Bobby Cottrell made his the slowest run of the week in the Funny Car final Sunday at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
Pete Wittenberg also made his slowest run in the Top Fuel final.
No matter, both emerged as March Meet champions but in dramatically different ways.
Cottrell was coming off a victory in the California Hot Rod Reunion last October and picked up right were he left off as he was clearly a step ahead throughout the meet.
But the final did not take place until after 7 p.m. on a very cold racing surface where finding traction could have been a major problem.
It wasn’t for Cottrell, whose 5.72-second run at 241 mph outdistanced Ryan Hodgson’s 5.95 at 240.
“It was a long, cold day,” a relieved Cottrell said. (The cold track) always crosses your mind but (car owner) Bucky Austin made the right call on the tune up. It started spinning the tires as soon as I hit high gear and kept my foot on it for as long as I thought I could and it worked out.”
Cottrell set the Funny Car standard throughout the meet.
He led the way in qualifying at 5.65 seconds and upped the ante one eliminations began.
Cottrell started his day with a 5.621-second run at 254.47 mph and went 5.588 at 256.89 to beat Shawn Bowen by two-tenths of a second in the quarterfinals. He reached the finals with a 5.602/251.53 run over Steven Densham who jumped the start.
“I can’t say enough about Bucky, it was a bracket car,” Cottrell said. “He made me look good. It was 99 percent him. Him and the crew. I just get to drive the thing.”
And that, Cottrell is the real fun.
“It’s a blast, especially at night,” He said. “You can see the reflection of the header flames. It’s like a dream come true.”
Hodgson qualified sixth at 5.708 and stayed near that number through the first three rounds of eliminations.
Wittenberg figured he was a March Meet runner-up shortly after he left the starting line and smoked the tires against defending champion Mendy Fry.
“I pedaled it and saw her going way out there so I lifted cause she was way out on me. I went, bummer,” he said.
But Fry drifted over around midtrack, hit some timing cones as she nudged across the centerline and was automatically disqualified. She ran 6.30 seconds at 130.91 but it was Wittenberg coasting to a victory at 14.224 seconds and 60 mph.
“I saw her come over and then I kind of weaved around a cone and I thought why is there a cone in my lane?,” he said. “She crossed the center line! I went from bummed out to holy (crap), we won this thing. It was awesome.”
Wittenberg blew up his only engine on his qualifying run on Friday, went back to Anaheim and built a new motor which lived long enough for the March Meet win.
“It was our one bullet,” he said. “We were on the verge of having nothing left to do this deal. It’s amazing. It’s a dream. How cool.”
Wittenberg reached the finals with runs of an a 5.84 and 5.83.
Fry, the No. 1 qualifier, ran 5.69 and 5.60 to reach the finals.
Dan Hix became a three-time March Meet champion in Fuel Altered 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.
No other finals were completed on Sunday. They will be completed on Monday.