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.
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.”
“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
Drag Illustrated Editor-In-Chief Wes Buck has announced the formation of “Wes Buck’s Drag Racing Promotion Mastermind,” an exclusive membership-based group that will include track owners, race promoters, motorsports manufacturers and sponsors, and other experts in the drag racing world.
The “Drag Racing Promotion Mastermind” will give members insight in taking their event, series, facility and brand to the next level, allowing them the opportunity to learn from and network with some of the biggest names in the sport.
After qualifying number one in Radial vs. the World (RvW) a few months back at No Mercy 8, Marty Stinnett returns to South Georgia Motorsports Park this week as somewhat of an underdog for promoter Donald Long’s Lights Out 9 event. That may be hard to believe, but in a class dominated by full-tube-chassis, big-cubic-inch, Pro Mod-style entries, Stinnett’s 1993 Fox-body Mustang once resided in an actual Ford dealership and is now motivated by a twin-turbocharged, small-block Chevy. He concedes the car “is a bit of a dinosaur” with its stock wheelbase and largely metal body, but it remains competitive and for now at least, it’s one he can afford to race.
“It is a little different and maybe not what you’d expect to run so good, but a smart man named Keith Berry once asked me, ‘If you did the same thing as everybody else was doing, what would be your advantage?’ We’ve kind of taken that to heart,” says Stinnett, who set the eighth-mile record for small-block radial tire cars to 3.75 seconds with that qualifying run last fall.
Don Nelson, owner of Nelson Racing LLC, confirmed the driver of his California Hustler nitro funny car for the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series will be Jeff Arend, starting in testing this weekend at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
“Arend is a solid race car driver and has driven just about every kind of fuel car, my crew chief Ronnie Swearingen and I looked long and hard at all the candidates available, both Ronnie and I agreed on Jeff Arend,” said Nelson.
Arend comes to the California Hustler nitro funny car with four career NHRA National event wins having competed in nine final rounds. He recently drove for funny car legend Steve Plueger and his Plueger Racing Chevy Impala as well as the Kalitta Racing Patron funny car, substituting for Alexis DeJoria. He’s driven in the NHRA Heritage Series in Dale Pulde’s War Eagle funny car, in the Black Sunshine AA/Fuel altered as well as the Cheetah front-engined top fuel dragster.
U.S. Army Dragster driver Tony Schumacher still has the highest respect for former crew chief Mike Green – and the highest hopes for that same kind of success with new tuner Mike Neff.
“Mike Green and the entire Army team, we had a lot of success over the years. We had a lot of great years. The last two weren’t as spectacular as we had hoped. I think, myself, even Mike Green, the Army, we just expected better results and we had to make a change,” Schumacher said.
“Mike is an incredibly capable guy, a fantastic crew chief, a great team leader, and everything about him is good. But we had to make a change. We needed to see results, and we were running out of time for that,” he said.
Even though he knew a switch was inevitable, Schumacher said at first he resisted not Neff himself but the notion.
The distance, by coincidence, was a quarter-mile. Jeg Coughlin had traveled 1,320 feet many, many times, but this trip was different. He was on foot, carrying the Olympic torch through his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, as part of the relay preceding the Winter Games at Salt Lake City. In later years he competed against NASCAR stars in the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Challenge to raise critical funding for the U.S. Bobsled team. In 2010, he was a guest of Team USA at the Winter Games at Vancouver.
So with the kickoff of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, opening this same weekend as the Lucas Oil Winternationals at Pomona, Coughlin reminisced.
Written by Susan Wade, photos by Dave Kommel, Jeff Burghardt Mon, 2018-02-12 18:00
Newly crowned NHRA Top Fuel champion Brittany Force got a rude awakening in Round 1 of the season-opening Lucas Oil Winternationals at Pomona, Calif.
Her Monster Energy Dragster hit both guard walls hard at about 150 mph during her race against Terry Haddock. Force was conscious and alert when emergency personnel reached her, and she exited the dragster. But she was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.