Pete Wittenberg left no doubt as to who had the best Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragster at the March Meet March 8 at Auto Club Famosa Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif.
Wittenberg qualified No. 1 and then mowed down the competition to capture the prestigious title.
“It is pretty emotional,” Wittenberg said. “We’ve won this twice and I’m still beside myself that we won it once. It is unbelievable. It has been a long haul from the first one and this one. We’ve overcome a lot of stuff. It was cool having Tyler (Hilton) in the final. We had a lot of help from a lot of friends to get us to this point, Jimmy Young and Mike Kern and all my crew guys were A-plus for the weekend it was unbelievable. They are so dedicated, and we got it done and pulled it together.”
In the eight-car field, Wittenberg beat Brendan Murry, Dan Horan Jr. and Hilton.
In the final round, Wittenberg clocked a 5.678-second run at 251.49 mph to edge Hilton’s 5.927-second elapsed time at 229.20 mph.
Winning wire-to-wire from the No. 1 qualifying spot wasn’t the game plan Wittenberg had in mind.
“It wasn’t intentional,” he said. “I set out to do my best and it just kind of fell into place and we just kind of tried to hold on to it. That’s how this stuff is, you can lose it in a heartbeat. We ran good at the Reunion and we tried to keep that going and it kept going. We had consistency.”
Although Wittenberg was riding a tidal wave of momentum, he was always keeping things in perspective.
“Stuff can change so quick in this sport,” Wittenberg said. “Things worked out. We worked hard and we serviced the car the same every time. We come prepared and we are here to race, and we have what we need, or we don’t come. We used what we had, and we made it happen. I’m thinking about (running for a championship). It’s one race at a time. I’m self-funded, so it is almost one round at a time really. If I do a lot of damage, I have to really consider what I’m doing. I’m just trying to keep it going. We are thinking about going to Bowling Green, we have been talking about it.”
Hilton was in upset-mode all day long, but Wittenberg wasn’t worried.
“I just knew if I ran a good race, that we would give him everything we could,” Hilton said. “Anything can happen. I didn’t want to redlight, or anything like that. I was really focused on my race and what I was doing. That was my priority.”