Cottrell and Wittenberg take titles at 60th Annual March Meet
Words Phil Hutchison – Photos Dave Kommel
Whittier CA racer Bobby Cottrell raced from the pole position in Funny Car at the March Meet to take his second win in a row at the Bakersfield facility.
Cottrell, driving the ’69 Camaro of Austin and O’Brian set low ET of the meet in the second round carding a 5.588 over his win against Michigan racer Shawn Bowen’s Camaro who put down a decent but slower 5.778 in the loss. The win put Cottrell in the semis against the Camaro of second-generation racer Steve Densham. Densham knowing how quick the green Camaro had been throughout eliminations tried to cut the tree, drawing a red light putting Cottrell in his second Bakersfield final having won the Hot Rod Reunion in October.
On the other side of the ladder Canadian Ryan Hodgson had his similar “Pro Mod” style Camaro running low 5.70’s during eliminations defeating the upstart Mustang of Rian Konno in the semis to set up the final round.
By the time the finals were run, the sun had set in the west and the temperatures were in the high 40’s making just getting down the track an adventure in itself. Cottrell had the Camaro backed down just enough to negotiate the slick surface running a 5.723 in the win over the 5.957 of Hodgson.
In Top Fuel the High Speed Motorsports dragster driven by Mendy Fry, was the car to beat running the quickest ETs during eliminations and qualifying #1. In the finals against Pete Wittenberg driving the Circuit Breaker dragster that qualified #3, looked like she was headed for the winner’s circle.
Fry was out of the gate first with a 0.154 light to Wittenberg’s 0.161 and had a car on him before they passed the tree as Wittenberg was blowing the tires off on the cool track as Fry motored down the Famosa quarter mile. But fate stepped in for the Los Angeles racer as her dragster started getting out of shape at half-track crossing the centerline and giving the Anaheim CA racer the March Meet win.
The win was extra special for Wittenberg as the team blew up its only motor during qualifying and towed back to the shop and rebuilt their bullet for final eliminations. It payed off big time for the Circuit Breaker team for the low dollar team.
Fuel Altered champ Dan Hix became a three-time March Meet champion as he easily beat Eric Gates in the final. Hix, who won the March Meet in 2015 and 2016, left the line first and coasted through the lights in 6.30 seconds at 168 mph as Gates had trouble right off the starting line.
Mike Halstead won the Rear Engine Top Fuel title and Dean Oberg was the Classic Funny Car winner behind the wheel of the Holy Toledo Jeep.