WITTENBERG SCORES IMPROBABLE MARCH MEET TF TITLE
Pleasant surprises have become the norm for Nostalgia Top Fuel driver Pete Wittenberg.
Wittenberg, of Anaheim, Ca., scored his first career Nostalgia Top Fuel crown Sunday evening at the Good Vibrations 60th Bakersfield March Meet in Bakersfield, Ca.
It certainly wasn't the kind of monumental victory he'd envisioned for such a prestigious race, stopping the timers at 14.224 seconds, when his opponent Mendy Fry crossed the centerline to surrender a sure victory.
For the sophomore driver of the Circuit Breaker Top Fuel car, he'll take them as he can get them; absurd or conventional.
"It feels pretty amazing," Wittenburg said. "You know, the amount of effort that my crew put in and everything we’ve gone through to get to the winner’s circle is, I’m elated, you know."
Not only is this Wittenburg's first Bakersfield, but it's also his first win, period.
"I got licensed one year ago at this race and I got to the semi-finals," Wittenburg revealed. "So I won first round and I lost second round. That was the only round win I’ve ever had before this."
Wittenburg left the starting line slightly behind Fry, but then his car struck the tires just past the tree. He never officially threw in the towel. The odds were clearly not in his favor as Fry reached half-track.
"I got back in the throttle," Wittenburg explained. "I saw her way out on me, so I lifted and I was coasting down there thinking, ‘Awe, man."
"Then I saw her come over and it took me a moment to realize what had happened, and that I won it."
For Fry, who had dominated every facet of the event as the defending race champion, heartbreak was so inadequate of a word.
"It left good, and I had no idea that he had smoked the tires," said Fry, who entered eliminations as the No. 1 qualifier. "It started shaking and moving around, I couldn’t see where I was, and I just didn’t want to yank on the wheel too hard. So, you know, I wish I had it back to do over again."
Fry understands there will be other races.
"At least it’s not wadded up," she added.
On the other end of the emotional spectrum, Wittenburg was just happy fate shined favorably under the lights at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
"I got to stand on the tire, wait for my crew, arms up in the air," Wittenburg said. "Always wanted to do that. They came and picked me up, hooting and hollering, crying. It’s just a big family thing. So it feels good."