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 Pro Nitro Header

OSH-WW2 Racing Dominates Field




by Tim Marshall

This was the all time best Pro Nitro show in their very short history! Just the competitors alone, 13 of nostalgia's finest FED (front engine dragsters), 8 AA/FAs, a full field of 7.60, 8.60, and 9.60 "Blown Badboys, plus a great bracket show to boot! How about side by side 5.89s by WW2 with Jim Murphy at the wheel against the awesome team of Mike Fuller and Bill Dunlap. Murphy laid down a fine 5.891 to narrowly defeat Dunlap at 5.892! That my friend was the quickest side by side nostalgia T/F races EVER! Larry Pettit in the "Hellfire" T roadster, laying down Low ET qualifier at a stout 6.38, 235 mph! Bonnie and Leroy Philson's Mighty Mouse 58 Chevy closest to the number at 7.60 on a 7.60! Bill Wayne's awesome record setting 6.40 in A/Fuel.

This was just a fantastic Drag Race! Pro Nitros Jerry/Donna Hutchcroft, and Ronnie Lahr along with the WCTA series of Dave and Nancy Smith really one the hearts of all in attendance. For some unknown reason the crowd was down. (Like the World Series being on!) Still just listen to some of these remarkable times by the West Coasts finest! The aforementioned 5.89's coupled up to Jim Murphy stout 252 mph. Bill Wayne from Arizona in his Lucas Oil backed A/Fueler turned in an all-time best ET of 6.40 during qualifying, and backed it up easily with a fune 6.46 twice. Everyone was amazed when Larry Pettit in the "Hellfire" T roadster cranked an all-time best of 6.38, 235 mph.

Next was the almost unreal times turned in by Dave Hix's Bantam roadster. Hix's roadster definitely is a transformer, a Funny Car turned into a Fuel Altered and after his 6.50, 184-mph qualifying, then a 6.44 and 198 mph, followed by a time of 6.19, 198-mph. I went to Mike Demarest SR who's' tune up is on both the Hellfire, and the Nanook and he explained this way. His true feeling was that it wasn't Dave Hix fault at all, he was told by the promoter, Pro Nitro that to bring your car. Hix' Bantam is equipped with a computer (which Race Director Lahr said they did disconnect) Hix' car has total clutch management, it has more than 16 nozzles, and the AA/FA as it was set up had to run an 8.71 blower, which Hix has a 1471.model supercharger. The Oregon Bantam is also equipped with an MSD imagination and they are supposed to have a distributor with points. In this reporters opinion Dave Hix was also not running the required 50% nitro, the car just does not have the sound of heavy nitro. I remember back in the mid 70's C Keith Martin ran his Corvette Funny Car on 30%, and that is exactly what this roadster was equivalent too. No flames, the car does hurt the eyes at all, but it does FLY! Mr. Hix, I highly recommend that you hop it up and go race with all the other Transformer cars like Ron Fasel, Greg Daebellian, Haight, Sullivan, and Read. Steven Neese, Ricky Ruiz. Because when the other teams didn't except this car. And refused to racer against it in the final. No winner was declared.other than the Fuel Altered incident, this was a fantastic and complete show. The weather in Sacramento was perfect. The track was well prepared, as Dave Smith now owns the Nitro Fever FED. Mike McClennan got it dial-in one day too late as he drove the Nitro Fever T'F car to a best of 6.28, 217.89 mph. Smith and company were all smiles. This has to be the only racecar that pits at the house; Dave and Nancy have a beautiful home on the Sacramento Raceway facility.


Right off the bat, the beautiful sleek and narrow OSH backed WW2 of Jim Murphy, tuned by very capable wrench Tim Beebe. Jim Murphy was driving his entry OSH car as he not only set Low ET qualier, couple up with Top Speed of the event. At 5.885, 252mph, a backed up that fine time with a better 5.87, 5.89, followed by a 5.95! very likable Capitola, CA resident Bill Dunlap put the Mike Fuller car into the number 2 spot at 5.92. On a last ditch effort not being in this tight field Glen Hutchinson in the Civelli, Jensen, and Hutchinson Foothill Flyer solidly into the field with a 6.02! Both Rich Howell and Lee Jennings put their Chevy powered dragsters in too with a pair of 6.07's. Brendon Murray's strong 6.10 was eliminated when Brendan just barely touched the centerline…. A game Murray and company just got into the field with a 6.12. The American Eagle of john Blanchard, and driver John Shoemaker put their T/F car equipped with a conventional clutch set-up as Shoemaker hooked up out a 6.12 too. Rounding out the top 8 qualifiers was Mark Malde in the Birky Bunch Chevrolet dragster. Todd Meitke driving Blood, Sweat, & Nitro 3 tuned by 5 second jacket owner Gary Ritter, only ran a 6.43 but got in the show when Rich Howell experienced a major blower explosion. Howard Haight also entered the show as an alternate. Howard did drive the Fugowie to a fine 6.18 though.

First pair up in Top Fuel was Sacramento's own John Shoemaker and the Birky Bunch with Mark Malde at the controls. In a exellant race from start to finish, the local boy Shoemaker in the American Eagle got the win light with fine times of 6.13, 307 mph over a very close effort by Malde at 6.30, 223mph. Brendon Murray advanced to round two fairly easily wherein the beautiful Oregon based Todd Meilke car tuned by Gary "Blood Sweat n Nitro" Ritter got out of the groove and Todd almost touched the guardrail. The Pro Nitro low qualifier then dominated in his round. How about Jim Murphy at an awesome 5.879, 234.99mph, to Howard Haights trailing at 6.46, 215mph. It was northern cal Vs so Cal in the next match up as Bill Dunlap faced the strong team of Hansen/Jennings. In a fantastic race effort, Dunlap steps up with the Mike Fuller car with times of 5.93, 232.62 mph, while Lee Jennings equaled his qualifying effort at 6.07, 221.94 mph.

Next came to best race that this report has witnessed maybe EVER! When you've got a couple have seasoned veterans like Jim Murphy and Bill Dunlap, basically toss a coin! In this race they pair left a starting line together and stayed that way for 1320 feet. Incredible as Jim Murphy and the WW2 teams win light came on with times of 5.891, 245 mph to Dunlap matching time of 5.892, 234 mph. When talking to both drivers neither knew right away who had won. I believe that this was the quickest side by side in Classic Top Fuel History! In the other half of Top Fuel, Blanchard and Shoemaker could not make the call, so Brendon Murray singled and left like a bullet but shut it off wisely saving valuable Chevy parts. A classic final match up between the OSH Hardware backed machine of Jim Murphy, Vs Brendan Murray. The class of the show, Jim Murphy and WW2/OSH were not tobe denied, as he ran another 5 second pass of 5.95, 232.58mph, to Brendan fine but trailing 6.34, 217.89mph.Congrats to one of the finest teams in nostalgia racing. Jim Murphy along with Gerry Steiner is tops of the category.


If you've never seen a "real fuel altered' show you are missing something great. Sometimes it's not the times that they run, but with a fuel altered it's the show. Smokey burn=outs, sideways passes, and short and sometimes dangerous roadsters and coupes are of the best shows in drag racing. Larry Pettit in the Hellfire is still fairly new on the scene. He really has his act together though and without a wing, this guy usually does a fantastic job. How about Low ET qualifying at an unheard of 6.38, 226 mph. James Generlao in the Impatience AA/FA has recently set the all time best time at 6.41…. Let just get right in to elimination's because that was where the "action" was..

First up was Mr. Low ET Larry Pettit from Hawthorne CA Vs the famed "Nanook" with Rick Hough at the controls. Usually a very strong competitor, the "Nanook" has been plagued with mechanical problems every since their towing accident coming home from Tucson. Both T roadsters left like a bullet, but once again the Hough, Demarest, and Widner machine had problems and Rick Hough wisely shut off while Larry Pettit, who makes it look easy, laid down a fine 6.51, 235 mph for Top Speed of the breed.! Even though it really didn't matter on the points for Pro Nitro, James Generalao, the very likeable Hawaiian native, who won the 2002 title, still likes to win. Unfortunately the newly crowned champion got beat by Steve Tryon. The Bad Company Bantam, on Steve's best ever pass of 66.65, 186.94 mph, as James tried a make a soft pass in the Impatience, but it was too soft at a trailing 6.74, 202.23 mph. Steve lost a blower belt on the pass, so competition gets ready for this Arizona racer. The guy who won the show less than a month ago in Phoenix, Larry Leonard in his all black T roadster took advance the brand new Blue Blazer. Bob and Brett Hankins built a brand new car to run against the Pro Nitro group, and it's really got some potential. Leonard ran a straight and true 6.82, 197 while Brett improved to his best ever run of 7.00 191mph. Not bad for a brand new piece! The Oregon based Dave Hix, then laid down an "easy" 6.43, at only 188mph while Godfrey and Close from Perris CA had some handles problems with their beautiful Flamed Fortune AA/FA but still managed a 7.77, at only 141 mph.

Round two of the awesome Fuel Alts put Hellfire of Larry Pettit VS "Hard to Handle" of Larry Leonard. In the battle of the Larry's …Pettit and the Hellfire were in control with another 6.50, 226 mph when Leonard's roadster lived up to its name "Hard to Handle", and he wisely shut off early .In the next match-up, Dave Hix and his Bantam roadster won his race easily against Steve Tyron. His time that was in question. a 6.19, at only 198 mph? That what came up on the clocks, so the car either hauls ass, or something just isn't quite right. Anyway, there had been some complaints about this car as previously mentioned in this story, so there was no final round. Pettit broke and Hix withdraw his entry.

Overall besides the situation with the AA/FA's this was a fantastic race! Let's hope that both Pro Nitro and WCTA (West Coast Timing Asso.) will try it again next. Congrats to all the big winners at the Gold Rush Nationals.


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