Smashes ET Record With a 5.56
The Sheriff is back ... Wins 50th March Meet
Bakersfield, CA – March 07-09, 2008: The 50th anniversary of the March Meet can only be summed up with a an amalgamation of superlatives that would send an English major scrambling for their Thesaurus. Under four days of Chamber of Commerce skies, the largest car count/spectator attendance in history filled the hallowed Famoso Dragstrip grounds for the event that lived up to its star billing – and more.
Joining 23 other Top Fuel dragsters was Jack Harris who was back in the seat of his Nitro Thunder car for the first time in two years. In 2006, while taking on other projects including a funny car and driving for the Paso Posse, Harris turned the driving chores of “Big Red” to son Brett who won, among other accomplishments, the 2006 VRA World Championship.
The Sheriff and his Posse went into the weekend feeling optimistic that the spotty performance the car experienced in 2007 was cured over the winter. Considering the car was originally built for Jack and his size/weight they felt the “balance” could be corrected. They also lightened the car some 30 pounds which gave them a net loss of about 100 pounds over last year. They had no idea that the weight loss and some engine/tire/wheel changes would have them in the drag racing history books by Sunday night.
Aside from the unforeseen and grievous loss of Top Fuel veteran John Shoemaker, the 2008 March Meet was a grand slam home run for Harris, Billy Robins (also back after two years off) and the ace crew from Kaysville, Utah. The 40,000+ fans that packed the facility over the three-day event were treated to many career best performances in all classes but the stunner was the incredible 5.56 at 263 by Harris.
Photos and full results below.
Qualifying – Session One
Under sunny skies and ideal track conditions the first session of Top Fuel qualifying went off as scheduled at 2:00 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Jack with his game face on prior to the first session.
For his first shot at the fabled Bakersfield track Harris was paired with Howard Haight.
All went well on the burnout.
As she always does, Lauren Tyrrell (daughter of crew member Don) backs Jack up from his burnout.
Coming back toward the line a track official notices a leak on the top of the engine. Rayce checks it out and sends Lauren to tell the crew to get tools.
All was good until Harris was ready to move up to stage. A small oil leak developed and the crew frantically tried to stop it.
Finally Starter, Bill Condit tells Co-crew chief Rayce Muchmore to signal Jack to shut it off.
As the crew pushed the car back, Haight made his run.
Back in the pits the leak is fixed and the car is ready for the second session.
Qualifying – Session Two
12:41 p.m. Saturday afternoon: More sunny skies and ideal track conditions set the stage for the second session of Top Fuel qualifying.
Lauren Tyrell and Cami Beck (granddaughter of Gary Beck) with the car in the staging lanes.
Crew Chief, Steve Watson and Harry Dubach check out the track. Harris waits for the signal to fire up. Engine lit moving into the water box. The car left hard and would have been fine had it gone 1320 feet.
As can be seen, Harris experienced severe tire smoke early and had the throttle closed by half track.
Coasting through the lights with a 7.597 at only 125.90. This would leave them with just one more run to make eliminations on Sunday.
Qualifying – Session Three
5:19 p.m Saturday afternoon: With the sun beginning to set, the third and final session of Top Fuel qualifying was underway.
It was do or go home when the engine was fired. Harris and company have had a flare for the dramatic in the past – could they do it again.
With Terry Cox in the other lane, Lauren backs Jack up.
The leave was just what they were looking for.
Not a hint of tire smoke as Harris streaked to a nice 5.796 at 233.58 which moved him from #18 all the way up to #3.
Into the night Big Red was prepared for eliminations in the morning…. and enjoy a gormet dinner.