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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 16: Featuring Paul Aray's Illusion Maverick, Bill Spevacek, Lil' John Lombardo, Ron Leaf & Frank Mancuso, Don & Roy Gay, Green Elephant Vega, KC Charger, Jim Nicoll, the Centurion Firebird, Ronnie Umbach, and the Tonti Metal Craft Mustang, Henry Harrison, Raymond Walker, and the Seifert & Moyers Agitator Vega.


One of the few Maverick floppers of the era was the Division 2 based car of Paul Aray. Aray won the Div 2 F/C title and the NHRA Eastern Conference title in 71 with the pictured car based on the strength of winning 2 division events and doing well at the remaining 3 events. New Illusion Maverick was built for 72; car was infrequently campaigned, dropped to 5th in Div 2 points and was sold at season's end to Div 1 racer Keith Smith. Other Maverick bodied F/Cs in the early 70s included Al Vanderwoude's "Flying Dutchman," MT's short lived effort, Danny Miller's "Plastic Fantastic," Terry Ivey, LA Hooker, Atlas Oil Tool Special and Larry Fullerton's Galpin Ford effort complete with real door handles and radio antenna! (Photo by Ted Pappacena)


Coming out of the great northwest in the early 70s is Montana's Bill Spevacek. Spevacek got his start with an A/Altered, then graduated to nitro floppers when he purchased the wrecked Beatty & Dabler Challenger and put a Cuda body on the car. He ran the car for two seasons, then ordered a Twig Zeigler look alike Dart which burned at the 75 Supernationals. Car was rebuilt with another Dart body, ran another season before he gave up his own operation to drive the UAP Monza in 77. Career highlight was taking runner up at the 80 AHRA World Finals at Spokane wheeling the Monza. UAP Corvette followed in 81, and in 83 Spevacek retired to devote more time to his family and ranch. (Photo and info courtesy of Bill Spevacek)


SoCal's Lil' John Lombardo first hit the asphalt in the mid-60s with a modified production 55 Chevy, graduated to a topless AA/Gas Supercharged Corvette before going flopper racing in the early 70s. Charger bodied car gave way to this Camaro (which was lost in a fire) which later gave way to a Vega in 74. Due to business commitments Pat Foster drove and toured the Vega, and in early 75 Lombardo returned to the cockpit of a Mustang II. 1976 saw Lombardo make his first tour of national events, although continuing business commitments kept him off the match race trail. Arrow bodied car followed in 78 and Lil' John continued to race his own self sponsored F/Cs through the early 80s...   Lombardo's biggest national event victory came at a mid-80s NHRA Nationals wheeling Raymond Beadle's red Blue Max Mustang. (Photo by John Shanks)


In 1972 Ron Leaf and Frank Mancuso teamed up on the pictured Vega in Div 1. In 73 team hit the road...  season highlight was qualifying 3rd at the NHRA Grandnationals and taking the runner-up spot to Dale Emery in the Jeg's Camaro. In 74 Bob Lagana took over the reins of the Vega with Mancuso and Leaf getting back together in 77. In 78 they bought the ex-Rolling Thunder Monza and nicknamed the car "Travel Agent." Team got off to an unceremonious when car flipped over the guardrail at the Gatornationals; came back to win the Div 1 flopper title later in the year despite an accident at Englishtown that knocked the team out mid-season. An Omni bodied "Travel Agent" carried the team into the 80s. In Mancuso's words "We continued on until 1984... qualifying, and going a few rounds now and then..." before calling it quits. (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories, info courtesy of Frank Mancuso)


Texan Don Gay ruled in the early 60s with a Pontiac stocker while still a teen, later campaigned an altered wheelbase blown "exhibition stock" GTO in 65 that started the "Infinity" line. Don retired to the family auto business in the late 60s and turned the cockpit over to bother Roy. Pictured GTO debuted in 69 with Pontiac power, emerged in 1970 with Keith Black Hemi power, set low ET at AHRA Winternationals with then-blistering 7.23 during qualifying, lost in first round. Firebird shell soon replaced GTO body but at the end of 70 the "Infinity V" appeared for sale in the Dec issue of National Dragster...  car went on to become the "Hemi Under Glass" flopper of wheelstand king Bob Riggle, was campaigned during the 72 season by Dale Emery. (Photo courtesy of David Ray)


The Green Elephant Vega ran out of the Jim Green Performance Center in western WA. 73 Elephant was NHRA World Champion with Frank Hall at the wheel. Mike Miller took over reins of Green Elephant in summer of 74 while Hall moved on to handle Jerry Ruth's Mustang. Car took runner up at 75 NHRA Winternationals but was getting a little long in the tooth. Green took 76 off, returned with pictured car in 77 with Rob Bruins at the wheel, who gave way to Norm Wilcox, later replaced by Rich Rodgers who took runner up at the 77 NHRA Nationals. At the end of 78 entire Green Elephant operation was put up for sale (Truck, trailer, car, etc). Car reappeared in 1980 with Mike Cyr (ex-Skippers Fish and Chips floppers) sponsored by Coast Crane & Equipment running in Div 6. (Photo from Bardahl Handout courtesy of Gary Osborn)


Bill Vance and Vern Hill ran the "KC Charger" Charger shown at Kansas City International Raceway in May 72. In 73 car became known as the Fenton Charger after the team secured sponsorship from Fenton, a company that made aftermarket wheels, shifters and mufflers. Paint scheme was changed along with the name as the car adopted blue & white colors with the single word "Fenton" emblazoned on the side accompanied by a 3-D airbrush rendering of a huge wheel! Car was build using pretty much standard fare for the day (Ed Pink stoker, B&J transmission, Fiberglass Ltd. body, etc)... two notable exceptions where the use of relatively known Dick Easterwood to build the chassis and later the use of rare (for nitro racing) Fenton Gyro wheels. (Photo courtesy of Brad Anderson)


"Superman" Jim Nicoll's 76 Monza photographed at the Gatornationals. Nicoll developed the Superman nickname after surviving some horrific mishaps including the 70 NHRA Nationals T/F final finish line clutch explosion that cut his car in half. Nicoll's first F/C effort was the ex-Setzer Vega sponsored by Speed Equipment World that burned at the 73 Gatornationals. Another Speed Equipment World Vega sponsored by Revell followed before Nicoll struck out on his own in 74 with a Vega. Nicoll's greatest F/C success came in AHRA competition...  won 73 AHRA Gateway Nats, would have been winner or r/u at 73 PRO National Challenge, but broke, allowed Don Schumacher back in on break rule (remember that!?!?), won the 75 AHRA Nationals, also numerous runner-ups, etc, etc...  (Photo by John Farr)


From Ohio came the Thornburg & Little "Centurion" Firebird, 1979. Team started the season with the ex-Detroit Tiger Monza, debuted the pictured replacement Firebird shell mid-season. Driver Len Imbrogno got his fuel license at the beginning of the 79 season, replacing Chuck Finders who had teamed with Thornburg on the Midwest campaigned "High Speed" Vega and Monza entries in 77,78. Firebird was a Div 3 regular during the 79 season, finished 2nd in division points, being barely edged out for the top spot by Tim Grose's Monza. Car crashed at 80 Gators, was replaced by identically painted Omni bodied flopper for the remainder of the season. (Photo by Don Eckert)


The wildly painted Tonti Metal Craft Mustang came out of New Orleans in 1970. Car was owned by Ray Perschall and shoed by Ron Umbach. The Exhibition Engineering built flopper was 426 Hemi motivated and interestingly (for a Ford bodied F/C) was initially sponsored by Clearview Dodge! Car was later destroyed in a fire at Kansas City and Umbach moved on to shoe such other Cajun floppers as Frank Huff's Super Vega and the King Fish Cuda. Umbach also did time driving Foster's King Cougar (ex-Dyno Don Eliminator) before moving on to shoe alcohol dragsters and funny cars in the 80s. (Photo and info courtesy of Shirley Umbach)


Midwest transplant Henry Harrison got his nitro start in the early 60s with AA/FD and AA/FA entries, got his first funny car ride in 70 wheeling one of Mickey Thompson's many funny cars of the time, held both ends of NHRA F/C record for a time in 71 at 6.54/227 wheeling M/T's Mustang. Ride in M/T Vega followed in 72 before Harrison took over the driving chores of the AZ based Vulture Cuda which took runner up at the 74 OCIR Manufacturers Meet to Pat Foster wheeling Lil' John Lombardo's Vega. Harrison owned Super Chief Camaro was debuted in 77, won Div 7 F/C crown the same year. Harrison continued driving floppers and AA/FAs through the mid-80s...  rides included the LA Hooker Corvette, Sheepherder AA/FA, etc, etc. (Photo by John Shanks)


From a rare B&W handout comes the "Sunshine" Vega of Raymond Walker from Kentucky campaigned in the mid-70s. Very much a "bucks down, back woods" operation, the car was usually campaigned as a BB/FC. According to Robert Flitsch, who worked on the crew, the team's red and white 421 CI Pontiac powered Hardy built early 70s Vega "played with nitro occasionally...  mostly southern match-races, a lot of 8th-mile tracks! Not too much, though... those steel Pontiacs didn't like a heavy dose, I think 65% is the highest it got!" According to Robert "Walker wasn't bucks-up by any means, the guy was a drill-sergeant at Fort Knox, as was his crew-chief..." (Handout and info courtesy of Robert Flitsch)


The "Agitator" Vega of Maryland's Seifert and Moyers, circa 1979, was a Division 1 match race and booked in event regular...  was preceded by a Seifert and Moyer alky Vega flopper that ran divisional events in the mid-70s before the team moved up to the nitro class. Agitator name attached to a F/C actually goes back to the early-70s on Paul Day Vega alky flopper out of Div 3. Pictured rather "bucks down" looking Vega gave way to immaculate Agitator Arrow funny car in 1980. Team was one of the last independent flopper acts traveling the northeast division through the mid-80s on the evaporating nitro funny car match race/booked in circuit. (Photo courtesy of Dave Milcarek)


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