rod look and billowing smoky burnouts.
Bill Thompson launches his ultra-clean “Deuces Wild” 1964 Nova during Hot Rod time trials.  Thompson bowed out of competition in round one via a red light. image
image Larry Pettit was finally able to shake his “bridesmaid” streak and score a big Nitro Nationals win in Funny Car.  Riding a high that started when he saw his “Crazy Horse” featured on the Nitro Nationals event poster, Pettit set top speed of the meet (235.41) and beat celebrity driver Ron Capps, Dennis La Charite, and a resurgent Nate Bugg to capture his first Funny Car victory.
The splendor and intensity of night-time nitro racing is exemplified by Terry Cox at the wheel of the Cox & Rodeck Cheetah III Top Fuel dragster. Cox opened Sunday’s eliminations with a 5.99 trouncing of Rick White in round two and was way out on Lee Jennings in the semi-finals when a small oil leak obscured his vision.  Not seeing where the finish line was, Cox clicked the Cheetah III early which allowed Jennings to snatch the win and move to the Top Fuel final. image
image Ronnie Lennon entered the Nitro Nationals with the NE1 points lead but slipped to second when he lost to eventual winner Dan Schrokosch.  Lennon’s smoked-in burnouts will always be tops with us!
This comet-like pass was provided by Howard Haight in the opening round of Top Fuel eliminations.  Haight wheeled past Bob Hallock, Brad Thompson, Jeff Diehl, and Lee Jennings, respectively, to pick up his second Top Fuel victory of the 2005 Goodguys West Coast Series. image
© 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. 

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