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Funny Cars Return to San Diego County

CIFCA Race Report

Submitted by: Jim Maher

October 9, 2004 (Barona Drag Strip): In 1984, the CIFCA funny cars held its only race in San Diego County at the now ex Carlsbad Raceway. Twenty years later they returned to this southern portion of California participating at the new Barona Drag Strip. This is an NHRA sanctioned 1/8 mile strip located 30 mile east of San Diego. It features an extremely flat race surface, modern concessions and restrooms, decent timing and good nighttime lighting. The shut down is a little on the short side for cars dipping into the 4-seconds range.

Steve Romanazzi won the Perma-Cool Burnout Challenge during qualifying while Andre Pegues nailed the pole with a dead-on 4.700 elapsed time. Lyle Larking stole the thunder when he could not stop and literally flew over the 75’ gravel pit. The NHRA mandated safety net was the only thing that kept the Hesperia, CA team from visiting Mexico. Lyle escaped injury though can’t say the same for his Blue Diamond funny car.

There is a lot of truth in the saying: “ Luck is where Preparation meets Opportunity”. Glenn Tucker of Moreno Valley has really stepped up his operation the past few years. His BBC powered ‘55 Chevy experienced the usual growing pains but Tucker stuck with it and finally reaped the spoils of victory. During first round action, Tucker received a red-light gift from Paul Peterson though clicked off a 4.94. Tucker then advanced past an out-of-shape Jim Scott. Tucker kept the win lights coming when Dennis La Charite broke out with a 4.67 in the semi-finals placing the Moreno Valley, CA team into their first final round.

Tucker’s date in the money round would be the Good Vibrations of Jim Maher. His trek also began with a red light gift courtesy of Jamie Leppanen. Maher than held off a consistent Pete Cogswell on a 4.75 –4.85 decision. During the semi-finals, Romanazzi got a little antsy and left before the ‘tree was activated while Maher’s 4.71 lit the win bulb.

Tucker and Maher fired up for the final round just as the evening dew rolled into the Barona canyons. Maher’s hemi backfired and went silent due to a broken camshaft. Tucker did his burnout and was given the solo signal. He spun, back-pedaled and recorded a 5.18 for his first CIFCA victory. Dues well spent.

Jack Beckman won the Enderle Quick Reaction Time bucks with a .405 light while Larkin took home the Bar’s Leaks Qualifying Bonus award. La Charite laid claim to the Good Vibrations Best Package bucks. Charles Ware set a new track record with a 4.476 blast. Thanks to promoters Mike Goodwin and Tony Kotasek and their untiring staff.

California Independent Funny Car Association

8858 Painter Ave * Whittier CA 90602 * 562.945.9730

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