The month of March signals the coming of spring each year, but it is also the time when great drag racers from across the county meet up at the famed Famosa strip in Bakersfield. This event has become known as the “March Meet.” Back in the day, it was also known as the “fuel and gas” championship.
Today, the event features nostalgia categories that showcase the types of drag race cars that were run during the 1960 through 1979 era. The two primary categories are Top Fuel and Funny Car. Unlike the modern Top Fuel cars, these cars are front motored cars, where the driver sits behind the motor instead of in front of it (like the modern Top Fuel cars). The Funny Cars utilize replica bodies of the 1969 through 1979 era.
In Top Fuel, Tony Bartone of New Jersey has been simply dominating the class. It is not uncommon for him to run quicker than every other car in the class, even while shutting the car off about 300 feet before the finish line. Bartone did start out on top of the field, but found himself out in the second round this past weekend as he crossed the center line in a match up against Rick Williamson of Stockton. Williamson ran a strong 5.639 at 234.61 mph to take the win. The number one qualifier, Rick White, who stunned the crowd with a final qualifying pass of 5.55 seconds, turned in another stunning performance in the opening round against Adam Sorokin. White ran 5.548 at 243.02 mph, but it wasn’t good enough as Sorokin gained a 0.058 to 0.196 starting line advantage and held on for the win with a 5.638 at 242.45 mph. Sorokin’s famous dad, Mike Sorokin won Top Fuel at this event about 50 years ago. The Top Fuel winner this year would also receive a special Mike Sorokin Surfers award, which was a goal Adam Sorokin was gunning for. Sorokin and Williamson marched into the final round for all the marbles. Sorokin got off the line first, but spun the tires and then went into a wheel stand. This allowed Williamson to streak to the finish line for the win. His performance numbers were great with a 5.572 at 245.27 mph effort.
In Funny Car, local Oakdale racer, Richard Townsend and his “Nitroholic” team looked strong. He qualified seventh, and scored an opening round victory over Ryan Hodgson. But his day came to an abrupt end in the second round, as Kris Krabill rocked the track with a 5.639 at 254.33 mph to take out Townsend and his 5.772 at 250.78 mph effort. Krabill wasn’t done running big numbers, as he turned in a stunning 5.552 at 261.62 mph effort to take out Dan Horan and advance to the final round. His 5.552 second elapse time was the quickest Nostalgia Funny Car run in history. Facing Krabill in the final would be Steven Densham, son of famed NHRA drag racer (and school teacher) Gary Densham. The younger Densham had been running in the low to mid 5.6 second zone the entire event. Both drivers left with nearly identical reaction times, but Krabill claimed the title with a strong 5.582 at 256.94 mph oven Denham’s 5.640 at 254.57 mph.