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70s Funny Cars - Round 1
70s Funny Cars - Round 2
70s Funny Cars - Round 3
70s Funny Cars - Round 4
70s Funny Cars - Round 5
70s Funny Cars - Round 6
70s Funny Cars - Round 7
70s Funny Cars - Round 8
70s Funny Cars - Round 9
70s Funny Cars - Round 10
70s Funny Cars - Round 11
70s Funny Cars - Round 12
70s Funny Cars - Round 13
70s Funny Cars - Round 14
70s Funny Cars - Round 15
70s Funny Cars - Round 16
70s Funny Cars - Round 17
70s Funny Cars - Round 18
70s Funny Cars - Round 19
70s Funny Cars - Round 20
70s Funny Cars - Round 21
70s Funny Cars - Round 22
70s Funny Cars - Round 23
70s Funny Cars - Round 24
70s Funny Cars - Round 25
70s Funny Cars - Round 26
70s Funny Cars - Round 27
70s Funny Cars - Round 28
70s Funny Cars - Round 29
70s Funny Cars - Round 30
70s Funny Cars - Round 31
70s Funny Cars - Round 32
70s Funny Cars - Round 33
70s Funny Cars - Round 34
70s Funny Cars - Round 35
70s Funny Cars - Round 36
70s Funny Cars - Round 37
70s Funny Cars - Round 38
70s Funny Cars - Round 39
70s Funny Cars - Round 40
70s Funny Cars - Round 41
70s Funny Cars - Round 42
70s Funny Cars - Round 43
70s Funny Cars - Round 44
70s Funny Cars - Round 45
70s Funny Cars - Round 46
70s Funny Cars - Round 47
70s Funny Cars - Round 48
70s Funny Cars - Round 49
70s Funny Cars - Round 50
70s Funny Cars - Round 51
70s Funny Cars - Round 52
70s Funny Cars - Round 53
70s Funny Cars - Round 54
70s Funny Cars - Round 55
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ROUND ONE: Featuring Jungle Jim Liberman, Dave Benjamin, Joe Jacono, Lew Arrington, Jim Dunn, Mike Burkhart, the Sundance Monza, Ira Hollensbe, Tom the Mongoose McEwen, Gene Snow, Billy Meyer, the Bad Habit Pinto, and the Cassidy Brothers.


Any look back at 70s F/Cs has got to begin with "Jungle Jim" Liberman from West Chester, PA. One of the top all time crowd pleasers and showman in drag racing, Jungle's demand was such that at one time he had to field 3 funny cars scattered all over the country to cover his bookings. While not remembered as a frequent national event winner, the first "official" NHRA F/C win (69 Winternationals) was recorded by Clare Sanders driving JJ's #2 car. JJ's only NHRA national event victory came at the 75 Summernationals (although JJ did win numerous AHRA flopper shows). Super Stock & Drag Illustrated said of him "He never won a World Championship. He would often arrive late at booked-in races. He would give track owners heart failure...  but he would fill the stands with fans from coast to coast...  they adored the harmonica playing kid from Pennsylvania." (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories)


Another "character" from the 70s, Dave "Nasty" Benjamin ran altereds and his early F/C efforts from his chassis shop in Albuquerque, NM. Benjamin alternated between racing F/Cs and AA/FAs during the 70s... first funny car effort was Corvette in 72. This car, photographed at the 78 AHRA Winternationals, was destroyed on it's maiden outing. Benjamin later took over the cockpit of Nelson Lengle's "Sno-Town Shaker" entry to finish out the 78 season then fielded his own floppers through the 80s and 90s. Benjamin was one of the sport's unheralded innovators introducing 3 valve heads, one of the first dual fuel pump system (80), etc. "Nasty" took his last funny car ride as an owner at the 99 AHRA World Finals at Spokane... is currently doing occasional driving chores in the "Impulse" F/C. (JW Last photo). For more on Dave see http://www.draglist.com/stories/SOD%20May%202000/SOD-053100.htm


Delaware's "Joltin Joe" Jacono, circa 1973, ran an East Coast schedule with his popular funny cars. Following T/F efforts in the 60s, Jacono's first flopper was an SOHC powered ex-Tasca "Brief Encounter" Mustang in 1970 which burned before it had a chance to be sorted out. He followed up with an ex-Big John Mazmanian "Brief Encounter" Cuda in 71-72 and ultimately this Woody Gilmore chassised "Rollin Stoned" entry. Cartoon character on car was a parody of Jacono's Caveman nickname. Despite his limited schedule Jacono was competitive as evidenced by his second place finish in 73 NED WCS flopper points race. Car was campaigned mostly on a "match race" basis through 1976. Arguably biggest win came at the 75 NHRA National Open at Cecil County over Bill Leavitt. (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories)


One of funny cars "founding fathers," Lew Arrington moved to PA in the late 60s with his Firebird flopper to set up shop with his popular series of "Brutus" funny cars. Firebird shell gave way to Mustang body in 71... neat trick on first Mustang was fitting 392 powerplant with Boss 429 valve covers to round out the Ford look. Pictured is Arrington's 72 Mustang at Englishtown, NJ... design on hood/roof represented nitro molecules. Car started the season a brilliant orange but due to a paint problem faded as the season continued...  later burned to the ground at Epping NH. Arrington's last nitro ride was at the wheel of the Brutus Charger (ex-Nichols & Oxner) that ran out the Fred Forkner's Delaware stables. Arrington later sold the "Brutus" name to Roy Harris who carried it into the 80s. Arrington became one of the charter Rocket F/C pilots with his swoopy "Capt America" Mustang in the mid-70s and was joined in the RF/C ranks by former F/C drivers Fred Goeske and Sam Miller. (JW Last Photo)


West Coast campaigner and Top Fuel transplant, Jim Dunn ventured East with his killer "budget" F/C for the first time in the summer of 71 using bookings for the car to pay for a family vacation. Dunn later campaigned the most successful of the limited number of rear engine funny cars that cropped up in the early 70s; a 'Cuda bodied car that once doubled as a T/F car at the same meet with a different body and was the only rear engined flopper to win a NHRA national event; the 72 Supernationals. Conventional Satellite bodied Dunn & Reath entry followed the RE Cuda, debuted in Jan 74 at Irwindale, was later lost in 75 fire at OCIR. Dunn closed out the decade at the wheel of the "Fireman's Quickie" Firebird that took R/U at the final OCIR Manufacturers race of the decade to Raymond Beadle. (Maple Grove Raceway, 1971, Frank Thomas photo)


In an age before aerodynamics and wind tunnels, some funny cars bodies resembled bricks on steroids. Small tricks like the pictured canard wings made a brief appearance before being outlawed by NHRA. This is Big Mike Burkhart at the 72 Funny Car Nationals at York US 30. Well nicknamed, Burkhart weighed in at approx. 340 lbs. He ran a well recognized line of Doran Chevrolet sponsored floppers dating from the mid-60s to the early 70s. Hired team drivers in the 70s included Charlie Therwhanger, Mart Higginbotham, Raymond Beadle, David Ray, Richard Tharp (wheeling Big Mike's only non-GM bodied car, a Plymouth Satellite), Dale Emery (who had a well photographed collision with the guardrail at Indy in 77) and "Flash Gordon" Mineo. (JW Last photo)


Dennis Fowler's Sundance Monza, shown here facing off against Dick Custy's Monza at St. Louis, hailed from Alaska but was campaigned out of Phoenix. Fowlers resume included fielding the first T/F in Alaska in the 60s, a Pro Stock Dart in the early 70s, then a partnership with Don Green on the Rat Trap Satellite which ultimately became the first Sundance flopper in 74 with Tripp Shumake at the helm. Monza followed in 75, was shoed by Tripp Shumake and Russell Long at various times. This car graced the cover of the final issue of Drag Racing USA in June 1975...  Sundance entries were "part time" regulars on the Coke Cavalcade circuit in the mid-late 70s. Arrow bodied Russell Long driven Sundance flopper followed to close out the 70s. (Photo by Don Eckert)


St Louis, Missouri's Ira Hollensbe's seldom seen "Super Star" Cuda in patriotic bicentennial colors, Englishtown 1971. Near identically painted Mustang replaced the Cuda in 72, a couple more mainstream appearing Vegas followed the Mustang. Hollensbe continued to run "Super Star" floppers through the mid-70s, was "Florida State Funny Car Champ" in 75. Unfortunately he all but disappeared after suffering a disastrous fire during qualifying for the 76 Gatornationals with Vega bodied F/C following a 6.58/218, good for 15th position in the show. First alternate Ed McCulloch took Hollensbe's place in the field. (JW Last photo)


Needing no intro is Tom "the Mongoo$e" McEwen. As teammate to "the Snake" on the Hot Wheels/Wildlife Racing Team in the early 70s, McEwen didn't having the winning record Prudhomme did, but arguably as big or bigger fan base. McEwen's biggest win came at the 78 NHRA Nationals over Prudhomme with a then career best 6.05/235. McEwen's 1st NHRA win came at 73 Supernationals, ending a long winless streak...  a win that almost didn't occur after McEwen qualified as 1st alternate, got in show on break rule! And in 75 McEwen was the AHRA Funny Car World Champion. McEwen is generally noted as the father of the nostalgia flopper trend with his 57 Chevy F/C in the 80's. (Photo by Dave Milcarek)


Gene Snow campaigned F/Cs throughout the 70s and was the NHRA and AHRA World Champ in 1970. This car, a 1972 Charger, started his "Snowman" years which lasted through the mid-70s. Companion car to this one was a Jake Johnston driven Snowman Charger with the colors flip-flopped which concentrated on match racing while Snow chased national events. Additionally, Terry Pringle ran a Charger for Snow in the injected nitro flopper ranks and Chip Woodall shoed Snow's T/F effort. By the 73 Snow was down to a one car effort with a Vega and then an Arrow bodied F/C that closed out the 70s. After floppers, Snow continued to run T/F cars off and on through the 80s. Snow's legacy to the flopper ranks was research & development in the late 60s of the clutch-equipped drivetrain at a time when automatic transmissions were the norm. (Photo from 72 Gene Snow Handout, courtesy of Jim White)


The man who really ignited the "big transporter truck" phenomena (started by Dick Harrell), Billy Meyer is shown in the sports first Mustang II bodied F/C, circa 1974. Pictured car carried Meyer to his first national event victory at the IHRA Springnationals...  first NHRA national event win at the 77 Fallnationals in Seattle. Meyer burst on to the scene from "nowhere" in 72 (after being teamed with Grover Rogers in TX, 70-72) at age 18 by winning the OCIR Manufacturers Race in his "Motivation" Mustang. In 75 Meyer sold everything, got involved with Bill Fredericks in an LSR attempt intended to break Gary Gabelich's 622 MPH mark that never made it to the Salt Flats. He rebounded in 76 with a Camaro bodied "SMI Motivator" funny car. Although Meyer didn't "officially" get into the 5 Second Club, he did record a 5.99 at NED's Annual Grande American Championship in 78. Showing no favorites to any manufacturer, Meyer closed out the decade wheeling the "Aqua Slide 'n' Dive Special" (original sponsor on the LSR car) Arrow bodied flopper. (Handout courtesy of Jim White)


The Bad Habit Pinto was out of Hill Enterprises in PA. Driven by Bob Parmer, the car traced it's lineage back to the Bad Habit Fiat AA/FA that terrorized touring western AA/FA pros in the 71/72 seasons and was the first AA/FA in the 6s in Aug 71 at Maple Grove, PA. Pinto was preceded by ex-Jake Johnson/Gene Snow Charger for a short period in 73 while the team waited for the Pinto to be completed. Bad Habit floppers never quite lived up to the AA/FA's legacy...  in fact in the 73 Summernationals Souvenir edition of National Dragster "Tricky Tipster" said Parmer "Would like same "Bad Habits" as AA/Fuel Altered had!" and listed him at 100-1 odds to win. (Photo by Ted Pappacena)


East Coast regulars Cassidy Bros ventured West with this Donovan powered Monza in 78 for the Pro Winternationals at the now defunct Beeline Dragway outside Phoenix. Cassidy's ran a BB/FC Cuda and one of the few Grand Am bodied floppers in the mid-70s before stepping up to the nitro ranks. The brothers were on a bit of a hot streak coming into this race having won the 77 Div 1 flopper title as well as the last two Division 2 "Rebel Winter Series", the Turkey Trot National Open and the Snowbird National Open. However, they lost in the first round at the above pictured event. Corvette body replaced Monza in 79. (JW Last photo)


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