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49th March Meet Preview
Ron Capps drives a Fuel Funny Car in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series 23 weekends a year. What does he do on his off weekend? Like many top drivers, he fills his need for speed at the March Meet, March 9-11, at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, the legendary racing Mecca.
Capps finished third in the 2006 NHRA season standings, behind 2007 March Meet Grand Marshal Robert Hight and Hight's boss, John Force. It was Capps' sixth "top-five" finish in 12 years of competition. At Famoso, Capps will drive the Gaynor & Godfrey '69 Camaro.
"Racers and fans come to Famoso each year to renew their acquaintances and compete against each other for bragging rights," said Blake Bowser, vice president and general manager of the Bakersfield track. "We're honored to host them for family friendly fun and lots of nostalgia racing competition."
"This is obviously the most intense nostalgia race of the year," said Rick Rogers president of All American Fuel Dragsters (AAFD). "This is where everybody brings out all their new parts and throws caution to the winds. Winning the March Meet for nostalgia is like winning Indy for the NHRA." Rogers says the story of the race is parity. The competition is tough and cars have to be in the 5-second range to get into the show.
This year's drivers include Brad Thompson of Visalia, Jack Harris of Utah, Butch Blair, with his Fugowi car and Adam Sorokin, son of the late Mike Sorokin, all of whom compete in Top Fuel. Harris will compete against his son Brett in the family car. Sorokin, who drives for RB Entertainment, will have Bobby McLennan as his crew chief. Then there's Rick White of Neal & White in San Diego's Auto Power car, Shannon Stewart driving the Circuit Breaker and Rick McGee from Exeter driving the Overtime Special. Jim Murphy, who will race the WW2, previously raced the Holy Smokes funny car. Mike Fuller Motorsports will bring Bill Dunlop driving the Hammerhead.
Chris "The Greek" Karamesines, who still carries an NHRA Top Fuel license at age 74, will be driving one of Donnie Couch's new funny cars. Driver Todd Mallory will run Danny Pisano's fabled Pisano & Matsubara Chevy Vega, Randy Walls of San Diego, Dennis Lacharite will drive a newly built '69 GTO, Gary Turner, owner of GT Bikes will be behind the wheel of Kris Krabill's The Pedaler Plymouth Arrow. That car won at Famoso in last fall's California Hot Rod Reunion. Larry Pettit will maneuver the Nitro Psycho, John Powers will drive a 78 Firebird, Randy Walls of San Diego will have his 70 Nova, Howard Bugg a 70 Cuda, and Dan Horan will drive his own "Dan's Electric" Mustang.
Mike Savage will drive the bright orange Speed Sport Cuda for Jim Broom, president of the Nostalgia Funny Car Assn. Broom is especially looking forward to the event.
"We won the last race there, so it means a lot to us," Broom said. "It's a historic event. This is my last year before I retire, I'd love to do it one more time. It's like what Indy means to the POWERade guys."
Tickets to the March Meet are available online, (www.famosoraceway.com) and will be available at the gate during the event. A three-day pass is $75. Tickets for Friday are $25; Saturday and Sunday are $30 each day. Kids 6 and under are free when accompanied by an adult with paid admission.
The March Meet, which inaugurated top-level drag racing in Bakersfield, features nostalgia drag racing in twelve classes. From front-engined Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars to Hot Rods.