Horsepower and heat can be a tough combination especially when the heat is being provided by Mother Nature. How about an outside air temperature of 105 degrees? That is what the participants at Sacramento Raceway’s Funny Car Fever/Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series event had to contend with.
Nonetheless, the Group 1 and Group 2 racers seemed unfazed by the hostile weather as all 11 classes finished without incident. Wayne Ramay was not rattled in the least. The Simi Valley, Calif., resident recorded his first win in A/Fuel Dragster, and he had to get by Kin Bates, the multi-time Heritage A/Fuel champion, to accomplish it. Going into the final round, Bates had the performance edge with low e.t. (6.017) and top speed (232.19), but the No. 2 qualifier got the best of Bates off the line (.050 to .096), and then Bates’ dragster lost traction, forcing him to momentarily get out of the throttle. Meanwhile, Ramay was going straight and true, recording a clean 6.132 at 217.35 mph to Bates’ 7.369 at 127.59 mph.
Steve Faller, the 2019 Heritage Racing Series 7.0 Pro champion, was up against tough odds, too. The field, though small (eight competitors), was stacked with three of the top five from 2019 including Lawton Ferreira II, George Vanderpool, and Dave Rosenberg. Ferreira II was the No. 1 qualifier (7.001), but the final round was Faller (No. 3) vs. Mark Maxwell (No. 5). Maxwell, an ex-A/Fuel Dragster competitor, got the jump off the line (.036 to .045) and never saw Faller; yet the win light came on in Faller’s lane. In a double breakout race, Maxwell went 6.956 to Faller’s 6.987.
Dustin Lee, 2018 Nostalgia Eliminator 1 Heritage Series champion (and No. 2 in 2019), won his class over Fresno’s Charlie See. In the final round, Lee cut on .025 reaction to See’s .100, and that settled the matter rather quickly as See’s 7.807 lagged behind Lee’s 7.756. For Nostalgia Eliminator II, it was another double breakout affair with Todd Fernandes’ 8.585 not as quick as Terry Lindblad’s all-in 8.568. Nostalgia Eliminator III went to Concord’s Mike Gillespie, who won on a holeshot over No. 1 qualifier Lindsey Lister by a MOV of .018. Despite Lindsey’s 9.604, Gillespie’s 9.628 was enough to grab the Wally.
In the Gas classes, it was the Paso Robles, Calif., show. Tom Fowler dominated A/G, qualifying No. 1 at 7.606, and then forced Rich Harrison to breakout in the final round (7.584) when Fowler zapped an .084 starting-line advantage on a tardy Harrison. Mike Rabner brought home another Wally to Paso Robles with his victory in C/G. It was not easy as his competition in the final round was one of the best competitors in the class in Mark Capps. Capps got the starting line advantage, but Rabner prevailed 9.581 to 9.572. In B/G, Neal Westbrook followed the script set down by Fowler in A/G, qualifying No. 1 (8.601) and not breaking out. However, he still had points leader Brent Handley in the other lane come final time. Handley had the light (.015 to .028), but Westbrook had the e.t. (8.628 to 8.647) for the win. Mike Williams prevailed in D/G when finalist Dan Ficher wasted a fine10.612 to Williams’ .020 reaction and 10.644 e.t. Finally, it was Redondo Beach, Calif.’s Kurt Kaemerle with the win in Hot Rod.