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Bakersfield, CA - May 30 - June 01, 2008: The inaugural May Fuel and Gas Championships may go down in Famoso Raceway annals as one of the best drag races ever conducted at the facility that was witnessed by hardly anyone. In spite of ample pre-race publicity that included a lengthy interview with Mike McLennan in the Bakersfield Californian, the famed drag strip in McFarland was eerily bereft of fans for the 3rd stop on the NHRA Heritage series. Nevertheless, that didn't keep the racers from holding up their end of the deal. The over 350 drag racers in attendance put on a show that was as exciting and entertaining as any ever seen in nostalgia drag racing. Plus, those who did attend got to see the fabled Shubert & Herbert fueler of Ron Johnson.

A push start on the return road, starting from the finish line was planned, but the push car had to leave before the time the track had allocated after Top Fuel qualifying. So the car was towed to the finish line on the return road and started with the battery, then Dusty McWilliams drove the rest of the route just as if it had been push-started.

 

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Ron Johnson relaxed and did a lot of visiting over the weekend.

 

Johnson put NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum do it all guy, Dusty McWilliams in the seat in hopes to get a nice squirt out of "Shoobie" and get it going fast enough to pop the chute..

 

 

Ron got an almost new Simpson suit, gloves and mask from Jim Swedberg last Spring. This was the first time it had been worn. Dusty's wife Gwen and son Shane look on as Dusty gets the helmet strap just right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dusty on the return road just about ready to make the swing behind the starting line.

 

 

 

 

 

Swing completed successfully and Dusty is just about at the starting line. Johnson was concerned about the highly prepped track and the fact that this was Dusty's first trip down track in Shoobie, so he told Dusty to just slip the clutch to get it going and then accelerate up to around 100 mph and pop the chute near the finish line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dusty followed the plan, but discovered that Johnson's concern about track prep was uneccesary. When he got on the throttle after getting up some momentum, Shoobie pulled the tires loose and spun them just fine. Of course, 40 pounds of air helped to keep the "patch" less than full width of the tire, as can be seen here.

 

 

 

At about 1100 feet Dusty pulled the ripcord and the chute deployed just fine. Now, both of Johnsons cars, Shoobie and the Barnstormer, have made it down track at Bakersfield to a high enough speed to "get the laundry out"! Barnstormer got it's 12 foot ringslot deployed at "Dragfest" early in May. The experiments continue!

 

 

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