2012 March Meet: Funny Cars

(Les Mayhew photo)

It’s been a long, cold winter for the old Trickster. He finally came out of his self-induced coma with the realization that in just a few days the first big race of 2012 for nostalgia nitro racers, the fabled March Meet, would be cranking up. So he poured some of his stash of nitro into a towel, took a big old snort and hunkered down to handicap the Fuel Coupes. Here are the Trickster’s picks to click, and on the next page you can find what he thinks about the Top Fuel entries.

And remember kids, this is just for fun -- no wagering allowed.

DRIVER The Tipsy One says ODDS
Jason Rupert 2011 Heritage AA/FC Champion showed he has gobs of horsepower with a 5.685/259+ lap at Phoenix. If you want to be the man you have to beat the man. Rupert is the man to beat. 1-1 
John Hale HRR and 2011 DRO Challenge champ has shown he can run big numbers at will. A win at the March Meet wouldn’t be an upset.  5.589 at 255.97 mph at Famoso was no fluke.  1-1
Paul Romine

Hittin Hoosier is 2-time DRO nat'l champ and finished second in 2011.  Team can deliver 5.60s at will. Romine knows the track and how to win. Final round appearance would be no surprise.

Tim Boychuk Canadian team has a consistent final-four car with veteran tuner Roland Leong calling the tuning shots. 5.50s performance in the bag.  Driver will make the difference here.   2-1 
Kris Krabill California racers got whupped by Hale in finals at the last 2011 major at the HRR.  They know the track and run well. Motivation not the problem but a 5.50 lap could be.  5-2
James Day Day filling Dale Pulde’s big driving shoes very well. Pulde will probably tune car by phone.  5.71 at Reunion speaks well for “War Eagle” getting into the semifinals then will need some racing luck. 4-1 
Ryan Davenport O’Brien & Austin’s new driver ran 5.823/248 in Phoenix. Austin has to be respected as a tuner. Team could be a dark horse winner here. 9-2 
Ron Capps Worsham-tuned AA/FC Arrow ran 5.80s at the last year’s Reunion. All-star talent, parts, experience in this pit. If team and driver get serious they could easily be in the final round. 5-1 
Roger Garten Team has run 5.77 and 5.80s, needs to find old "War Horse" consistency in eliminations.  11-2
Steven Densham Three semifinal finishes in 2011 with 'Pops' Densham tuning makes them a threat. Will need to get into low 5.70s to be a factor at this race. Haven’t shown those numbers yet.  6-1
Mike Halstead Tuner Paolo Galli found what the “Angel” was missing in testing but will have to run better than 5.80 flat to pull away from the pack.  7-1
Dennis LaCharite Lil’ GTO ran solid 5.80s at the Reunion, veteran tuner Jon Wurtz has a solid tune-up and a hungry driver. Won’t be a pushover.  8-1
Claude Lavoie 5.80s not a problem but needs another tenth from the 392 Hemi that powers the “Sandman Special” to be factor. Don’t be surprised if veteran steps it up.  8-1
Brad Thompson Thompson ran “early” shut off passes in the 5.90s during pre-season testing, Champion T/F driver with the “rock ape” on the clutch - he could go all the way.  9-1
Dwayne Patton “High Voltage” Camaro 5.86 ET at Reunion needs to keep those coming for eliminations.  10-1
Mike Lewis Made it into the 20th Reunion field as an alternate, but Godfrey’s tune-up can make .80s. 10-1 
Mark Sanders This team returns to the Heritage Series after a 2011 layoff with a trailer full of fresh parts. Mark and son Jake will make power or burn up all those new parts trying.  11-1
Rick Rogers Rogers had delivered 5.95 time slips in “Smokey’s Firebird”, but will need 5.80s or quicker in the new  “Smokey’s Challenger” to be a factor on Sunday.  12-1
Dale Van Gundy The “Quarter Pounder” is always a good qualifier with a veteran crew.  13-1
Dennis Taylor Tuner Bob Brooks has to find sweet spot in “Evil” Mustang. Driver ready, needs car to perform.  14-1
Chad Head Best equipment, great crew. Should qualify well. Only lack of experience hurts chances.  15-1
Nate Bugg The original nostalgia funny car has some new sponsors, but needs to find a way into the five-second zone consistently.  20-1
Will Martin Tuner Johansen may have found the handle on “Jam-Air2” tune up with this consistent 7.0 Pro Champion second-generation nitro race car driver. 22-1 
Rian Konno Historic SoCal team, solid driver, stumbled in Reunion qualifying.  30-1
Tom Padilla “Red Dragon” and Dave Benjamin. This team is almost always entertaining in several ways.  30-1
Kurt Cruise NFC Mustang newcomer in deep water with this tough field.  40-1
Kebin Kinsley Longtime alky racer now a nitro rookie. Steps up with hot “Wild Child” Mustang for a good cause.  50-1
Scott Cusimano "Nitro Mafia" Plymouth Arrow – Midwest owner, new car and team from West Coast will need some Sopranos-like muscle to be ready for Prime Time. 99-1