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As 2015 draws to a close, it is only natural to reflect back on the past eleven months and all that has taken place in our little slice of heaven.
This year in nostalgia drag racing has been a year of intrigue and a slight bit of controversy, happiness and sorrow.
The intrigue was based from this perspective of who if anybody could dethrone Tony Bartone as the Top Fuel Champion. Bartone was perfect in 2014 and did not lose one round of racing.
However, this year there might have been a chink in Bartone’s armor as the High Speed Motorsports Team headed by Tom Shelar and driver Bill Dunlap became the thorn in Bartone’s side. Multiple reports have Bartone having a new car being constructed at Murf McKinney’s chassis shop for next season.
The other intrigue is that after many years of trying and being involved in the sport Steven Densham put it all together along with his father, Gary, who is an icon when it comes to driving and tuning a nitro funny car. Steven was able to put together a performance strong enough to win his first ever championship.
So from the Getting Nostalgic staff every single ONE of us, congratulations to both Tony and to Steven on your championships. We know that you will both be very wonderful champions.
Now on to the controversy that has embroiled the funny car division. Earlier this summer Ron Hodgson debuted his newly built Victory Race Cars 1969 Chevrolet Camaro. To many it looked like a Pro Mod, to others it was a “Big Show” car with a nose and tail piece from a ’69 Camaro. Others see nothing wrong with the body, other than it being a step in the natural evolution of the racecars.
We have written about the car as have many other cyber journalists. Revisiting the article, the folks at Victory stated that the NHRA reached out to them to gain input from the racecar builder on enhancing stability of the nostalgia nitro funny cars in the finish line area. This statement made by Victory, NHRA representatives neither confirmed nor denied.
From this perspective is seems that the rear of the car along with many others is in direct violation of the rules written by the NHRA. Yet the NHRA has seemed to turn a blind eye to enforcing their own rules when it comes to the rear spoilers of the cars.
So when the cars show up in Bakersfield for the 2016 March Meet or prior to the event, it will be interesting to see if the NHRA will address this subject or will the sanctioning body just disavow any knowledge of the spoilers.
But the spoilers are not the only bone of contention with this car body. The most common opposition to the body is stated in one simple sentence: “The body doesn’t fall within the spirit of the class.” Therefore it will be interesting to see how the sanctioning body handles this issue with the funny cars -- or will they kick the can down the road?
There is no such controversy with the guys who drive the engine stands on wheels, but there is still an issue that has plagued the class for the past four or five years. Car counts. Or the lack there of.
Yes, once again I am bringing this up. There are only a few teams dedicated to run all the events on the schedule. Eight or nine stalwarts have dedicated themselves to the class. Many others do not want or cannot travel to events outside the Bakersfield area.