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The 2017 edition of the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet was held at Auto Club Famoso on March 2-5. Rain on Sunday pushed the finish to Monday, March 6.
Front Engine Top Fuel Dragsters
Ever have “one of those days” in your lifetime? One of those days when you get dressed with a new shirt and a new pair of pants, get into your new car (with the fine leather seats), stop at your favorite coffee establishment and order that favorite hot drink. Then as you take that first sip, the lid comes off and you and your new car are now wearing your favorite drink.
Well, you might be able to relate to how Mendy Fry was feeling on Thursday’s test and tune session at the March Meet. Mendy had been named the new driver for the High Speed Motorsports and as the team went to make a test pass, an input shaft sheared off, the engine rpm went out of control, and the fragments from the input shaft, bouncing around inside the titanium bell housing, caused irreparable damage to the clutch mechanism.
Fry, who is a very seasoned driver, knew immediately what had happened, stepped off the throttle and got the car stopped as quickly as possible. “My legs and feet got real short real quick,” explained the driver who is also known to her legion of fans as “Nitro Kitty”.
Thankfully for Fry the titanium bell house kept the all the fragments of heavy steel and aluminum contained, not causing any injury to the driver. However, the heat caused by the massive carnage in the bell housing created so much heat, that it burned through the outer layer of her fireproof boots.
In 2016 Fry had a premonition that a ride might come available for either a front motorTop Fuelcar or a funny car, and started to prepare in case her premonition would prove true. “I just had a feeling, and so I headed back to the gym and started to work out and get fit,” she said.
After the testing situation with the clutch, the team was forced to scramble to find pieces and parts to repair the clutch. There was talk of having crewmembers make the eight-hour round trip back to the shop in Anaheim, California to obtain the parts to facilitate repairs. But it was not necessary as parts were obtained and repairs made by the resourceful team.
Their efforts in qualifying on Friday netted the team a pedestrian 6.02 at 175.48, which put the High Speed team at number seven in the eight-car show.
On Saturday’s final session the team did not improve while others in the field did, this left the team in the final qualifying position, albeit in the show.
On Saturday evening, Fry was thinking in an aggressive manner as she would have to face the No. 1 qualifier, reigning and multiple-time World Champion, Tony Bartone in the first round. Fry knew she had to take the fight to him. “I’m gonna leave on his ass, and I’m gonna take him down tomorrow” she stated as she stood at the back of the team’s hauler, signing autographs and greeting well-wishers.
On paper Fry had a four-tenths of a second deficit to overcome -- an eternity in drag racing. However, as a wise man once said, “We don’t race these things on paper.”
As Bartone and Fry staged their cars, many in attendance could not be faulted for thinking that Bartone would simply drive away from Fry. The Nitro Kitty and her team had other ideas.