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Despite the upper 90’s temperatures in Bakersfield during the day, when the sun set the fans poured into Famoso to watch Saturday Night Nitro.  As always flame-shooting cars under the lights attract attention. Below Jeremy Sullivan in the Mike Sullivan Fiat shoots smoke and flames during his burnout.



This year Saturday Night Nitro had a new format.  Rather than funny cars staging next to funny cars, all 28 fuel cars (top fuel, funny cars and altereds) raced in one big class.  Many times throughout the evening a funny car sat at the line next to a fuel altered.  Another change was the imposition of a 6.0 index.  Typically the fuel cars run heads-up.  As in the past the eight quickest cars from round one return for round two and the quickest car in round two is the overall winner.


First up Fighting Irish met Trouble Maker.  Rick Rogers seemed to have some handling problems with the Fighting Irish, and after running an ET of 6.04 in the first round, ran a 6.26 in the finals.  Jim Holtz in Trouble Maker had his own problems and ran an ET of 7.08.



Hot For Teacher driven by Alex Miladinovich was at the line next to Quarter Pounder with Geoff Monise behind the butterflies.  Miladnovich’s ET of 5.88 was too fast for the 6.0 index giving Quarter Pounder the win with an ET of 6.05.


Jeremy Sullivan in the Mike Sullivan Fiat altered met Gary Turner’s Pedaler. Sullivan turned in a 6.07 ET while Pedaler turned in a disappointing 10.48.


The final pair was the Keith Wilson’s altered Witch Doctor and Smokey’s Darkside driven by Mendy Frye. Wilson ran an ET of 6.48 to Frye’s 6.29.



At the end of the finals, Van Gundy and Clark’s Quarter Pounder with an ET of 6.05 was the winner of Saturday Night Nitro.


After the finals of Saturday Night Nitro two nitro bikes ran down the track at 170+ mph and Jim Reed ran the Choo Choo Mama down the lanes.


Many of the cars that ran Saturday night, were running throughout the day on Friday and Saturday.

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Between the two rounds of Saturday Night Nitro, Heritage Series cars continued with elimination rounds of the first of the two complete races taking place this week-end.

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NHRA Heritage Series, Fun Ford and Mega Mopar series events all took place this week-end.   Heritage Series ran two complete races this week-end.  Saturday’s race was a make-up for a rain-out, and Sunday’s was the season final for Group 2 cars.  Group 2 consists of NE1, 2 and 3, A, B, C, D Gas and Hot Rods.

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NE 1 – The final pitted Dale Taros against Sabrina Capps.  In this 7.60 index race Taros took the win running an ET of 7.693 at 162.43 mph while Capps broke out with a 7.565.

NE 2 – The index for this class is 8.60.  In the final round Charlie See ran an ET of 8.608 at 153.94 mph. Terry Linblad turned the light red and See took home the trophy.

NE 3 – Lindsey Lister met Ron Anzalone in the finals.  NE 3 runs on a 9.6 index.  Lister broke out with a ET of 9.550 but Anzalone went red at the start giving Lister the win.

A Gas – After this 18 car field was reduced to two, Brian Rogers and Brendon Frye met at the line.  Rogers was first off the line with a reaction time of .008 while Frye’s reaction was .033.  Although Frye ran quicker and faster than Rogers, Rogers crossed the finish line first with an ET of 7.632 at 171.90.

B Gas – Neal Westbrook in a ’68 Camaro won the final race of this 8.60 index class with a reaction time of .120 and an ET of 9.97 when Jim Stewart in a ’66 Chev Nova broke out running 8.596.

C Gas – Mark Capps and Brian Smith met at the line in the finals.  Smith left first with a reaction time of .004 but Capps caught up before the finish line and turned in an ET of 9.610 to take the win.

D Gas – This class runs on a 10.6 index.  Mike Williams in a ’67 Nova ran quicker and faster than Steve Barta in his ’62 Nova.  Williams ran an ET of 10.633 at 127.67 mph. Ed Carey the No. 1 qualifier and points leader fell to Mike Williams in the semi-finals.

Hot Rod – This is a dial-in class.  Dustin Lee in his ’53 Ford Ranch Wagon ran 11.753 on an 11.70 dial-in to beat the No. 1 qualifier Jay Waxler in a ’70 Plymouth Duster.  Waxler ran 9.492 on a dial-in of 9.53.

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NE 1 – Dale Taros repeated his Saturday performance and advanced to the final rounds to take home the trophy.  Taros met Steve Schoenfeld in the Sunday finals and took the win with an ET of 7.863 at 134.03. Schoenfeld had a ET of 8.068 at 124.53.

NE 2 – Like NE 1, the winner of NE 2, Charlie See was a repeat winner. In the finals See met Dave Lawson at the line.  See ran an ET of 8.626 while Lawson broke out with an ET of 8.586.

NE 3 – Wes Anderson and Wes Morris met in the finals.  Anderson’s reaction time of .005 won him the race.  Morris had a reaction time of .046. Anderson ran an ET of 9.638 at 135.50 and Morris had an ET of 9.604 at 134.35.

A Gas – The Homewrecker IV with Frank Merenda at the wheel took the win over Chris Beanes’ Henry J.  Again the reaction time was key.  Merenda’s reaction time was .006 while Beanes’ was .061.  Merenda had an ET of 7.663 at 169.27 and Beanes had an ET of 7.658 at 178.64.  This win put Merenda No. 1 in points for the Heritage Series.

B Gas – The final round was a duel of Novas when Jim Stewart ran against Tim Mulvihill.  Stewart ran an ET of 8.615 at 157.89 mph while Mulvihill broke out with an ET of 8.599.

C Gas – Wayne Hoover and Gary Lynch met in the finals.  Hoover in a ’67 Nova and Lynch in a ’58 Austin.  Hoover ran quicker and faster with an ET of 9.62 at 139.67 to win the race.

D Gas – Steve Barta ran the ladder to meet Mike Rabener in the finals.  The win went to Barta who was first off the line with a reaction time of .005 and ran an ET of 10.613 at 125.86 mph. Rabener broker out with an ET of 10.588.

Hot Rod – Rocky Young was the Hot Rod champion on Sunday.  His ’41 Studabaker ran on a 10.37 dial-in and ran ET of 10.402 at 127.13 mph.  His opponent, Mike Cunningham ran a dial-in of 10.38.  Cunningham ran too quick with an ET of 10.375.

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Chris Fredrickson in a ’71 Dodge Challenger met Adam Hinkle in a ’71 Dodge Demon in the final round on Sunday.  Fredrickson took the win with an ET of 12.145 at 107.38 mph.


James Brown the No. 2 qualifier in a ’66 Ford met the ’67 Cougar of No. 1 qualifier David Landsverk in the final round.  Both cars turned the light red at the start.  Brown by .002 and Landsverk by .007 giving Brown the win.

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Starting with testing on Friday, the racing was non-stop all week-end. Even though the temperatures were in the upper 90’s the racing was fantastic.  The Heritage Series will complete the season when Top Fuel, Funny Car, A Fuel, Jr. Fuel and 7.0 Pro run at the California Hot Rod Reunion.

More photos are on our SmugMug site as well as all the photos shown above.





The rules of the race were a little different for Saturday Night Nitro this year.  All fuel cars – funny cars, top fuel and altereds – ran as one class.  Rather than heads-up racing, the class ran on a 6.0 index.  28 fuel cars ran in round one with the quickest 8 returning for the final round.  The 8 car field consisted of:  funny car Fighting Irish met altered Trouble, funny car Hot for Teacher met funny car Quarter Pounder, altered the Mike Sullivan car met funny car the Pedaler, and altered Witch Doctor met funny car Darkside.  Quarter Pounder ran a 6.05 at 232 mph giving it the win as the quickest car to make a 6.0 second pass without breaking out.

Heritage series car ran qualifying and elimination rounds, completing the first of this two race event.  The Fords and Mopars ran today as well.  The Heritage series cars will run another entire race tomorrow and the Fords and Mopars will also be back racing. We’ll have an article and photos of the entire event on Monday evening.

The racers today were doing test runs with qualifying starting tomorrow.  About 23 fuel cars are expected for Saturday Night Nitro.  Below are photos of some of the cars running today.




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 Check back tomorrow night for another update.



The week-end of Sept. 16-18, 2016 at Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA, will have something for everyone.

Heritage Series Nostalgia Fall Championships: This event packs two complete races for Group 2 racers in one week-end. Time trials and complete eliminations will happen on both Saturday and Sunday. (Group 2 consists of NE 1, 2, and 3 and A,B,C,D, Gas and Hot Rod)

Fun Ford and Mega Mopar Weekend – Qualifying on Saturday and eliminations on Sunday.

Saturday Night Nitro – Sat. Sept. 17 – the only nitro night this season.  Nitro car racing under the lights at it’s best.  Round 1 at 7:00 pm and round 2 at 9:30 pm.   In September 2015 California Hustler driven by Core Lee was the winner.

We’ll have nightly posts of all the action with full coverage on Monday evening.


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