VOLUME XXI,  NUMBER 4 - APRIL,  2019

getting nostalgic w/Brian Losness

Brian Losness Returns

 

A few weeks ago I wrote my first installment for DRO in over a year. I called it either a touch and go or it could be a return to full time writing. This was entirely up to his Eminence Mr. Jeff Burk. Well, he decided not to publish it, but he also didn’t say do send me anything else fat boy. (Editor’s note: It got lost somewhere in Email Hell. Really.] So, I have decided to be that pesky fly and send him something else for this month. Worse thing is he won’t publish this one either, which like Bobby Brown once said, “That’s his prerogative.”

 

Nevertheless, before I go any further I once again must thank those seven readers who loyally read my column. I’m thinking of having T-Shirts made and then sending those to you seven. It would say “Getting Nostalgic on DRO, I’m #5” or whatever number I designate for you all. For you born after 2000 that symbol in this case is a number sign not a “hashtag”.

 

I digress…. The March Meet this year many said was the best March Meet in decades. For those I spoke with directly, many said that it was very exciting and the racing was spectacular. Due to some personal commitments I was unable to attend, but did spend the money on the “Pay Per View.” It got me the information I needed, however, there were many issues with the quality. Hopefully it will get better with time and hopefully I will be there in person next year.

 

The racing started off with a bang as Kalitta Motorsports Car Chief Matt Bynum took an ugly ride in Cecil Matthews’ “Nitro Nick” Chevy Camaro flopper in a Thursday test and tune session. It looked more like a Pro Stock crash than anything. The most important part was that Matty got out of the car under his own power and didn’t have a scratch on him.

 

Funny cars seem to be the center of attention when it came to the excitement, as there were small fires and body shredding explosions and what not. Again, the most important aspect was that no one was injured even slightly.

 

However, NHRA Big Show Funny Car super star and former World Champion Ron Capps fulfilled his life-long dream of driving a fuel altered at the March Meet. To coin a phrase, Capps got his money’s worth for this weekend. Not only did he ruin a fire suit and dull the paint on a helmet getting oiled in, he pretty much admitted he also decimated some undergarments as well, on a couple of runs, including the oil job. One bit of advice to Capps: Tear offs. You have piloted dirt cars, you know how to use them. Just a suggestion.

 

Speaking of fuel altereds, there seems to be more and more interest in this class. Now eleven cars showed up for eight spots. Many of these were newer entries outside of Dan Hix’s car. Hix has had a stranglehold on this class for the past four years. Moreover, history was made in the class as journeyman fuel car driver James Day took the win in fuel altered. Day became the first driver to win the March Meet in two different nitro categories. A feat not accomplished by the greats such as Prudhomme, McEwen, Garlits, any of them. (A personal note, this kid is one of many nostalgia drivers who deserves a shot at a quality big show ride.)

 

However, if the rumors are true, which is why they are rumors and not facts, there are more altereds being built and more teams looking at this cost-effective way to go nitro racing (if there is such a thing).

 

Front Engine Top Fuel this year at the March Meet was, well, I will use former NHRA head announcer Bob Frey’s technical term, “Whacky”. However, I must state this, for those of you who read the Bakersfield preview, I made a prediction which came true which I will expound on in a moment. Therefore, I guess this means I’m not too rusty yet.

 

Defending Front Engine Top Fuel Champion Mendy Fry and the High Speed had looked like anything but the defending champs as problems set in from the git go. Blower explosions and then having to take major drive-train components back to Gardena, California, about a two or three-hour one-way trip depending on traffic on Saturday evening, work on those components and drive back early AM to be ready for eliminations. The hard work paid off in round one, deep staging 5.51 got the world’s attention, and then in round two her 5.49 (which I predicted) rang up on the scoreboards, and took all the oxygen out of the Front Engine Top Fuel world.

 

In the final against Adam Sorokin a 50-cent fastener fell out of the throttle linkage at the hit and Miss Fry and the High Speed Special went nowhere. She watched the ketchup-red Champion Speed Shop FETF get very small very fast, and Sorokin took his second March Meet win.

 

The good news in FETF is that there is a great deal of new cars which are purported to being built with the full intension of being raced this year. Speaking of Sorokin, Champion is getting new pipe. Dusty Green is building a car, Sean Bowen is building a top fuel car, as is Michael Bartone. Dan Horan is has a FETF dragster in the works as well.

 

Therefore, the next stop for the diggers is Bowling Green, and this could be a something very special indeed if all or some of these new cars will show up along with the usual contingent of dragsters.

 

Even though there were two classes for the funny cars, the 5.90 class and the unlimited class, there was an overall decrease in car count at this year’s March Meet as compared with totals from previous years. There was a total of 26 floppers on the grounds on Thursday. Twenty in unlimited funny car and six in classic. Thus, when three cars are destroyed in on-track incidents and a couple more pulled out due to catastrophic engine damage, that reduces the effective force by nearly 20 percent.

 

Has it become too difficult to race the big money in this class? Just a thought, could be wrong.

 

Those in the unlimited funny cars put on a whale of a show. It was good to see new and returning blood come into the class.

 

Returning blood in the form of “Hollywood” Kris Krabill and new blood in the form of Jerry Espereth, a former Nostalgia Eliminator racer who has made a business arrangement with Jason Rupert to run the Rupert and Littlefield flopper for the first few races of the years, with an option to purchase the operation turn key and then move forward on his own.

 

Both drivers did themselves proud, as Krabill made it to the semi-finals and Espereth made it to the final round.

 

Bobby Cottrell picked up where he left off and took the win at the March Meet. Cottrell and car owner and tuner, Bucky Austin, are scheduled to head for Tucson and the first event of the UNFC calendar for 2019. We plan on monitoring the goings on in Tucson and will report in DRO on those events.

 

Nostalgia nitro racing is alive and well. It is going through ebbs and flows as most everything in life does. Honestly, it seems to be on a nice stable growth curve. Which is good for everybody in drag racing. 

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