Drag Illustrated Issue 182, May / June 2023 | Page 32


Action-Packed Anniversary

With full season of Pro Stock experience , Camrie Caruso is
The primed March for Meet sophomore turns success 65
By By David Nate Beitler Van Wagnen

It was back in 1959 when a local car club named “ The Smokers ” hosted the inaugural United States Fuel and Gas Championships at Famoso Dragstrip north of Bakersfield , California , which eventually became known as the March Meet . Famoso Dragstrip , which once served as an auxiliary airfield during World War II , later became a home for the growing nostalgia drag racing scene in 1994 .

This year ’ s edition of the March Meet was a historic milestone , marking the 65th annual running of the March Meet sponsored by Good Vibrations Motorsports . The event drew over 400 teams to the track in the McFarland area to kick off the 2023 NHRA Heritage Series season .
While testing and qualifying could be held under cold temperatures but yet mostly sunny skies , rain throughout the day on Sunday forced race officials to push most of the class ’ s elimination rounds to Monday .
The team around defending event winner and reigning Nostalgia Funny Car champion Bobby Cottrell showed some unusual weakness when he burned an engine during the test session on Thursday . But the team stepped up to their usual strength and dominance by qualifying at the top of the ladder with a strong 5.661 at 256 MPH . He then continued by defeating Chris Davis in the first round of eliminations with a 5.685 at 254 MPH on Saturday evening . Just when he pulled into the lanes to take on Drew Austin on Sunday morning the rain started , which stopped the action before it even had begun .
On Monday , Mother Nature allowed the eliminations to continue under blue skies . It turned out to be worth the wait as Cottrell defeated Austin in
a close race with a 5.69 at 256 MPH to Austin ’ s 5.70 at 256 MPH on a holeshot . Cottrell then advanced into the finals by beating Tony Jurado ’ s 5.78 at 256 with his 5.82 at 249 MPH run with yet another huge holeshot .
On the other side of the ladder , it was Canadian Tim Boychuk who mowed through the field . He put the win light on against Jim Maroney in the first round and Ryan Horan in the second round . In the semifinals , he beat a tire-smoking
Brad Thompson to advance into the final against Cottrell .
During the warmup for his final round , Boychuk ’ s team discovered a leak . With the help of some of Tony Jurado ’ s crew guys , the team got it fixed and made it to the starting line in time . After they fired the car and lowered the body , the engine shut off .
So it was a single for Cottrell , which he took on easy , coasting to a 6.094 at 179 MPH with an
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