Returning to the team that gave her the first opportunity in the Nostalgia Top Fuel ranks, Mendy Fry figured there would be some sort of transition period early in the 2017 season.
But the return to driving for Tom Shelar and his High Speed Motorsports team has gone impressively well, winning the March Meet in Bakersfield and currently leading in points in Nostalgia Top Fuel. That makes Fry one of the favorites at this weekend’s 15th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance (June 15-17) at Beech Bend Raceway Park, where the longtime standout hopes to keep the momentum going.
“It’s gone incredibly well to this point,” Fry said. “We had a lot of adversity at the March Meet, but we really pulled together as a team. It was the first time I had been in a (Nostalgia) Top Fuel car in a few years and the performance of this car eclipses any car I’ve driven. We had some mechanical failures we came back from and had some things go our way, but when it mattered we got the job done as well.”
After initially starting her nostalgia drag racing career in the Top Fuel ranks, where she became the first female to record a five-second run, Fry moved to Nostalgia Funny Car for a number of seasons. But following a few years away from the sport, she jumped at the chance to again work with Shelar and drive his top-performing Top Fuel dragster.
Things have once again clicked, as Fry leads the points over the likes of Tony Bartone, who has won the last three NHRA Hot Rod Heritage titles in Top Fuel, Jim Murphy and Pete Wittenberg. But Fry knows she’ll have to beat at her best this weekend.
“We are first in points, but we’ve got a big target on our backs and we’re just hoping to bring our ‘A’ game,” said Fry, who went 5.598 at 252.66 mph in her final-round win at Bakersfield this year. “I’m a very competitive person and there’s pressure there. We want to do well and I know the team will be ready. The one who needs to perform is me. I’m essentially a Top Fuel rookie again and this car is a completely different deal for me, but we’re definitely on a high that would take some teams a lot longer to achieve.”
Fry has meshed well in her return to the High Speed Motorsports team, and she hopes that translates into success in Bowling Green. Even though she has struggled in her career at the race, Fry is on a team that has enjoyed great success at the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance.
With her strong affinity for the facility, Fry hopes that provides the winning combination for picking up another victory in 2017.
“They’ve won seven out of the nine times they’ve entered this race,” Fry said. “Personally I’ve never done that great, but it’s still one of my favorites. The people are wonderful and the facility just has this great vibe. The spectator experience is really great there and they’re so close to the action.”
The Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance, June 15-17, is a three-day gathering where lovers of the car culture revel in the different aspect of the multifaceted event, including nostalgic nitro drag racing, car display and the famous Cacklefest.
This weekend also celebrates those who have dedicated their lives to the sport and in celebration of its 15th anniversary, Eileen Daniels, will be the Grand Marshall for the event. The event concludes with the famous Cacklefest taking place in front of the packed grandstands. Dozens of classic nitro burning Top Fuel and Funny Cars will roar to life with flames filling the summer sky in a dramatic closing ceremony.
Tickets for the 15th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion® presented by AAA Insurance are on sale now. Children 15 and under are free with a paid adult. AAA members can save even more on this event by entering their first three digits of their membership card at checkout. Purchase tickets at www.NHRA.com/HotRodReunion.