June 14, 2003
June 14, 2003 (The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway): The California Independent Funny Car Association returned to Las Vegas after a 6-year hiatus. This was the first time that CIFCA raced on the new ‘strip and what a pleasure it was. A smooth race surface with excellent Musco lighting and the latest Chrondek timing system made for first class racing.
Jack Beckman piloted Dennis Murphy’s Omni to the pole position with a near perfect 7.508. Mike Halstead won the Perma-Cool Burnout Challenge while qualifying Pete Ortiz’s Outcast.
The money round came down to Dennis La Charite, CIFCA’s 2002 Rookie of the Year, against the Good Vibrations of Jim Maher. La Charite’s trek to the final began with a 7.504 first round win over newcomer Dave Johnson. The Back in Black team then sent Steve Macklyn packing on a 7.56 – 7.64 decision. With a full moon lighting up the desert floor, La Charite paired off against Jim Broome’s Firebird. Dennis got the hole shot and never looked back clocking a 7.519.
Maher sliced his way down the other side of the16-car ladder. A 7.54 in the first round was good enough to advance past Sean Dales’ 7.47 breakout. During the 2nd round, Maher dodged a flying cone courtesy of Marty Hill who got a little too close to the centerline in Spencer’s Tempo. Jeff Seraphine then edged out Maher by .003 seconds at the stripe but his 7.41 breakout was worst then Maher victorious 7.47. Maher’s .414 light earned him a $100 virtue of the Enderle Quick Reaction Time bonus.
La Charite and Maher fired up at 1:30am to put a period on a great event. The Back in Black team saved the best for last. Maher went .398 red but La Charite cut a .417 light and ran a 7.503. This run was only .020 seconds off a perfect pass and earned them the Good Vibrations Best Package bucks and the event trophy.
Team Scott had the misfortune of red lighting in the first round though match raced Jett Field jet dragster later in the evening. Scott had the lead for a very hundred feet until the jet blew by. Great crowd pleaser.
Maher holds a very slight lead in the DragParts.com points standings followed by La Charite and Murphy. Special thanks to Chris Blair and the LVMS staff for a well-organized event.