By Susan Wade Fri, 2018-02-16 18:21
Drag-racing fans, especially throughout last season, have enjoyed the story line about Top Fuel ace Leah Pritchett being married to the man who preps the critical clutches for her chief rival, Steve Torrence. But Gary Pritchett someday could end up racing his wife. Actually, it’s more likely he would be trying with her to score a double championship, for her in a dragster and himself in a Funny Car.
Gary Pritchett has been involved in Top Fuel racing for 11 seasons, and with Torrence’s Capco Contractors Dragster team for seven years. One of his biggest joys was helping Torrence earn his first pro victory, in 2012 at Atlanta. (It wasn’t that long ago, but it was when the Top Fuel class included fulltime drivers Khalid al-Balooshi, Brandon Bernstein, Dave Grubnic, Shawn Langdon, Morgan Lucas, Spencer Massey, Cory McClenathan, JR Todd, Bob Vandergriff, and Hillary Will.)
by Bobby Bennett; Photos by Roger Richards Fri, 2018-02-16 12:29
Keith Haney heard all the wisecracks; largely those from Lights Out 9 promoter Donald "Duck" Long and his cronies over the last week. The good-natured ribbing focused on everything from his physical stature to his driving ability.
Thursday night during Radial Vs. The World's lone session, Haney shut them all up, and didn't even have to open his mouth.
Haney, the driver of the Enigma 2016 Camaro, thundered to the provisional low qualifying position with a 3.858 elapsed time at 196.62 miles per hour.
Fri, 2018-02-16 08:00
The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) announced the complete 20-race schedule for the new IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular. The historic Wilkesboro Dragway, Wilkesboro, N.C., has been added to the schedule.
The IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular will produce a fun double-race weekend with increased purses that is affordable for grassroots, bracket-racing competitors who support their local tracks each week.
by Bobby Bennett Thu, 2018-02-15 18:10
No matter how carefully an action is planned, something may still go wrong with it. Just ask Cruz Pedregon.
Pedregon had the plan laid out at the end of the season to purchase a new Funny Car chassis from Don Schumacher Racing. He learned the hard way that one size does not fit all in the world of Funny Car.
"We’re obviously rivals, but he’s a great man," Pedregon said. "He’s making his equipment available to purchase for an independent team like mine, which is great and a win-win for everybody."
Thu, 2018-02-15 12:00
It was a pleasant surprise for Funny Car racers in the southwest when Texan Chris Graves announced plans for the inaugural running of Funny Car Chaos. Not only were racers and fans alike very receptive to a new Funny Car event in Texas, but the no-rules 'outlaw' approach really spiked the interest of the public as this one of a kind event began to take shape. That's right, no rules. Graves and company created Funny Car Chaos to appeal to any and all Funny Cars with absolutely zero restrictions on engine combinations or body styles. Funny Cars of all types, appearances and performance levels are welcome to attend these two day flip top extravaganzas and the proof was in the pudding as over 20 cars from 7 states rolled through the gates of North Star Dragway in Denton, Texas in September of 2017 for the first event. A thrilling weekend was capped off with impressive wins by Mark "Mr. Explosive" Sanders in the 'A' field and Andy "Dragon Slayer" Mears in the 'B' field.
"I like the part where there are no rules. It's pretty obvious it's a good idea when you look around in the pits. 90% of these cars I've never seen before and I'd never have a chance to see them if it wasn't for this event," said Illinois based Funny Car owner and tuner of the "Crop Duster" Frank Ousley at the inaugural event. Division 4 Top Alcohol racer Mark Billington shares that enthusiasm, "I think it's great, I think the idea of bringing Funny Cars back together is great, the 'run what you brung' idea is great and has brought out an impressive field of cars. I'm excited to be here and plan to support these events as much as possible."
Photo by Brian Wood Thu, 2018-02-15 08:00
Bill Bader Jr.’s Energize, LLC has been hired by Maple Grove Raceway to help pave a prosperous path for its famed facility in Mohnton, Pennsylvania.
Through his motorsports marketing company, Bader Jr., who is also president of Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, will be part of inventing and implementing management and marketing programs to ensure that Maple Grove Raceway will be among the leaders in the motorsports industry.
Thu, 2018-02-15 08:00
The auctioning of drag racing legend Shirley Muldowney's one-of-a-kind Super Comp dragster modeled after her iconic "Last Pass" Top Fuel dragster -- the proceeds of which will benefit her namesake charity, Shirley's Kids -- will take place Saturday at the famed Fairplex in Pomona, Calif.
Muldowney will be there in person at the first Mecum Auction of 2018, ready to discuss the car itself, her championship career and to meet the buyer. The auction runs both Friday and Saturday with Muldowney's dragster slated to roll across the famous Mecum stage Saturday.
Written by Tracy Renck Wed, 2018-02-14 12:00
No Mercy Nitro Funny Car owner/driver Chris Bennett will be competing in the newly-formed Nitro Outlaw Drag Racing Association that debuts March 17 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz.
“This is a new car and we are a new team,” Bennett said. “I’ve been running Nostalgia Funny Car and a Nostalgia Fuel Altered for years. I’m a third-generation guy and it has been my lifelong dream to build a pro NHRA nitro Funny Car. The problem is it is expensive to run one. We currently don’t have sponsorship and this (racing in the Nitro Outlaw Drag Racing Association) represents an opportunity to get out and learn the car and get some experience on it and learn how to tune it ourselves before we try and compete on the regular circuit in NHRA.”
Photo by Dave Kommel Wed, 2018-02-14 08:00
“Big Daddy” Don Garlits is a name that is synonymous with drag racing. The legendary Top Fuel Dragster driver and builder from Ocala, Fla., accumulated 144 wins, 17 championships, and numerous performance records in a career that dates back to 1950. Garlits will make a rare trip to the West Coast to be part of Nitro Revival at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca May 18-20.
Garlits will meet and greet fans and cackle his famed Swamp Rat III dragster that was completely recreated for Sonny Messner. The third incarnation of the Swamp Rat dragsters built by Garlits was his first dragster built out of chrome moly tubing. It was the first drag car to break the seven-second barrier with a 7.88-second elapsed time with Connie Swingle behind the wheel in 1961