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DRAGS: Mendy Fry Returns to Her Roots - Sonoma’s Sears Point Raceway

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
March 23, 2001

Sonoma, CA - Former Santa Rosa based drag racing sensation Mendy Fry, who had a stellar quarter mile racing career in the 80’s and early 90’s, will return to the drag strip at Sears point Raceway April 21st and 22nd to compete in the 13th Goodguys Nitro Nationals. Fry, now 31, will compete behind the wheel of a 700 horsepower Junior Fuel class dragster owned by Ron Johnson of San Diego.

She enjoyed a very successful stint in Top Alcohol Dragster (NHRA Division 7) and in the Super Street wars of nostalgia drag racing back in the late 80 ’s and early 90’s. Teamed with her father Ron (who owned Fry Racing, a chassis shop based at Sears Point before he passed away in 1995), Mendy was a terror in both dragsters and in the nostalgia ranks. She was nostalgia drag racing’s first real attraction and she just so happened to be an attractive, slender 19 year-old female.

In her former racing days, Mendy and Ron Fry absolutely dominated Vintage Drag Racing’s Super Street class with the 454 cubic-inch big block Chevy powered bright red ’27 Ford roadster which was hand-built by her father. In fact, she went undefeated for three years in the roadster (‘89-’91), defeating the likes of Steve Castelli, Cole Cutler, Ray Castor and John Geyer during those early formative years of Goodguys Vintage Drag Racing. In her Chrysler hemi powered alcohol dragster, Mendy ran an unbelievable 6.15 @ 220mph at Fremont Raceway in 1988 to become the quickest Top Alcohol driver on the planet. With her good looks, media-friendly nature and unprecedented talent behind the wheel, Mendy was a female drag racing sensation.

When financing for her racing efforts became scarce, Mendy looked to the business world where she became a Big 6 CPA and hung up her driving gloves for good. These days she is living in Chula Vista, CA, married to husband Peter Harris and is a Recruiting Manager for Robert Half International. Mendy is very happy to be racing again. “I can’t wait to get back to Sears Point in a race car. I hope all my old high school friends will be there! I know Georgia Siepel (Sears Point’s Dragstrip Manager) will be there - it will be great seeing her. She was a big help to me getting my career started when she was at Fremont” Fry said.

At last month’s 42nd Goodguys March Meet in Bakersfield, Mendy made it to the semi-final round of competition in the Junior Fuel class. “We had a great weekend considering it was my first time driving Ron’s car,” she said. “It felt good to put on my firesuit again. Even though I’ve been away for a while, drag racing is my first love.” Mendy qualified at Bakersfield in the 5th spot with a time of 7.56 with a top speed of 172mph. What kept her around so long during Sunday’s elimination heats was her cat-like reaction times at the starting line. She frequently beat her competitors out of the gate with superior “lights” as they say in racing. Her race day at Bakersfield came to an end at the hands of reigning Goodguys Jr. Fuel Champion Don Enriquez, a 40-year veteran of the drag racing sport. “Mendy’s a great drag racer,” said Enriquez. “She always is very consistent at the starting line with her reaction times, which alone is enough to win a lot of drag races!”

The Goodguys 13th Nitro Nationals will feature over 350 1972 and earlier racecars competing in 12 different classes (Top Fuel through C/GAS) with 100 ’s of hot rods and customs on display in addition to the on-track action. The event is stop number two of the 5-race 2001 Goodguys Vintage Drag Racing Association’s West Coast Championship Series. Sears Point features two Goodguys WCCS tour stops in 2001, as does Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

General admission for the 13th Nitro Nationals is $20 per day, which includes a pit pass. Event gates open at 8:00am daily with Pro qualifying session at 11:00am and 2:00pm Saturday, April 21st. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11:00am Sunday, April 22nd.

Text provided by John Drummond

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot racing photos and art, visit The Racing Photo Museum and the Visions of Speed Art Gallery.