Combustion Chamber – 2001 ADRA West Coast Reunion


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Hovsepian and myself.  Enjoy!- Dawn

Well, if you haven’t heard by now, there’s a new sanctioning body in town and it’s in the form of the American Drag Racing Association.   The ADRA, lead by President, Bill Chapman, and supported by some of the most recognized names of the sport, (Keith Ferrell, Larry Sutton, Jim Van Dyke and Art Haywood to name few) debuted their organization at Top Gun Raceway in Fallon, Nevada.  Their purpose, to provide nationwide outlets for the ever-growing and popular nostalgia drag racing scene.  Their theme, to present drag racing the way it used to be.  The organization has mapped out an ambitious 2001 schedule, criss-crossing the country with 14 events.  With over 45 ‘classic’ classes to choose from, from Top Fuel to Street Stock, there appears to be a place for anyone with anything nostalgic.
Despite kicking off their tour on Easter weekend and at a track that is placed in the middle of nowhere, the event was well received.   Although fans packed the facility on Saturday, (nearly 3,000) racer attendance fell short of expectations with approximately 100 cars in attendance.  The low car count may have been a blessing, as the newly formed organization begins to gel and become acclimated with running national event caliber events.  There were a few glitches along the way, but with anything new, those things should be expected and improved upon in time.

A quarter of the entries in attendance represented the Top Fuel class, with no more than a few entries competing for a variety of other classes like Funny Car, Classic and Contemporary Fuel Altered, as well as plenty of sportsman categories.  The Top Fuel show was nothing short of jaw dropping, given the fact the facility resides 4,000′ above sea level.  But with the lack of entries to round out the rest of the show, the ADRA was hard pressed to keep the folks entertained throughout the course of the weekend.  Hopefully, as the ADRA tour moves about the country, racer attendance will increase and provide the fans with non-stop action they deserve.  The following will take you on a photo recap of the event presented by Mark Hovsepian and myself.  Enjoy!- Dawn

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Texan, Vicky Fanning thrilled the spectators with her version of the ‘two-step’ in the “Nitro Cow” entry during Saturday’s first qualifying session, while nearly branding her funny car with TGR’s retaining wall.   Fanning came away unscathed and lasted through the final round of F/C on Sunday, posting a 7.446/167.88 runner-up effort.
Somebody stop the ‘Survivor’ insanity, puhleeze.   Ty Norton didn’t have to sit through boring nitro-tribal council meetings or win immunity to take Sunday’s Classic Top Fuel title.  Of the three entries eligible for the class, Norton survived Saturday’s grueling qualifying sessions without breakage, thus allowing him to claim the top prize Sunday on a solo 7.153/181.00 pass. TyNortonBO0318.jpg (51630 bytes)
hankins.jpg (57148 bytes) Brett Hankins drove a recreation of his dad’s “Blue Blazer” AA/FA to quite a few low eight second runs.  Hankins blazed the the desert strip to an 8.154, good for a runner-up effort in the Classic Fuel Altered category.
Professor Ginz lit up more than this shot during the final qualifying session.  Ginz tripped the top end lights with a 7.01 effort, only to have sacrificed his Donovan powered ‘Voodoo’ entry in the process. profginz.jpg (45264 bytes)
nanookrattler.jpg (55795 bytes) Ricky Ruiz (near lane) and Rick Hough squared off during Sunday’s AA/FA eliminations.  Ruiz, who is celebrating his 40th year in drag racing, earned a spot in the final round but was unable to make a bid for the title, as his ‘Nevada Rattler’ entry was bit by mag problems and was forced to shut off.
Rob Bruce brought his Flint, Michigan-based ‘Zombie’ entry out to Fallon.  Since debuting at the Goodguy’s Indy event last season, Bruce has made the transition from running methanol to nitromethane.  Bruce, with the help of several fuel teams, posted a career best 7.204/192 effort. RobBruceBO0163.jpg (54892 bytes)
wallygiavia.jpg (57591 bytes) Long time fuel racer Wally Giavia, in the saddle of the Jesse Perkins ‘Cow Palace Shell’ entry, posted a 7.14 best during Top Fuel qualifying.   While that was only good for the 3rd alternate status of the 16 car show, Giavia gained a spot in Sunday’s eliminations replacing Jason Howell in the number nine position.   Giavia was handed a ‘gift’ in the opening round of eliminations, as opponent Rance McDaniel red-lighted away a 6.49.  Giavia met low qualifier Bill Dunlap in the second round, but his 7.54 was eclipsed by Dunlap’s 6.16.
Godfrey0329.jpg (59369 bytes) Bob Godfrey drove the gorgeous ‘Godfrey & Close’ entry to the Classic Fuel Altered title.  Godfrey used a 7.32/162.98 to defeat Brett Hankins 8.15/162.98.
Butch Blair qualified his “Fugowie” Top Fuel entry in the fourth spot of the 16 car field with a great 6.25.  Blair used consistent 6.20 e.t.s during eliminations to take out the likes of Lee Paul Jennings, Rick McGee, and upset number one qualifier Bill Dunlap.  Blair shot off yet another 6.20 pass in the final, but his 6.24 wasn’t enough to hold off Roger Lechtenberg’s 6.16. blair.jpg (53402 bytes)
NateBugg0161.jpg (43367 bytes) Nathan Bugg, driving the “Lil’ Nate” entry, made the leap from Nostalgia Eliminator to compete in the nitro F/C class.  Bugg posted a career best 6.987/167.88 during the final round over Vicky Fanning, to claim his first title.
Jed DuBach, of Layton, Utah, driving the beautiful ‘Iron Butterfly’, claimed the Jr. Alcohol title with a fine 7.62/170 effort.   Interestingly, Scott Mason, crew chief of Jack Harris’ ‘Nitro Thunder’, painted this beauty. ironbutterfly.jpg (45568 bytes)
LangsonBO170.jpg (58873 bytes) Former IHRA Top Fuel Champ, Richard Langson, brought his ‘Texas Ranger’ AA/FA entry out of a 10 year retirement.  Langson captured the crowd’s attention all weekend, as he opened with a blower banging burnout during Friday’s qualifying session.  Langson’s entertainment didn’t stop there, as he thrilled fans with by winning his first round clash against Ed Schwarz, while nearly crossing the centerline.  Langson returned for his final round meeting with Ruiz, and claimed the AA/FA title with a solo 8.10/144.44 blast…but not before he nearly tagged the left retaining wall.
Dale Pulde (near lane) and Lee Jennings Sr. complete successful passes during Saturday’s first qualifying session.  The final qualifying session would prove to be a different story for each driver, as Pulde opened the round with a head-gasket-pushing, flame-throwing 6.10, followed by a horrific top end crash by Jennings.  Thankfully, neither driver was seriously injured, however both entries were sidelined for the remainder of the event. PuldeJenningsChute0138.jpg (61908 bytes)
TroyGreen0100.jpg (59625 bytes) Troy Green made the trip out West from Oklahoma, and qualified well within the Top Fuel field with a 6.37.  Green disposed of Mark Malde in the opening round with 6.34, to earn a meeting with longtime nemesis Roger Lechtenberg in the second round.  Green was out on Lechtenberg at the start, but a loose fuel lining forced Green to shut-off and watch Lechtenberg take the win light with a 6.245/196.56.
Ford and Chevy fans were treated to a ‘best of’ match race between Butch Ranson (far lane) and Larry Ofria during the course of the weekend.   Ranson, who is fresh off of a runner-up effort in A/GAS at the March Meet, dominated each meeting with killer reaction times and high seven e.t.s. ofriaranson.jpg (48348 bytes)
FredBach0223.jpg (61491 bytes) Fred Bach qualified the ‘Bach & Gould’ Ford cammer entry in the 16th spot with a 6.72.  The weekend turned out to be a long one for the team, as their entry sneezed the blower during the final qualifying session, prompting the crew to thrash on the wounded Ford power-plant until the next morning.   The team made the first round call, but their 7.36 fell short to Bill Dunlap’s winning 6.43.
Martin and Carla Stewart brought their gorgeous GTO to the inaugural ADRA event at Top Gun Raceway, and competed within the A/FX category.   Stewart thrilled fans with his long smoky burnouts and consistent, wheels-up 7.70 e.t.s.   Stewart, who went on to claim the class title, would have been a tough act to beat had there been more than one entry. stewartlaunch.jpg (55579 bytes)
nanook.jpg (54104 bytes) Rick Hough smokes though a long burnout in the replicated ‘Nanook’ entry.  Despite being classic in appearance, the ‘Nanook’ was defeated in the opening round of AA/FA by Ricky Ruiz.
Finally!  Dale and Kat Suhr’s ‘Orange Crate’, driven by Roger ‘Radar’ Lechtenberg, claimed the first ADRA Top Fuel title.  The journey to the winner’s circle wasn’t an easy road to get down, as the team suffered a broken spindle on their Kodiak tow rig en route to the event.  The sleep deprived team rolled through the gates early Saturday morning, made the final two qualifying sessions, but were bumped to the 17th spot by the final session.  Sunday morning dawned a little brighter for the team, as they were inserted in the program replacing number two qualifier, Dale Pulde.  Team ‘Orange Crate’ took full advantage of their last minute reprieve, as they trailered the likes of RogerLechtenbergChute0140.jpg (61430 bytes)
Kent Terry (6.48 to Terry’s up in smoke blast), Troy Green (6.24 to Green’s eary shut-off 6.42), the ever-hot Jack Harris (6.08 to Harris’ 6.13), and surprise finalist, Butch Blair.  Lechtenberg blasted the ‘Fugowie’ entry’s 6.24 with a 6.16!  Congratualtions to the entire team!!!
© 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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