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AAFD HQ, Los Angeles, CA — After a popular initial run on Facebook, the first fist-sized episodes of the web television series “Dragstrip Rumble” have dropped on the AA/Fuel Dragsters’ YouTube page and are available for immediate binge-consumption.

Covering front-engine Top Fuel action from the 59th Annual March Meet, “Dragstrip Rumble’s” debut episodes feature on-air observations and commentary from veteran nitro-drag racer Whit Bazemore and life-long hanger-on Cole Coonce.

“The front-engine Top Fuel class is way cooler than what I expected,” Bazemore explained, in reference to his reporting on Nostalgia Top Fuel for the first time. “The cars themselves seem challenging to drive — looser, and less automated than the NHRA Fuel classes. So that is cool. And the drivers are all unique and have more personality than the normal pros of today. There is no corporate involvement, so everyone can just be themselves like all of motorsports used to be. No super clean-cut autotrons in this class — just hardcore drag racers who only want to win. It’s refreshing.”

Luckily for this production, this March Meet was both wild and unpredictable, as star drivers such as Tony Bartone, Jim Murphy, Adam Sorokin and Mendy Fry all met bizarre and unexpected fates. The cast and crew endeavored to be as whimsical as the action and the personalities they were covering, while avoiding any hype and contrivance.

I greatly enjoyed doing the show,’ Bazemore concluded. “I am so fortunate to know the sport from many different perspectives, and I think that experience enables us to relate to the mechanics, owners, drivers — just about everyone. We wanted to make an entertaining piece, and ‘Dragstrip Rumble’ tells the story of the race in a highly entertaining way.”

Potential future “Dragstrip Rumble” productions include front-engine fueler action from Bowling Green, Boise, Tulsa and the series’ season-closer in Bakersfield–30-

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Dragstrip Rumble: Bakersfield, Pt. 1 (introductions):

Dragstrip Rumble: Bakersfield, Pt. 2 (Qualifying):

Dragstrip Rumble: Bakersfield, Pt. 3 (1st Round Eliminations):

Dragstrip Rumble: Bakersfield, Pt. 4 (Semi-Finals):

Dragstrip Rumble: Bakersfield, Pt. 5 (Final Round):

More on the Dragstrip Rumble series is here:

Dragstrip Rumble: Bakersfield, Pt. 1

The first in a five-part series, this episode of “Dragstrip Rumble” introduces Top Fuel Dragster driver from the 59th March Meet, including Adam Sorokin, Mendy Fry, Jim Murphy and Tony Bartone

In this segment, the drivers explain what is driving their desire to claim a March Meet Top Fuel Title. Champion Speed Shop driver Adam Sorokin explains, in reference to his dad, Mike Sorokin winning the March Meet, that: “I want to get more (win) on my old man, who won it in 1966.” Mendy Fry says her goal is take the victory in another “all-female final,” reprising the 1983 race when Lucille Lee triumphed over Shirley Muldowney, because, even though Mendy is the only distaff driver in competition, “whoever is in the other lane is going to be my baby girl.”

Jim Murphy shares a poignant memory of the 1998 March Meet, when he triumphed in the wake of his car’s owner and tuner succumbing to aneurysm days before the event. “It was the most emotional drag race — or maybe event — that I’ve ever been involved in.”

3-time repeat Series Champion Tony Bartone states that his goal is to win a third March Meet Title, and prevent his rival, Murphy, from claiming a fifth.

Later, Dragstrip Rumble analyst Whit Bazemore explains the limited technology that makes driving these fire-breathing dragsters such a challenge, while “Top Fuel Insider” Cole Coonce explains that this, in fact, is anybody’s race. –30-

Paige Murtaugh Reflects on Bakersfield Dragstrip Rumble


Paige Murtaugh in the cockpit of Steve Harwood’s “Nitro-Hemi”

Dragstrip Rumble pit reporter Paige Murtaugh: “Staring down the body of a front engine, top-fuel dragster from the driver’s perspective is an electrifying experience. Visibly excited after cajoling racer Dusty Green and his team into letting me jump in the hot seat to film a segment for ‘Dragstrip Rumble’ at last weekend’s March Meet… Still can’t figure out why they denied my wishes to take the car on a test run 😉😫

“Green explained what it’s like to be in control of a beastly machine that flies down a quarter mile track at speeds upwards of 250 mph. With these cars reaching 0-100 in 1 second, drivers experience visual impairment from G-force comparable to a rocket ship blasting off…. The drivers can’t see during those initial moments at takeoff… anyone else see a problem with this?! Green insists it’s a game of muscle memory, but if anything goes wrong, the driver has a split second to make a decision and always runs the risk of the front engine blowing up in their face. If you call these need-for-speed cowboys on wheels crazy, they’ll laugh in agreement.


Color analyst Whit Bazemore listens in bemusedly.

“Running around the raceway being blasted by toxic nitro fuel, feeling the ear-piercing rumble of those cars, and tight knit sense of community mixed with competition surrounding the sport left me craving more.” –PM.