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SHAKIN' AND SLIDIN' AT SONOMA:

The Goodguys Fall Classic

 
   

Only one week and one town away from the deadly Napa earthquake of 2000, California's wine country was shaking again. This time, it was caused by the front-motored fuelers attempting to hook a brand-new M&H rear tire up to Sears Point International Raceway's notoriously short launch pads.

Everyone seemed to be talking about The Tire Problem during Goodguys' Fall Classic, but not Firestone's; the issue at Sears Point (as at Pomona, a month earlier) was the first new AA/Fuel Dragster slick in a decade. Instead of the traction edge that new-tire customers expected from a one-inch-wider M&H Racemaster, everyone running the new, soft-sidewalled 13-incher shook and/or went up in smoke on virtually every lap, while the trusty, stiff 12.00-16s were qualifying and going rounds. Consequences included an all-12-inch Top Fuel final; a reshuffling of the Red Line Oil Championship Series points standings (with only one race to go); lots of frustrated, disgusted racers; plenty of disappointed fans; and the first poor Goodguys competition in recent memory.

Illustrative of this slippery situation was the 3B2-Main showdown between nonqualifiers Bill Dunlap (above photo, far lane) driving for Mike Fuller and Mark Malde (near lane) driving for Arnold Birky. What appears to be side-by-side burnouts is actually the third and final round of consolation racing. Dunlap's winning numbers speak volumes: an awful 7.08 e.t. at a blazing, brake-grabbing, never-say-die speed of 216 mph. (Malde trailed at 8.58/107.) Both cars were shod with the new, 13-inch Racemasters.

The Champion Speed Shop Car was suffering no such problems. After qualifying second at 6.07 -- just a tick behind surprise- polesitter Kirk Kuhns (6.06/240, also overall Low ET/Top Speed) -- Rance McDaniel returned to shoot down prior-winners Lee Jennings, Jim Murphy and Jack Harris with successive blasts of 6.17/237; 6.10/214; 6.21/199. (The final numbers would've been better, had the mouse motor's 6-71 supercharger not exploded ahead of the lights, giving the longtime-NHRA contender his first taste of blinding by fire and oil.) Winning his first major front-motor meet at age 60, McDaniel finds himself leading a major points series for the first time in his illustrious career.

Moreover, the Champion team's final-session 6.07 simultaneously wrestled the Number One spot on Nitronic Research's Top 10 list from South San Francisco arch-rival Larry Gotelli, who'd been paired up with McDaniel just for the occasion. (The kid got loose on the big end and lifted.) Nearly four decades of history between the speed shops of Ted Gotelli and Jim McLennan made this much, much more than a grudge match. The entire Champion team even showed up on the starting line with brand-new T-shirts that read, "Got Goat's Milk?" Making matters worse for the unqualified Gotelli was a 6.34/204 time ticket that relegated Little Larry to the consolation program, meaning zero points would be earned.

The worst was yet to come: With the next day came a less-than-amicable dissolution of relations between Ted Gotelli's grandson and his talented-but-intense co-tuners, Pete and Fritz Kaiser. Eight days later, approaching his 84th birthday, Terrible Ted suffered a fatal heart attack. One has to wonder whether one of the greatest, longest-running rivalries in drag racing has been renewed for the final time.

Victorious co-owners Bob McLennan and Tony Bernardini had elected to stick (pun intended) with the 12.00-16, hard-sidewall, old-construction tire that's been the West Coast's "spec" slick since the early 1990s. That's when warring contingents of nostalgia racers from northern and southern California finally agreed to adopt common rules for blower overdrive, fuel-pump size and tires and begin to race together, instead of apart.

 


The powerful sparks of these ignitions will ignite high revving, high compression engines to produce great throttle response, a clean idle and incredible power throughout the entire rpm range
!



Capacitive Discharge design produces powerful sparks through high rpm.
Every spark is at full power, even each multiple spark, for complete combustion.
Adjustable soft touch rev limiter for engine saving overrev protection.
Multiple spark series lasts for 20 of crankshaft rotation.


3-Step Rev Control.
RPM Activated Switch.
4-Stage Retard System.
Start Retard Circuit.

 
 

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