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Goodguys at Sears Point

SONOMA, CALIF. - Mutha Nature finally caught up with Goodguys’ Vintage Racing Association at Sears Point International Raceway. After 12 years of squeezing the annual Jim Davis Memorial / Nitro Nationals between April and May storm systems-including one entire edition that was crammed into a single Sunday-the oldest VRA event was washed out just as the first pair of AA / Fuelers prepared to fire for Round One. Relentless rainfall and the looming expiration of their two-day track rental forced Goodguys officials to officially pull the plug at 2:30 p.m.

Only the first rounds of Junior Fuel, Nostalgia, and e.t. bracket racing were completed Sunday morning. Because the rest of the show never got underway, the event was declared a “non-race,” and none of these round wins earned championship points. (No rain dates or makeup dates have ever been offered by Goodguys.)

That’s not to say that some minor rearrangement of the points did not result, however. Because both of Saturday’s scheduled qualifying sessions were completed in six professional categories, normal qualifying points were awarded: Sixteen-car fields offer one point for each position, in reverse order (i.e., 16 points for pole position, down to eight points for the bump spot); eight-car programs distribute two points per spot, in reverse order.

Thus, not even the first event cancellation in the history of the Goodguys West Coast Championship Series could prevent pro polesitters Mark Mahood (A / Gas) and Steve San Paolo (A / Fuel) from extending respective points leads in the Red Line Oil-sponsored series. The maximum 16 tallies were earned by March Meet winners Mahood (7.52) and San Paolo (6.53). In qualifying Number One at both 2000 events to date, plus winning Bakersfield’s season opener, the defending-world-champ Mahood has snatched every single point available to an A / Gas contestant this year!

Gaining ground on the leaders in the additional pro categories were low-qualifiers Jim Murphy (Top Fuel, 6.06 seconds); Steve Woods (Pro Supercharged, 6.87); Bill Wayne (Junior Fuel, 7.28); and Robert Murphy (Nostalgia One, 7.51). The fact that both Saturday sessions were completed in six different classes was a credit to Sears Point’s dedicated staffers, and to the jet dryer that Bruton Smith bought them.

Unfortunately, time-consuming track drying either limited or altogether eliminated qualifying runs in Nostalgia Two (8.50 index), B / Gas (8.50), and all four e.t. brackets. Goodguys repeatedly thanked and apologized to these frustrated racers over the PA system, announcing that all will receive free entry (car and driver) when the circuit returns to Sonoma on September 9-10.

T/F low qualifier, Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy’s final-session 6.06 at 236.69 mph was nearly as dramatic as his wheelstand in the opening session. The former Funny Car pilot’s Stirling slingshot slammed earthward with sufficient downforce to bend its front end, folding up both front wheels. A lesser team than the WW Two operation might’ve retired to the barbeque and beer barrel for an afternoon of bench racing. Anyone not surprised to see Murphy back in line in time for the subsequent session was plenty surprised when his hastily repaired chassis belted out the quickest quarter-mile of this abbreviated event, earning 16 valuable points towards a fourth world championship.



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