NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD
presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports
Hartman Captures Funny Car Nationals Crown
US131 Motorsports Park - Martin, MI September 11-12, 2015
Article by Mike Sopko Jr. - Photos by Mike Sopko Sr. & Mike Sopko Jr.
It is often said that in drag racing the winning driver is the benefactor of at least one lucky round; a round where he or she should have been beaten, but by some unlikely series of events came up victorious. For occasional AA/FC driver and car chief for the Big Show's Tim Wilkerson, Richard Hartman did not get that lucky break during his first round match up with Shawn Bowen. During that first round race Bowen clearly left on Hartman and ended up with a holeshot victory. Bowen ran a 5.71 to a quicker but losing 5.68 for Hartman. At the moment it seemed that Hartman's tardiness on the Christmas tree had ended his racing for the day. But just like the common saying that every winner needs at least one break, Hartman found the break at the conclusion of the first round.
Paul Romine and crew prepare for a first round tangle with Kevin Lennon - Kevin Lennon putting the motor through its paces
The first round paired just four funny cars and one front engine dragster. The first pair up was Paul Romine in the "Man O War" Mustang against Kevin Lennon's "Shake and Bake" Arrow. This was a rematch from last year's first round match up where Lennon came away with the upset of the event when Romine got out of shape and tagged the wall. This race started off much the same. Romine broke the tires loose and got out of shape allowing Lennon to take a multi car length lead, however Romine did not simply lift. Instead he pedaled it and gradually reeled Lennon in taking the victory with an on and off again 6.40 to Lennon's 6.41. The final first round run was "Turbo" Tim Cullinan in his red shorty bodied FED. He was scheduled to run DRO Championship contender Jim Young in his FED, but unfortunately a tragic medical event kept the team from racing. This left Cullinan with a solo pass where he clocked a 6.17 at over 245 mph.
Tim Cullinan put down a 6.170 on his first round single
The semi finalists should have been set after the first round, but with a short field of just six cars a quick loser had to be reinserted to give the fans a true semi final pairing. This was just the break Hartman needed and he seized the opportunity. In the semis Hartman should have again been matched against Bowen, but parts breakage prevented Bowen from making the call at his home track. Rather Lennon rejoined the mix and thus created a pairing of first round losers vying for the opportunity to advance to the final. The race was quickly over as Lennon had to lift and Hartman cruised to an early shut off 5.93 at only 197 mph. Hartman was now in the final and he would either be paired against Paul Romine or Tim Cullinan. In a battle of former Top Fuel pilots Romine ran away with victory carding a 5.76 at 242 mph, to Cullinan's troubled 8.97.
Shawn Bowen in the Violator
This left Romine and Hartman to square off for the Funny Car Nationals crown. In what was clearly the best race of the event Romine and Hartman raced side by side the whole way down the quartermile, with flames flickering in the cool September air. Hartman's car had noticeable sparks flying from the headers, which usually indicates parts wear or damage, but his car never faltered. As they both hit the stripe the scoreboards rang out with two sub 5.7 second runs. Romine crossed the finish line second with a 5.69 at nearly 250 mph, while Hartman set low ET of the meet with a 5.604 at just a tick under 260 mph.
Paul Romine had to pedal it more than once to get by Kevin Lenon in the first round. Paul won a close one 6.40 to a 6.41.
Richard Hartman put a holeshot on Paul Romine but it didn't matter. He beat Paul's 5.69 with a great 5.60 259.82. Quickest and fastest pass in DRO series history.
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