"THE GOAT" CLIMBS TO THE TOP OF THE LIST; DEPOSES WW2 AND THE CHRYSLERS by Cole Coonce, NR AA/Fuel Dragster Mojo Wire 6/27/00, Los Angeles, CA--With the thumping tenacity of a braying, randy mountain capricorn, Larry Gotelli, Jr. commandeered ...
"THE GOAT" CLIMBS TO THE TOP OF THE LIST; DEPOSES WW2 AND THE CHRYSLERS
by Cole Coonce, NR AA/Fuel Dragster Mojo Wire
6/27/00, Los Angeles, CA--With the thumping tenacity of a braying, randy mountain capricorn, Larry Gotelli, Jr. commandeered the Gotelli Speed Shop Chevrolet-powered fuel dragster across the continental United States to make emphatic statements in subsequent weekends about just who is King of the Hill, be it in Indianapolis, Indiana or the Golden State of California--or anywhere where front-motored fuel dragsters graze and roam.
By locking horns and ultimately vanquishing the competition in both aforementioned localities, "the Goat" was able to elevate his team to the #1 spot on the Nitronic Research AA/Fuel Dragster List, subjugating and deposing the former honoree, the seemingly-invincible Jim "Holy Smokes" Murphy and his WW2 entry--a team that had heretofore dominated the List since its inception at the beginning of the year--to the #2 spot.
The List rewards participation as well as performance, but there will not be an asterisk next to the Gotelli bunch's claiming of the Ultimate Position on the List as the Goat's domination knew no boundaries during the month of June: At Indy on the 11th, the San Franciso-based Gotelli entry claimed Top Fuel Eliminator at the Goodguys Hot Rod Nationals by taking on and trailering three bad ass Chrysler-enabled teams of nitromaniacs, all of whom hailed from points east of the Continental Divide: first, "Troy Wonder" Green from Norman, Oklahoma; second, the 5-second entry of Suhr & Lechtenberg out of Waterloo, Iowa; and finally, in one of the finest drag races this journalist has seen contested east of the Mississipp River, Jack "the Sheriff" Harris and his "Nitro Thunder" machine out of Kaysville, Utah. In this blistering final round, both machines recorded elapsed times of 6.01, but Gotelli shaved Harris out of the hole and never saw him again until after they both dumped the laundry at the culmination of tremendous 240-plus mph trap speeds.
After hightailing back to Left Coast the next weekend, Gotelli and his crew, spearheaded by the father and son tuning dynamo of Pete and Re-Pete Kaiser, vanquished the creme de la creme of California-based fueler guys at the Night of Fire/Jim Herbert Memorial at Sacramento. Their first round opponent was Murphy hisself, and as both drivers struggled to overcome insufficient traction, Gotelli was able to recover sooner and motor on to victory in what was a pivotal heat as far as List standings are concerned. Gotelli then finished off the field, first by claiming Low ET of the Meet while wheeling past the Birky Bunch, 6.30 to 6.36; and ultimately by zipping past the traction-starved Smith & McLennan entry in 6.45 seconds and with a top end speed of 229 mph, numbers which prevailed for Top Speed of the Meet as well as sewing up a trifecta of sorts for the Goat at Sacto: Top Fuel winner, Low ET of the Meet and Top Speed of the Meet, all of which were factors in his advancement to the #1 spot on the NR AA/FD List.
Roger "Radar" Lechtenberg joined Paul Romine, Gary Ritter, Bill "the Heartbreaker" Dunlap and Sammy "the Crank" Hale in the NR 5-second club at Indy by posting a 5.98 in the first round of eliminations against "Techno Tim" Gibson and the Mastercam AA/FD; Lechtenberg hoped to set an official VRA record against Gotelli in the next round, and after Gotelli ostensibly fouled off his chances of victory by leaving before the lights turned green, Lechtenberg was on "a gimme." No matter, as Lechtenberg fought for traction and began yawing across the bottom end of the drag strip, clipping a timing reflector cone and disqualifying himself via the time-honored "first or worse" rule that governs dual rules violations. Regardless of the disqualification, by virtue of the Low ET clocking of 5.98 Lechtenberg's Iowa-based "Orange Crate" once again proved to the visiting California teams that there is serious competition out there in what the California racers consider the hinterlands of America.
Also noteworthy was the performance of Jack Harris and his "Utah Posse"; their clocking of 244 mph whilst in pursuit of Gotelli earned them Top Speed marks at Indy, a distinction that will catapult them into the List at the #8 position. Butch Blair's "Fugowie" machine is now #9 and Smith and McLennan are o-u-t in the cold.
<pre> So after two rounds in June, here's how they stack up:
1. Gotelli Speed Shop 2. WW2 3. Fuller & Dunlap 4. California Trucker 5. Champion Speed Shop 6. Orange Crate 7. Steiner & Berger 8. Ground Zero 9. Nitro Thunder 10. Fugowie
</pre> The next AA/FD race that will count towards placement and postiton on the NR AA/FD List will be the 5th West Coast Hot Rod Happening at the Pomona Fairplex, July 29-30.
Also on the calendar is the Slingshot Nationals II hosted by the Front Engine Dragsters of America, July 1st and 2nd at Cordova Dragway, Cordova, IL. The List cannot reward performance at this event because its Top Fuel show does not conform to the original NDRA specs (12" slicks, 3.90 rear gear, 6-71 blower, spec fuel pump) that govern other series (Googduys VRA, Pro Nitro, WCTA, ANRA, HHRR). With that being said, the entire AA/FD scene is rather non-conformist by nature and on the most basic level, nitro is nitro; ergo, we encourage *your* participation at FEDA's showcase event as it promises to deliver some outtasite drag strip action regardless of its razor-thin rulebook... 'nuff said.
Sears Point Festival of Fire Drag Races, June 30-July 2
Johnny Rocca Incensed by IHRA; Heads for Canada