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On Tuesday, Feb. 25, Blake Bowser was kind enough to send over to me the entry list of the March Meet in Bakersfield, California. If everybody happens to show up there is sixteen Top Fuel cars, thirty Funny Cars and eight plus fuel altereds. The altereds are going to be running a 6.0 class. A 6.0 fuel altered class should be an interesting proposition.
In Top Fuel from this perspective, it is going to be a real dogfight. At the top of the heap is reigning world champion Jim Murphy. Murphy now has had some time to develop his new combination, and work with the car he purchased from Frank Ousley. Murphy is planning to test a two-speed transmission prior to the event, then run the B&J at the March Meet.
Right behind Murphy is, as Donnie Couch refers to him, “The Boy in the Bubble”, Adam Sorokin. The Champion Speed car owned by Bobby McLennan -- or as I like to refer to it, the Black Bullet -- is always a contender, and with that 5.67-second run at the Hot Rod Reunion should get the rest of the class’s attention.
Then there is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, the Bartone brothers. This car is arguably the baddest hombre in the field. Their 5.56 says it all. What the Bartones and crew chief Steve Boggs need is the consistency that is in their alcohol program. If they had that in place, everybody else would be running for second.
Denver Schutz and Jim Young are right on the outside of the top three. Schultz proved last year that his combination is one that works and is consistent. He is a win just waiting to happen.
Young running his car with help from Frank Ousley is right there with Schutz. Another car running Ousley’s combination that it is was based off the combination run in the past with great success by Jack Harris.
There are a handful of cars that the top contenders should not take lightly. Rick McGee, Rick White, Terry Cox and Rick Williamson all fall into that category. Both McGee and White are perennial primetime players. Always tough, these are the cars you don’t want to make a mistake with. They will make you pay.
Terry Cox and his dad have not run in a while, but if you think that will make them vulnerable, think again. There is a great deal of intellect in that camp and it will not take them long to get back to form.
Rick Williamson and Team Craig is a dark horse. When these guys are on they are the hungry grizzly bear in the woods; don’t mess with them. However, the past year hasn’t been to kind to Team Craig and sorting through their issues could take some time. Ultimately, if they have their house in order, then this team will surprise and could be standing in front of the tower on Sunday afternoon.
In Funny Car, holy cow where to start. Thirty cars as of this writing are pre-entered, and there is talk of more. Bowser might have to rent some of the almond orchards to park all these guys.