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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
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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 15: Featuring Jim Terry's Mustang, Hill Bros, Speed Racer Vega, Bluegrass Shaker Monza, Huckster Mustang, CKC Vega, Oly Smoker Vega, Mike Mitchell's Hippie Cuda, Bobby Steakley's Camaro, Meyer & Rogers Camaro, Ric The Underdog Deschner's Monza, Chris Berg's Texas Yankee, and Della Woods' Challenger.


SoCal's Jim Terry's Mustang debuted in early 74 with Gordon Swearingen at the wheel. Terry had been partners with Mike Thermos on the Sopwith Camel Cuda prior to this effort, moved on after two seasons to field Plueger built flopper. Car was the first F/C to run a Danekas 8-71 blower, showed up at the 75 AHRA Winternationals with the combo and dominated the field, setting low ET at 6.32 with a #1 qualifying effort, but lost a traction plagued final to Shirl Greer's new Mustang II. Waterman Racing Engines shop foreman Neil Leffler later took over the reins of the car after Swearingen retired to devote more time to his family. Bakersfield 76 was the first outing for Terry's Gary Cochran driven yellow and black Buick Skylark. Car ran through 77... last hurrah was at 77 NHRA Fallnationals where car was #4 qualifier (6.28), went to semi's, lost to eventual winner Billy Meyer. (Photo and info courtesy of Gordy Swearingen)


From the state that probably boasted more funny cars per capita than any other, Rhode Island, came the "Rapid Transit" Satellite of the Hill Bros. Following a bad blown AA/Gas Willys in the late 60s, Pete and Bill Hill built their first Rapid Transit funny car in 1970 in the form of a Cuda. A newer Tropeano built "Hill Bros" Cuda followed in 71 that was unique in that it actually had working headlights! Brothers were northeast regulars throughout the 70s with their Plymouth bodied entries; took 77 off due to business commitments, reemerged with the pictured car for the 78 season. Other 70s entries from the nation's smallest state included King & Marshall, Frank Federici's Shark Corvette, John Roderiques' Light My Fire Corvette, Mel Perry's Super Hugger Camaro, and Dick Pintos Super Hustler Camaro! (Photo courtesy of David Hapgood)


In 76 Steve Harris debuted chassis builder Mike Kase's "Speed Racer" Vega at the OCIR annual Manufacturers Meet. In 77, following an injury to Harris, Tom Anderson, who had been racing his own Vega and "Wild Thing" Mustang II F/C took over the reins. By 78 team was on a roll, winning the Div 3 title, taking runner up at Cajun Nationals and finishing 6th in NHRA points. However, lady luck didn't smile on the team in 79 as they seemed to just miss qualifying at most NHRA national events. Speed Racer closed out the decade as an Omni bodied car and in early 1980, Anderson left the team to crew chief on Len Imbrogno's Centurion Trans Am and "AA/Dale" Armstrong took over driving chores. In 81 Armstrong became the 6th member of the Cragar 5 Second Club with a 5.98 at the Gatornationals. Anderson later went on to drive for Jim Wemett. (Photo by John Shanks)


In the mid-70s the Bluegrass Shaker of Turner and Commes was billed as the only AA/FC from Kentucky. In 75 Jackie Price at wheel of Bluegrass Shaker Vega won the Div 3 flopper title. Pictured Monza debuted in 76 driven by ex-Tommy Ivo crew chief and Hot Tuna T/F driver John "Tarzan" Austin. Car finished 2nd in Div 3 that season behind Stan Bowman...  then didn't reappear in 77. Monza was one of the many "Shaker" cars of the era; others included the Kosty Ivanof's Boston Shaker, Bill Schifsky's Beartown Shaker, Brian Lengle's Sno-Town Shaker, Al Bergler's Motown Shaker, Terry Hedrick's Super Shaker, Jim Robbins Bayou Shaker from TX, etc, etc, etc. (Photo by Ted Pappacena)


From the Garden State, New Jersey, came the "Huckster" Mustang initially owned by John Burnett. Stang was a Woody chassised, Circus painted car that ran canards for a period. Using a steel 426 with a Lenco 2-speed, it ran a best of 6.41/227 in 73. Car was driven by Bobby Martindale whose previous flopper experience came running the "Tonka" Mustang A/FC on the East Coast Fuel Funny Car Circuit. Team only ran the car a few times over 2 years and then sold it to John Perotti from south Jersey, who ran the car in Division 1 through 76. Car then disappeared...  although Arnie Swensen (of Swensen & Lani fame) remembers seeing the Mustang body behind the Gateway Motel on Rt. 22 in Somerville NJ for a couple of years following the end of the car's career. (Photo by Dave Milcarek, info courtesy of Franklin Amiano)


From San Antonio came the CKC Vega of Fritz Callier and JE Kristek. Callier drove the car while Kristek turned the wrenches. Second "C" originally belonged to Buddy Cortines who left the team well prior to this 72 Vega and continued to drive other Texas based nitro entries through the late 70s. After campaigning a B/Fuel Dragster in the early 60s team was among the first to jump into flopper competition way back in 65, was AHRA's first Funny Car event champion at a Green Valley TX race. Hardy built Camaro and Nova preceded the pictured Vega, switch was made in late 70 with the Nova from a Rat motor to a Ramchargers built Hemi which also powered the pictured Vega. Team was NHRA, AHRA and IHRA regulars...  in fact Drag Racing USA (Mar 72) stated that after switching to funny cars CKC had never failed to qualify for an event they entered! (Photo from CKC Handout courtesy of Randy McGinnis)


One of the charter and less heralded "beer war" cars of the era was the "Oly Smoker" Vega owned by Ron Salisbury from Oregon and campaigned mostly in the Midwest, circa 1975. During the mid 70s Olympia was busy has they sponsored Herm Peterson's TF from the NW, the highly successful Oly Roller alcohol floppers of Vern Moats and the pictured car. Oly Smoker name was originally attached to a John Dekker driven Vega owned by he and Roger Guzman in 73 before Salisbury got the sponsorship nod; later Prudhomme got the Olympia sponsorship on Army Monza. Pictured car had various drivers during it's existence including Jim White, Johnny White, Tripp Shumake and whatever driver was attached to the competition number 480... any ideas? (Photo by John Bergener)


Billed as the "Worlds Fastest Hippie" San Francisco's Mike Mitchell ran "The Hippie" Cuda in the early 70s. Following stints with a AA/GS Willys and the flip top "Revolution" Corvette pseudo F/C AA/GS in the late 60s, Mitchell turned his efforts to nitro. Famous for it's "Impeach Nixon" rear spoiler, Mitchell's flopper was show quality as evidenced by it's annexing Best Appearing Car at the 73 Sacramento WCS meet (despite hitting the Christmas Tree at same event). Mitchell faded away in the mid-70s after the pictured car burned to the ground at Irwindale, returned in 79 to drive the "bad guys" dragster in the movie "More American Graffiti." In 1980 he remerged with the "A&E Motors" Corvette F/C; during retirement Mitchell spent time on the road crew for Jefferson Starship. During his hiatus the Cuda was in storage, showed up for sale in National Dragster in 80. Following his brief return, Corvette showed up for sale in early 81. (Photo courtesy of John Shanks)


From Waco Texas came Bobby Steakley and the Steakley Chevrolet sponsored "Stinger Camaro" in 1970. The Hardy built Rat motored flopper was wrenched by David Ray who took over the driving chores when in his words "[Steakley] calls me... and says he has a big 32 car race in Hollywood FL that weekend (end of Jan 70) and... his father wouldn't let him go, because of big business doings at the dealership. So I go, and win the race...  It turned out that Bobby's father was planning to make him quit by the end of the year. His father was fixing to retire, and turn the dealership over to him in two years... Bobby only drove 4 more races that year (in Texas). I drove about 50 dates, got on the Coke circuit in June..." Fellow Wacoan Grover Rogers took over the driving chores when Ray departed for a ride in the Stone, Woods and Cooke Pinto. (Photo and info courtesy of David Ray)


By 71 the Steakley car pictured above was rebodied and owned by Grover Rogers and a young up-start from Waco named Billy Meyer. Meyer, at the tender age of 15, got his first opportunity to drive a flopper (at an airstrip!) while the car was still cloaked in the 69 Camaro shell... but eventually licensed in the car after the 71 body was mounted. Rogers did most of the driving while Meyer acted as an occasional fill-in. Following a non-drag racing accident, Rogers vacated the driver's seat to Meyer fulltime. Team later campaigned a Meyer driven Mustang bodied funny car which eventually became the "Motivation" Mustang that "The Waco Kid" won the 72 OCIR Manufacturers Race with after buying Rogers out and becoming sole owner/operator of the flopper. (Photo courtesy of Jerry Finley)


Maybe the ultimate "little guy" fuel racer of all time is (then NY's, now South Carolina's) Ric "The Underdog" Deschner. In fact, the pictured funny car may be the longest continuously campaigned, one owner flopper in history. Deschner started construction on this car in 1970, finally ran it for the first time in primer in 75, finally had the $$$ to paint the car in 76. Deschner built the Rat motivated car himself (except the body) and campaigned the car in Div 1, match racing and IHRA events through 1992. Among his accomplishments were a top 5 finish in Div 1, 3rd in NHRA Regional Points and a top 10 IHRA finish. When IHRA dropped nitro floppers, Deschner was left without a "competitive" place to race so he continued to make "exhibition passes" with the car. Today, Deschner is prepared to dust the cobwebs off and enter the burgeoning nostalgia funny car wars. (Photo by Michael Beach, info courtesy of Ric Deschner)


The "Texas Yankee," Chris Berg, was from Schertz, TX., just outside San Antonio where he ran True Performance Inc. Berg's resume included rides in the Texas based Hired Gun TF & FC entries, the Lonestar Longneck AA/FC, and his own Texas Yankee AA/FC 78 Challenger from 78-86. In keeping with the Texas theme, the chassis was built in the Dallas based shop of T-Bar Chassis. Berg rebodied the car in mid-86 with a Corvette shell, ran a best ever 6.05 at the first annual Chief Auto Parts Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in late 86 before retiring to outside the US as a scuba diving instructor in the Caribbean (or some such thing). Berg pretty much confined his racing activities to Texas, matched race (even in Mexico) and ran divisional events. (Photo by Jim White, info courtesy of Bill Duke)


One of the trio of female flopper drivers in the early 70s (the others being Paula Murphy and Shirley Muldowney) was Michigan's Della Woods. Teamed with her brother Bernie, the team ran "Bernella's Funny Honey" Charger in the late 60s before debuting this car in 70. Team ran the car through 71, then retired when Bernie moved from MI to AZ. Woods returned to funny car racing in 1981 at the wheel of the ex-Dick Rosberg "Fighting Irish" Firebird, her only non-Dodge bodied flopper. Woods followed that up with several Mopar bodied funny cars in the mid/late 80s. Trivia fodder: Della was the first women to enter a Pro Class race, the 69 NHRA Winternationals where she failed to qualify for the funny car field. (Photo from Della Woods handout courtesy of Jim White)


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