The NHRA Heritage Series kicked off the start of their 2016 season at the March Meet in Bakersfield. Over 400 racers turned out to take their shot at capturing one of the more coveted titles in drag racing. For over 50 years the March Meet had graced the famed Auto Club Famosa Raceway.
“Anybody who is anything in the sport of drag racing has raced down this hollowed drag strip,” said Crew Chief Kevin Poynter of the Nitroholic funny car team. Sunday’s elimination would be held up periodically throughout the morning with some scattered showers. Records fell in the nostalgia funny car class.
In Funny Car, Hollywood Kris Krabill conquered the 16 car field with record setting elapse times and speeds. In the opening round Krabill took down Chris Davis who is returning to competition after an incident that tore up his race car during the summer last year. Krabill put up a 5.757 at 248 mph to move on to round two. Krabill then took on Oakdale’s own Richard Townsend and the Nitroholic team. Townsend made a solid 5.772 at 250 mph pass but it was not enough to hold off Krabill’s 5.639 at 254 mph. In the semifinal round Krabill made short work of Dan Horan when he set the Nostalgia funny car record and the quickest pass ever in the history of the class with a 5.552 at 261 mph. That moved him into a final round match up with Steven Densham (son of legendary Funny Car racer Gary Densham). In a perfect set of irony these two drivers were number 1 and number 2 qualifiers for the event, Densham being number one and Krabill number two. Both drivers left the starting line together and made the quickest side by side pass of the weekend with Krabill coming out on top with a 5.582 at 256 mph to Densham’s 5.6740 at 254 mph.
In Top Fuel Rick Williamson brought home the trophy. Williamson took on Jim Young in the opening round. He made short work of Young as he got off the starting line first and never looked back putting a stellar 5.615 at 244 mph up on the scoreboard to a respectable 5.740 at 210 mph. In round two he would take on two-time NHRA Heritage Series Champion and two-time March Meet Champion Tony Bartone. Williamson was able to put the champ on the trailer with his performance of a 5.639 at 234 mph while Bartone struggled for control of his race car and crossed the centerline taking out the timing cones thus disqualifying him. In the final round Williamson took on Adam Sorokin whose father Mike Sorokin won this event in top fuel some 50 years ago. Sorokin got off the starting line first but started losing traction and try as he might all he could do was watch as Williamson put up a 5.572 at 245 mph on the scoreboard for the victory.