Combustion Chamber-2006 Goodguys Pomona Nitro Nationals


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May 5-7, Auto Club Pomona Raceway-Pomona, CA-    Now this was the way to kick off the 2006 Goodguys VRA season.  Over 425 racers took advantage of the cool temps and excellent track conditions, while cranking through the 3-day event with record-breaking runs and awesome side-by-side racing.  There were plenty of newcomers to the VRA, marking entry increases in many of the Sportsman classes.  We saw plenty of teams move up to different classes, as well as witnessing some of the quickest qualified fields ever.  Anyone who pays attention to B/Gas probably mouthed a “Holy shit!” when they looked at the final qualifying ladder.  37 entries vied for a spot in the 16-car field…and there are very few slackers in this class.  The field was lead by Del Dysart’s perfect 8.60 and rounded out by Frank Merenda’s 8.666.  Just six-hundredths separating 16 cars!  Equally noteworthy was who didn’t make the field…former class champ Kevin Riley came up short running an 8.668-he was second alternate!; Jess Tyree failed to qualify for the first time since running in Goodguys.  The stories roll on.  The following photo highlights are just some of the excitement that happened during this event. Enjoy! Dawn & Mark
image Whoa baby! It’s not often we see an early ‘50s Chevy hiking the front end like this, so when we do it really grabs our attention! Hot Rod racer Randy Guitar put his ’51 Chevy up on its bumper during time trials that had everyone shaking their heads!
Pete Kaiser heats the hides of the “Ground Zero” entry during round one of Top Fuel. “Fritz” got a huge lead on Jim Murphy’s “WW2” at the hit but Murphy gunned Kaiser down at the top end- 5.85 to 5.97. image
image Craig Wallace began his title defense with a Nitro Nationals win in Nostalgia Eliminator III.
Dennis LaCharite scored his first “5” in his “Back In Black” Corvette Funny Car, when he ran a 5.975 @ 245.14 during his round one win over Bob Godfrey, which held for low e.t. and top speed of the event. image
image A/Fuel competitor Bill Genco had a tough outing at the Nitro Nationals, as he ran a blower-popping 7.35 during his one and only pass of the weekend.
Don Taros shutdown all comers in Nostalgia Eliminator and even handled his two greatest rivals from last season, Ronnie Lennon, and Dan Schrokosch.  Taros was wired to the ‘tree throughout eliminations, cutting no worse than a .005 light to this .001 in the final against Dan Schrokosch.  Check out their final round scoreboards!  Insane! image
image B/Gas competitor Pat McDonald, who was runner-up in the 2005 C/Gas points chase, qualified solidly with an 8.609, and was also awarded the Goodguys VRA Tech Award for his new Tim McAmis-built Nova.


Mike Adams took over the driver’s seat of Jeff Gaynor’s ’71 Challenger Funny Car, and qualified in the show on his last shot with a team-best 6.244. image
image B/Gas competitor A J Schwichtenberg made the longest tow to Pomona of anyone, hailing nearly 4,000 miles away in Palmer, Alaska! Schwichtenberg made the trip well worth it, as he outlasted the quickest qualified field in Goodguys history to claim his first Goodguys win!
Despite a complete image makeover for 2006, Mike Fuller & Bill Dunlap struggled to post respectable numbers during Top Fuel qualifying and got dumped in the opening round at the hands of Sean Bellemeur. image
image Jason Spence captures the Nostalgia Eliminator II spirit with his blown SBC powered ’38 Fiat.
As street-able as this flamed ’33 Ford appears, don’t let it fool you! Hot Rod competitor Jim Lirones, aka “The California Dad”, can turn 9.90 elapsed times at over 130 MPH in this beauty all day long! image
image Denver Schutz, near lane, had one of his best outings in recent memory, as he lasted through the semi final round, losing to eventual winner Brett Harris.  Here, Schutz upset 2005 Top Fuel Champ Rick White in the first round of eliminations with a 5.915 over White’s 5.984.
Dr. Kin Bates performed flawlessly in his Dean Adams-tuned nitro-injected entry, as he qualified number one in A/Fuel with a stunning 6.219/226.13, which held for low e.t. and top speed of the event. Bates went on to collect his second Goodguys hemi trophy after defeating Ron Attebury, Nick Norton, and brother-in-law and defending class champ Claude Lavoie, respectively. image
image Two-time and defending D/Gas Champ Ed Carey, near lane, nails the starting line advantage against final round opponent Larry Vallario.  Carey and went on to win the event with a 10.64 over Vallario’s quicker 10.601 and position himself for a likely three-peat title defense.
The A/Gas class boasted 22 entries vying for a spot in the 16-car show. Scott Loomis’ ’53 Studebaker was among the varied entries to make the cut and make it to the final round. image
image Defending C/Gas Champion Steve Galileo launches his sweet ’64 Ford Fairlane to an 9.618 during qualifying which placed him third in the 32-car field. Galileo defeated Scott Hudson in the opening round, before red-lighting by .003 in the second round against Richard Wilson.
It was good to see Mike Kirby make a rare appearance in the twin six Sissel & Mike dragster. image
image Dan See, near lane, streaks to an 8.63 during NE2 qualifying, which placed him sixth in the field.  See was stopped-short of an event win when he red-lit by .004 in the final against Traci Sterbens.
Defending Funny Car Champ Larry Pettit qualified his new ’77 Arrow flopper in the fifth spot with a 6.189. Pettit, who would have enjoyed nothing more than to defend his 2005 Nitro Nationals win, was stopped short, twice, during eliminations by eventual winner, Kris Krabill. image
image Scott Parks nailed a perfect .000 light en route to a hole-shot victory over Dean Carter in round two of Junior Fuel. Parks went on to earn the class title over perennial protagonist JD Zink in the final.
Taking home the VRA Best Engineered Award was B/Gas competitor Frank Merenda, who qualified his “Homewrecker” ’65 Chevy Nova Wagon on the bump spot with a stellar 8.666. image
image There seems to be a revolving door to the seat of “Flathead Jack” Schafer’s twin flathead-powered digger.  Jack Harris is the latest shoe to step up to the task.  Perhaps Harris is preparing for the debut of the “Bad Hombre” soon.  Stay tuned!
2005 B/Gas Champ Rob Patten has made the move up to A/Gas in his ’63 Corvette.  Patten qualified 11th in the 16-car field with a 7.72, but an uncharacteristic red light in the first round put an end to his weekend. image
image Adam Sorokin out drove Terry Cox in round one and had a temporary lead on Brett Harris too. Sorokin gave Harris his toughest bid with a difference of just 4 one hundredths of a second at the finish line.
Brett Harris’ systemic march through the Top Fuel field began with an off-the-trailer 5.899 at 254.09, before resetting the Goodguys MPH record at 260.26. The five runs that followed displayed an amazing knack for consistency, as all were within 1% of each other – both ET and MPH. Factor in that the team discovered a faulty oil pump just 30 minutes before round two, and also completed an engine swap going into the final, the “Nitro Thunder” team proved they are on a mission in 2006. image
image Cecil Mathews blazes through a lengthy burnout in his ’55 T-Bird during AA/Gas qualifying. Mathews landed in the eighth spot with a 7.069.
Sparky Horachko launches the wheels up high in his “Grape Ape” ’32 Bantam during NE3 qualifying.  Horachko qualified fifth with a 9.68, but lost in the opening round to Bobby Lee on a red light. image
image Mike Chrisman gives smoky burnout fans something to cheer for. Chrisman qualified seventh (7.127) in the quickest and fastest Junior Fuel “A” field ever.
Former D/Gas racer Mike Mangano has made the jump up to C/Gas in 2006 with his ’63 Nova.  Mangano lasted through the semi finals where he lost a close one to eventual runner-up, Jim Black. image
image John Rasmussen began his championship defense with a win at the Nitro Nationals. The Junior Fuel B champ’s first round numbers of 7.14 at 184.52 MPH would have qualified him in the A field.
Tommy Osborne does a burnout in Dode Martin’s Dragmaster, a chassis design that predates modern safety equipment as well as smoky burnouts! image
image 2005 Fuel & Gas Finals winner Kevin Houmard outlasted more than 140 Hot Rod competitors before losing in the quarter final round, where he lost on a double break-out to eventual runner-up, Mikey Griffin.
The Top Fuel final round was a doozy, as Brad Thompson, far lane, slapped a major hole shot on the heavily favored Brett Harris.  Thompson was well on his way to winning his first Goodguys event, but lost traction after half-track and used up much of his lane trying maintain his lead, eventually getting his dragster up on two wheels in the process and allowing Harris to streak by for the win.  The drama didn’t end there, as the chutes failed to open on Thompson’s entry forcing a visit into the sand at the top end.  Thompson was uninjured, and the car is reportedly a-okay and will be ready for the upcoming event in Seattle. image
image This gorgeous cherry-red ’41 Willys belongs to Jeff Lirones of Tujunga, Ca. Lirones lasted until the third round of Hot Rod eliminations where he lost on a break-out trying to catch eventual class winner, Jim Losquardo.
Joe Vilchis towed out to Pomona all the way from El Paso, Texas, to compete at his first Goodguys event. Vilchis competed in B/Gas class with this gorgeous ’33 Willys, but his 9.20-best was well off the 8.66 bump spot. image
image Kris Krabill ran down the Funny Car field in Gary Turner’s “Pedaler” entry at Pomona like it was standing still. With veteran fuel tuner Donnie Couch calling the shots, Krabill had a consistent entry that never once hurt a part during the course of the weekend. Outstanding!
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