March Meets takes center stage at Famoso

Richard J Peterson

Amber Hayden, Photographer

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drags6-RJPSpring has arrived, and with it comes the annual March Meets at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
The meets took place over the weekend of March 6-9, and even from the distance, all you could smell was nitro and burnt rubber.
But it isn’t all about the drag races, even though they are always the main focal point of the weekend. There were vendors set up selling everything from car parts to food, to comic books, but all were based around the car theme.
The most popular item that each booth seemed to be selling was some form of ear protection because there were constantly engines revving, even before the race would start, coming from the cars that were racing.
One booth that was set up was for the Wounded Warriors Project, which was selling raffle tickets for a Shelby Cobra, as well as T-shirts and stickers.
The only thing that was different about this Cobra compared to its fellow 1964 sisters, is that it is actually only 4 years old.
The finals of the races were held May 9 and were made up of several different classes of cars.
The loudest of them all was the group of funny cars that raced toward the end of the day.
To know which these particular cars are, when they would come up to the line, they were towed because the “shell” of the car would be lifted.
With how they are built it serves an important aerodynamic with the “shell” or body of the car able to be lifted as well as a forward mounted engine.
David Clark, who was on the pit crew for the team of a 1967 Chevy Nova SS, spoke of the race the car was in.
It was two Novas against each other, but the difference with this race was the other car was the exact same as the other.
The same man built both cars, which made everything the same right down to the engine.
It would pit one driver against the other with no aerodynamic difference.
“What made it neat was it was two thousand of a second difference at the end,” Clark said.
“I don’t care how good you are, that just doesn’t happen like that, and to have the two sister cars doing it was just perfect.”
With each win for one of the cars, the crew that was at the start finish line would yell excitedly for their car and shake hands with the crew of the car who didn’t win.
According to Clark, almost all car racing is about people coming together, from driver to driver and then from driving teams to the public.
Even if you weren’t with a racing team or knew much about cars, the different teams were willing to speak to you about what they were driving and what they hoped to run for their race.
During the weekend, there were only two separate accidents.
The first of the accidents was between two class C gas cars, in which they had come together, but no one was hurt.
They just had to clean up the cars so they could race again.
The second accident involved a car that was racing and got to the end and realized his brakes weren’t working, resulting into him having to drive his car into the sand pits at the end of the track.
Clark said his favorite part of the weekend is being able to be in the pits and talking with all the different drivers.
He watched as car parts and tools were passed between teams, and made a comment, “If you’re going to win, you want to win fairly, not because someone is broken down.”
The final day showed the true speed of the cars.
“Everyone just wants to see the beauty of the cars and the muscle,” Clark said.

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