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This weekend a pair of dragster-driving Jims from separate parts of America will converge just north of Bakersfield at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, to settle some scores in Top Fuel Eliminator and maybe make history.
After claiming the 2012 and 2013 March Meet Top Fuel titles in Frank Ousley’s “Crop Duster” fueler, Wisconsin-based Jimi Young’s goal is to three-peat, joining the late local legend James Warren as the only driver to claim the Top Fuel trifecta. (Warren did it in 1975, '76 and '77.)
|(Max Cackle photo)|
“In my opinion the March Meet is the most prestigious race there is,” Young said. “Never in my wildest dreams would I think that we would win not one, but two of them. It is truly a honor to be on the list with all those great names that have won in the past fifty-plus years.”
Young’s challenge to win a third consecutive time is made even more daunting by his recent change of steeds, not to mention an entirely different thermodynamic approach to winning Top Fuel. This year Young is no longer shoeing Frank Ousley’s Chrysler-powered “Crop Duster”; instead he is at the helm of his own “Young Guns” slingshot, which uses a 388-cubic inch small-block Chevy for propulsion.
One constant this year is Ousley himself, who is credited as crew chief for Young’s entry.
“Our goal for this race is not only to win, but to leave with both the Top Speed and Low ET for a Chevy,” Young said. “Frank and myself put a package together that is more than capable of running in the 5.50 range; it just needs laps. We will test on Wednesday and Thursday and hopefully figure out what the car wants before qualifying.”
One man standing in the young gun’s way is the other Jim: Jim Murphy, a veteran racer from Santa Rosa, Calif., and the 2013 NHRA Heritage Series Top Fuel Champion. His new car is Frank Ousley’s “Crop Duster”—the same piece of pipe that Young won the last two March Meets in. Ousley will also be tuning this dragster.