by Hot Rod Jimmy
Whoa do we have an interesting scenario and race coming up here. The NFC Championship is on the line and it looks like it will be an epic battle of old time nitro vs high dollar nitro. The points for two races are on the line; the Pepsi Nightfire Nationals from the final round rainout at Firebird and the final race points from the Hot Rod reunion.
There are some big dogs in this hunt. The always fast and always winning Jason Rupert in the Rolling Thunder Chevrolet Camaro VS the Hodgeon Chevrolet Pacemaker Flashback Camaro. These cars are the fastest Heritage hot rods on the planet. As well, and not to be counted out is the Austin-O’Brian Northwest Hitter Flash back car. If our two big timers go out in the early rounds it is going to be wild. James Butler Hickock vs Joaquin Marietta all over again.
Before I get too far into this I want to say a word about cheating in our sport. It is something that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. At the Pepsi Nightfire Nationals prior to the final round being run, and before it got rained out (the cars made it all the way to the staging lanes before it got rained out). The rolling thunder car was protested. For it’s high / low fuel return system. this is a system that had been on the car for several years. It is as well a system that NHRA was aware of. I have bugged people all over the planet to understand how it works, and why it is needed. Suffice to say it is a restrictive fuel return system, that is used to hold the fuel down the same way pinning the throttle blades down holds the air down coming into the engine on the burn out. After the burnouts are done; the crewchief unpins the throttle blades in the bug catcher. Then an air actuator is pushed in to disengage the low side on the fuel return, and engage the high side of the fuel return. It does not do anything to pressurize the fuel tank as some other Hot Rod journalist have stated. It is almost the opposite of that truth be known. Three days after the race, while some people were begging for Jason Rupert’s head on a pole. NHRA said the system was legal to run. As well they said that no rule infractions had happened on the Rolling Thunder car.
There is another side to cheating you know. Protesting someone prior to the final round is that. It is causing mayhem where it is not due. It is making the team being protested into a mark. It is trying to win a round from off the track. As well there is nothing fair about it. I know who did what to who here….I would hope this would be the cause of racing with a lot more honor in the future. I so do not want this sport turning into something like NASCAR; everyone running almost the same engine, and all engineering gets put in a box. I want NFC racing to be monster engineering, on monster ideas, and monster free thinking…..it is what makes fuel racing the best there is……
THE 2017 NHRA HERITAGE SERIES UP FOR GRABS
A racing note of how the championship is going to be decided. Ryan Hodgston and Jason Rupert are up for the final rained out round in the third round of Qualifying on Saturday. The winner of that round becomes the 2017 Pepsi Nightfire Nationals for Champion 2017. They will get 20 points for the win. They both have already been awarded semi-final round points from the event. Whichever car wins that first duo will get 20 championship points. They will receive points as normal for the Reunion. What a final weekend for NHRA and NFC!!!
There is a very good chance that both these cars will be in the final. They have both been in the final at the CHRR. Ryan took home the bacon that day. They have both won this race before
So who do you think wins it all in the end…..
Jason Rupert or Ryan Hodgston?
JASON RUPERT – LITTLEFIELD AND RUPERT ROLLING THUNDER 1969 CAMARO
GOES OFF AT 1 TO 1
While they only made it to the semis at the March Meet; they won last year’s version of this race with Frank Rupert in attendance. They will make a lot of noise with the Sturdy Camaro rolling hard on the top end. If you want to beat Rupert you must do it on the line. This car gets loose it will rule the nitro world. If nothing else it will be around in the later rounds; even if they are running bad. They have a chance to win two races here the Reunion, and the Nightfire Nationals. It will be tuned up and in is my humble guess they already have the marbles.
RYAN HODGSTON – RON HODGSTON CHEVROLET PACEMAKER FLASHBACK SS CHEVROLET CAMARO
GOES OFF AT 2 TO 1
Great car, great owner and without a doubt great driver. This car has the best of everything. Not just a lot of coin spent but spent on the right stuff. Great crewchief in Bob “Nitro Boom” Papernick. He has been around, and knows the ways of nitro. The car ran fantastic in its March Meet victory earlier this year. It did not shed any parts and they left nothing on the track. The barrings were coming out of the car between rounds looking like they had just come out of the box. They also have the line up to win one or two races here after the rainout at the Nightfires. If Ryan wants his first Championship it is going through Southern California in the form of Jason Rupert and Brad “I pound the fenders” Littlefield.
BOBBY CONTRELL – BUCKY AUSTIN/MIKE O’BRIEN BARDAHL FLASHBACK – 1969 Z/28 CAMARO
GOES OFF AT 4 TO 1
They come from the Puget sound. they make monster amounts of horsepower. They most times take up the shiny things of Victory. They were one of the first cars in Kevin Stith’s 260 MPH Club. They first off before anything else is said have the Nitro Hot Rods Magazine Comeback of the Year Award (and I didn’t even know we had one of those). They runnered up at the March Meet, and pretty much cooked the car to the ground in doing so. Something went away in the gear drive, and with the onboard extinguisher system not working suffered a super bad fire. They worked endless hours getting the car back to racing form. I am told now that it pretty much a totally rebuilt car. This is pretty much a killer car painted green. A lot of the spirit here in in one of the owners. Bucky gets what he wants, and when he wants it. If the car isn’t running right Bucky goes over, has a short talk with it. He asks it if it is going to run better. The car nods, and runs better…..
STEVEN DENSHAM – TEACHER’S PET – 1969 CAMARO
GOES OFF AT 5 TO 1
Though they have run a lot lighter schedule this year; it has been exciting enough. When Steven missed the plane to get to Salt Lake City; daddy Gary stepped in to fill the bill without missing a step. This car is always close to making it right to the end. Using big show power, with all the NFC attachments gives this combo a high rating. The Densham’s are the only ones that have ever made the move back and forth between Big Show and NFC with any success. They are in fact a two-year-old championship team. While they do make big show power; the body on this ride is one of the straightest rides around. The car has the same windshield angle as a 1969 Camaro rolling off the showroom floor at Nugent Chevrolet the same year Dale Armstrong landed on the moon.
CHRIS DAVIS – OLD SCHOOL NITRO – 1977 PLYMOUTH ARROW
GOES OFF AT 12 TO 1
One of the best shows in NFC. Chris Davis is a veteran performer, and tuner. Compared to a lot of tuners at this race he is one of the best. He knows how to make it run. Big time here at the Weed Patch. Their last three races here they have done personal bests on time and MPH. Crewchief Jush Smith is a lot of fun….but how was it said ….he beguiles you with a smile? I am so looking for this car to drop into the seventies here. I have said it before, and I will say it again this is a car making its way to the top like a icebreaker on the northern ice cap. Nice and easy does it ….one more Time.
MARK SANDERS – MR EXPLOSIVE – 1970 FORD MUSTANG
GOES OFF AT 8 TO 1
This car is begging for a win here. Marc always lasts into the later rounds. All that has to happen is an inner planetary shift of black matter by say oh eight thousand of an inch and this car is over where the big bugs grow in Victory lane. So, Jake handles the dials from the crewchief chair. It is going to be …..how did John Travolta say it in the movie “Broken Arrow” …..”ain’t it cool”.
MIKE PECK – DON NELSON’S CALIFORNIA HUSTLER – 1977 PONTIC TRANS AM FIREBIRD
GOES OFF AT 7 TO 1
Don Nelson is the guy who knows how to get it done. He is not scared to lay down the coin as well. He has a great crew, crewchief and driver. One can say the combo has not quite got there as of yet. Like Ray Bradberry said “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. Vectren Nitro tuner Ronnie Swearington turns the dials with perfection. He does not turn them fast, he turns them right. Nitro tuning is not a game show with him. When this car hits the top spot it is going to stay there forever.
KRIS KRABILL – SMOKY’S DARKSIDE WITH RICH HOWELL – 1977 PLYMOUTH ARROW
GOES OFF AT 15 TO ONE
Hollywood has moved to the Darkside. Well Smokie’s Darkside that is. Gone is the Aris Hemi. Tons more parts and Allen Johnson power are the replacements. This car sets on a legendary Sherm Gunn chassis. And is crewchiefed by Smokey. Is smoky good….do you have cars that set in a museum in the legendary home of racing? The Legendary Rich Howell has stepped up to make the car a contender. That is just what Smokey has done. He has added some big bells to the ring a ding. They have had the car out for testing last month. It ran good as expected. It is going to be a stand-up entry. The chassis is true nostalgia using Don Nelson’s World Finals winning Sherm Gunn chassis. You can read more about this entry and the magic that just might happen in our article “HOLLYWOOD GOES DARKSIDE”…. This one is our Darkhorse Darkside pick. Can it make the upset choice? You bet your uncle Franks chess set on it.
COREY LEE – MATT MELENDEZ – VIOLATER – 1972 PLYMOUTH CUDA
GOES OFF AT 20 TO 1
This might be long odds for the Leeman, he can handle it. This is the car Sean Bowden drove to some success a couple of years ago. It has a different engine and drivetrain combo in it. Rumor has it that Jake Sanders had a lot to do with the setup. If that is true it should be a pretty solid setup. Corey thinks he will have a combo to do a 80, or maybe even a 70……oh are we gunna have fun watching this. I remember this car from a couple of years ago. It led the NHRA points for a time. Then a Rupert and Littlefield eruption moved them up and out.
JOHN “ONE BAD TEXAN” HALE – THE ONE BAD TEXAN – 1969 SS/RS CAMARO
GOES OFF AT 8 TO 1
Did some good numbers at the March Meet. One of the best operations there is out there. This is a great car, and carries the colors for Texas. We have seen flashes of brilliance from this car. I hear tell from Big Al over at 1320.buzz that John is bringing both the Peacemakers to work on the championship for Jason Rupert. He has done it before. Should the first round draw give us a Ryan Hodgston vs John Hale it is going to be like Johnny Ringo going up against Doc Holiday…… oh and don’t forget to read about JoHn and his great BBQ sauce at 1320.com
MARK MEDORS – GOODGUYS/FUEL CURVE – 1970 CAMARO
GOES OFF AT 9 TO 1
Mark always runs pretty good. They have looked good in time trials so car. They have one of the classiest acts at the show. They will win their first round. Then head into the second round on Sunday looking for the big dogs with a snarl and a couple drums of nitro.
SHAWN BOWDEN – BARTONE & LABOR – 1969 CAMARO COPO
GOES OFF AT 10 TO 1
Sean played wicked chess when he was behind the butterflies a couple of years ago with the Violater Cuda. With the Bartone and Labor guys he picks up some great tuning, and dial turning. He made it to the semis at The Nightfires, then got put down a stratospheric breach of wind and speed by Jason Rupert. They are back for more. The root beer colored car makes you want to find a A&W somewhere and guzzle a gallon or two…..maybe a couple of triple patty papa burgers as well!.
DENNY GERBER – WASN’T EASY – 1977 FLYING FIREBIRD
GOES OFF AT 12 TO 1
Great running car, great crew, and great people. Chrystal Gerber is one of the true joys to talk to about racing and the like. At the March Meet they were out there. Denny torqued the car completely off the ground. Yes all 4! I know a lot of people only think it was three but it was 4! They get this mount zoned in it is liable to mess up the time space continuum……..or go really fast one of the two if not both.
BILL WINDOM – SHAKEDOWN – 1969 SS/RS CAMARO
GOES OFF AT 13 TO 1
The car has a new paint job add to the fact it looks KILLER!!!! Swoop stripes and red….someone once said “race cars are red” I am not sure who said that but Bill has went for the red…know why this is one badd mother of a……..hush your mouth……but I’m talking bout Bill/ (sorry I just had a Richard Roundtree moment). Bill brings to the dance a crew who does the job and a great driver. He is gunna gleam it big time.
TIM NEMITH – ICEMAN – 1978 PONTIAC TRANS AM
GOES OFF AT 14 TO 1
Tim is a great driver with tons of experience behind the butterflies. He knows how to lead em’. If he gets loose he could run the table. Crank it out Tim….what is more he puts on a great show. I for one love seeing this car run.
BRAD THOMPSON – JAIL BREAK – WE HAVE NO IDEA?
15 TO 1 (UNLESS YOUR AUNT CRUELLA DeVILLE VISITS YOU WITH A CAKE WITH A FILE IN IT)
Somebody has a diecast voodoo, and at Firebird they slapped an M80 in it. For all that is holey Nitro the car took off. On the big end it looked like a launch of a minute man rocket down the western test range. It was unreal. They are working night and day to get the car up and ready for Bakersfield. This is a great running car. It is as well run by a great crew. With a body obtained from Bucky Austin. The flashback Camaro body that got cooked well done at the March Meet. They have it looking spiffy, and all shined up. With the new to the Thompson city lock up, the car is going to run bif miles per hour, and maybe can capture some of that 5.70 quickness from a year or so ago. They all come from Ace country in Visalia California. They will be there and they will run more than hard. It is going to be a show.
DAN HORAN JR. – THE PATRIOT – 1969 FLASHBACK CAMARO
GOES OFF AT 15 TO 1
Biggest deal of the CHRR is that Dan is even here. He ran very few races this year. Both this man’s six shooters are loaded. Big time crewchief Huggy Bear is on the job as well. Car always runs hard and in the loop. 5.70 if nothing else. Nitro will flow least the mountains fall (I have no idea what that means. Just go with it….cool).
VICIOUS RUMORS WE ARE NOT SURE WE HEARD?
Colin Kaepernick offered to perform the National Anthem while standing on his head on top of the Christmas tree. He said he wanted to do this because Nitro prices are out of control. NHRAs Safety Surfari, and track officials turned down the offer for reasons of safety. Besides that they were not sure how he would mount the tree…….okay enough this is starting to sound like some weird tale about forest animals.
DON HUDSON – THE BEACHCOMER – 1977 PONTIAC FIREBIRD
GOES OFF AT 18 TO 1
Solid car and solid runner. Has not been out that much this year. Should turn some good numbers. If he makes out of the first round, he will get tougher and tougher each round. Car is sporting new Beachcomber paint. And there are new shirts available. Some of his crew are very attuned to the earth. The practice a cult followed teaching that was first learned on the island of Pango Kramada in the south Pacific during world war 2 (have you got the point I have no idea what I am talking about?). they should be at the very least a first round winner.
BAZZ YOUNG – THE THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER – 1969 Z28 CAMARO
GOES OFF AT 20 TO 1
How on earth do they get that transporter from Aussieland to here, I call it Aussieland in place of Australia because I don’t know how to spell Australia). And let me ask you do their tolets really flush backwards down there….I saw this on the Simpsons so it has to be true. The car and driver are straight up here. So we might expect to see some good number here.
JOHN WEAVER – THE DREAM WEAVER/CASCADE AUTOMOTIVE – 1978 PLYMOUTH ARROW
GOES OFF AT 30 TO 1
Big Al Hiesley tell me I like everyone. I think the world of John and his people. Is liking people a flaw? Well if it is sign me up, I am flawed. This is a workman like effort put on by these guys and the car can and has run hard. Time will tell, and the nitro will flow. (you know I don’t understand it myself…I am flawed remember?)
STEVE EASTON – “BURN-N-MONEY” – 1973 HEMI CUDA
GOES OFF AT 16,505,010 TO 1
Bad luck will befall the team. They will mess up a crank in the first round of qualifying, they do not have a backup so that will be it. I wonder how I even knew this? They have a spare engine down in riverside. But it not quite the right one. I offered, oops I mean I would offer to go down and get it for them. But it is not quite right. They are going to be selling their broken parts on BigTimeNitro. (oh right I wasn’t supposed to mention this. Ahhhhhhh yeah sure I didn’t say anything did I……hmmmm well gotta go.
SOME GREAT CAR THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE TRIP THAT WE WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE SEEN.
MIKE MACINTYRE – THE MAC-ATTACK
TIM BOYCHUK – HAPPY HOUR
SCOTT STANGER – BAD MANNERS