Story continues below this advertisement
At the green, for some unexplained reason Bartone double stepped, but did not red light, Fry had a .150 reaction time, then Bartone’s started to head for Fry’s lane and as the High Speed car went marching by, Bartone pulled in behind her and followed her past the finish line and then went back in his own lane. The scoreboard rang up with a 5.59/249.26 in Fry’s lane along with the win light.
Fry’s team had found the performance it couldn’t in qualifying after the clutch anomaly. It came back in round two as Fry was able to take out Pete Wittenberg, the new driver of the “Circuit Breaker” dragster 5.78/220.76 covering Wittenberg’s 6.25/165.58. This sent Fry to the finals and maybe a place in drag racing history.
Another driver looking to make history was on the other side of the ladder and was running consistently and quickly all weekend. Jim Murphy has been chasing history for years, looking to join some guy named Garlits with five wins.
Murphy had been strong since testing in Phoenix. Roland Leong had the WWII dragster running consistently in the 5.60 range and not encountering many mechanical issues. Murphy had led qualifying after two sessions, and only passed by Bartone in the final session.
Nevertheless, in eliminations Murphy was back on track, taking out Rick McGee 5.71/243.37 to 7.22/117.23.
Murphy and Leong were being careful as there was uncertainty of the track conditions due to the lengthy rain delay on Sunday morning. However, in round two just before the rains came again Murphy matched up with Bret Williamson at the wheel of Mike Fuller’s “Forever Young” dragster. Murphy and Leong found the 5.60 pace running a 5.63/244.92 to cover Williamson’s up-in-smoke 15.19/58.72 pass.
Then the rains came and racing would be concluded on Monday.
As Monday dawned the sun was out but the temperature was brisk. At one point Murphy stated that he recorded a corrected altitude of -246 feet. It had adjusted just prior to race time to just over 35 feet corrected altitude.
As the cars were pulled into the water box there was much anticipation of what history would be made. Would Murphy win his fifth March Meet or would Fry become the first woman to win the March Meet in a front motored Top Fuel dragster, and only the second woman to win Top Fuel ever at the March Meet. The first, Lucille Lee, defeated Shirley Muldowney.