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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
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 20: Featuring Bays & Rupert, the Super Cuda, Mike Miller, Jim West, the Gretchko Bros, Doug's Headers Vega, DuWayne Franklin, Logghe Stamping Mustang, Ron Kerchal's Super Rat, the Rat Trap Satellite, Ron Walsh, Tom Hovland, and the Warlord.


While there were many, this was the first... the first Vega funny car in the nitro ranks. Built by Woody Gilmore, the car was campaigned in SoCal by Richard Bays and driver Frank Rupert beginning in the 71 season. The "Black Plague" car was campaigned for 2 years before the team made the switch to an unused Cuda body found at Don Kirby's shop wearing Don Schumacher blue and yellow colors. Cuda was later sold to Canadian Ken McLean and the team built a new Kase chassised Cuda. Mert Littlefield joined the team and the Cuda later burned; body was replaced by an ex-Prudhomme Vega shell and Rupert returned to the drivers seat. In 78 a Mustang II shell replaced the Vega and that year found Rupert doing double duty in both a T/F car and the flopper. An accident with the T/F car in 79 ended Rupert's driving career but son Jason carries on the legacy today campaigning an alcohol funny car (with hopes to soon move up to the nitro ranks) out of Division 7! (Photo courtesy of Richard Bays, info courtesy of Frank Rupert)


Larry "Pineapple" Reyes got his nitro funny car start in mid-60s wheeling the Memphis based Plymouth funny cars of Larry Coleman's Kingfish line. In 68 he stepped into the Super Cuda, a car that was almost unstoppable in match and booked in event competition. In 69 he constructed his own Cuda flopper, but the car was sold to Paula Murphy in short order following an invitation to drive Roland Leong's new Hawaiian which he drove during the 69/70 season. A stint in the Super Duster followed before Reyes moved back into the Super Cuda (which Larry Arnold had been driving) for the 71 season. Following a streak of dubious luck in early season national event competition the Hutchinson and Reyes team decided to concentrate on match race and booked in competition. An accident attributed to a front tire failure during a mid-summer match race unfortunately sidelined Reyes' driving career and brought an end to the Super Cuda line. (Photo courtesy of David Ray)


In the late 70s, Division 6's Mike Miller campaigned this Ford slogan's namesake "Boredom Zero" Mustang II. Miller got his start running nitro floppers in the late 60s...  Challenger bodied car started the 70s, was crashed as Miller was preparing to tour back east. White Vega flopper followed in 72, then he did a stint driving the Pacemaker Vega while Gordie Bonin was driving the Hawaiian. Ride in the Green Elephant Vega followed in mid 74 after Frank Hall moved on to shoe Jerry Ruth's Mustang. At the wheel of the Elephant Miller took runner up at NHRA Winternationals in 75. In 76 Miller got the itch to run his own car again; pictured car debuted that season and took Miller on his first and only national tour where the car is pictured in St Louis. In 1980 Miller debuted the Boredom Zero Corvette after running the Mustang II for 3 seasons. (Photo by Don Eckert)


Playing on his name sake's famous TV show, AZ's Jim West called his line of funny cars "Wild, Wild, West." West got his flopper start in 74 with a 72 Hardy Vega, ran the car in Div 7 competition through 77 when he stepped up with an ex-Don "Beachcomber" Johnson Monza. West bought the car out of storage in AZ, ran the car "down under" in Australia that winter after the Trillo Bros, who were originally scheduled to make the trip, were forced to back out. Unfortunately he crashed the car the last week of the two month tour, returned to the states with only the cage. Cage eventually was transformed into a Jeep AA/FA before he returned to F/C racing in 79 with this ex-Larry Van Zandt, ex-Bob Pickett US Marines Monza. West reports he ran the car a couple years in match race and local NHRA/AHRA competition before the car started to "out run the wallet" and he retired. Brother Johnny West, began running his own line of nitro F/Cs in 76... but that's a separate story! (Photo by Don Eckert, info courtesy of Jim West)


From the Midwest came the Ohio based Mustang bodied funny car of the Gretchko Brothers; Tim, Tom and brother Mike who did the driving. Team started out in the supercharged ranks with a AA/Altered in 67, upgraded to AA/FA in 1969. Team had a Logghe chassised Fuel Altered built in 70, campaigned the car through late 72 before going funny car racing with the pictured Mustang when NHRA abolished the AA/FA class. Car featured the fuel altered chassis updated and lengthened 10" by Logghe. 392 powered entry was campaigned through 75 before the team called it quits due to the "cubic $$$ required to run with cubic inches" and other commitments. Mike Gretchko reports that like many fuel altered converts of the era the team seemed to enjoy more success (and have more fun) in the AA/FA ranks...  in fact in 1970 the Gretchko Bros Chizler powered Bantam was the second fastest fuel altered in the country. Team was match-race and Div 3 regulars, also attended selected local NHRA national events with the Mustang before selling the car, minus motor, to an individual from NY. Car was never seen or heard from again. (Photo by Bob Strait, info courtesy of Mike Gretchko)


The Doug's Headers Vega was descended from the killer Doug's Headers Corvair of the late 60s...  pictured car was Chevy powered, driven by Dick Bourgeois. Denny Savage took a turn at the helm of the pictured car in 74. According to Denny "it started out as a full time ride, but early on in the year Dick sat out while trying to gather up enough stuff to put a "late model" Chrysler 426 in the car. While I was waitin'' one day Roland Leong walked into Palamides` shop in Chicago...  " Soon after Savage went full time in the Hawaiian for the remainder of 74... just one of his many rides from the late 60s to the mid-80s that included Bob Davis' Jolly Green Giant Corvette, Mako Shark Corvette, Time Machine Challenger & Vega, Doug's Headers Vega, Rat Trap Satellite, Kelly Chadwick's Vega, Chi Town Hustler Charger & Mustang II, Panic Vega, John Hoven's Satellite, Jungle Jims 77 Car, Powers Steel Camaro & Corvette, John Martins Jam Air, Castronovo's Custom Body and Pisano's Plymouth Arrow... 18 in all! That ranks Savage among the busiest funny car drivers of the era!!! (Photo courtesy of Dave Milcarek, info courtesy of Denny Savage)


Via the Super Stock ranks in the early 70s came Oregon's DuWayne Franklin. Franklin was friends with Twig Ziegler and when not racing his SS car was helping Ziegler at the races. In fact pictured car was bought from Ziegler when Twig built a new car in early 72. Car previously belonged to Whipple and McCulloch, was the car that burned in a trailer fire that Ziegler bought and rebuilt from the ashes. Pictured at Bakersfield in 72 with Ziegler at the helm, Franklin made some licensing runs in the car but opted to hire drivers due to family commitments. Ziegler returned to the cockpit after wrecking his Pizza Haven car before the pictured car was stolen in Spokane en route to a race in Edmonton. Although the trailer was eventually recovered, all that remained of the funny car was the body! Franklin built a Challenger bodied F/C to replace the Duster driven by Frank Hall that in Franklin's words "suffered quite a few breakage problems"... he later sold the car and retired in the mid-70s. (Photo and info courtesy of DuWayne Franklin, photo by L&M)


Possibly the first "works" car in the flopper ranks was the Tom Prock and Jay Howell campaigned Warhorse Mustang from Logghe Stamping in 1970. Team came from the popular match-race AA/Gas ranks in 69... Logghe was the premier chassis builder in the mid-late 60s, supplied ALL the heavy hitters of the era including Don Nicholson, Eddie Schartman, Jim Liberman, etc. Pat Foster "raised the bar" in 69 with the dragster chassised MT Mustangs and Logghe responded with the pictured Hemi powered Mustang featuring their improved Stage 2 chassis. Car was run on the match-race and AHRA circuits through most of the 70 season, but as the year came to a close the car was parked and Jay Howell drove Don Prudhomme's Hot Wheels Cuda at the 1970 NHRA Nationals, lasted until 2nd round. Howell was general manager at Logghe Stamping, got out of F/C racing at the end of 70 season while Tom Prock moved on to team with Al Bergler on a Vega in 71, later drove the Castronovo "Custom Body" funny cars in the mid-70s, Detroit Tiger entries in the late 70s. (Photo by Ted Pappacena)


The "Super Rat" Monza was campaigned by Colorado's Ron Kerchal in the mid-70s. After racing a B/D in the early 70s, Kerchal got the itch to own a funny car because "that's what brought folks to the fences" and bought the "Outcast" Camaro out of Tulsa in 74. He used the car for he and driver Gary Headrick to gain experience running a nitro flopper before building the pictured Chevy powered Monza around a Mark Williams chassis in 75. Despite putting a lot of $$$$ into the Chevy powerplant, Kerchal reports they never could get it to run competitively, switched to a Hemi powerplant when he teamed up with fellow CO. resident Roger Guzman. Rob Williams took over the driving chores and the team went on to win the Div 5 F/C title in 77 before the Monza was sold to Clint Miller who campaigned the car has the Mountain Monza. Team returned with the "Kerchal & Guzman" Arrow, won the Div 5 crown again in 78. By 79 business commitments were taking up more of Kerchal's time and he sold his interest in the Arrow to Guzman and retired while Guzman continued to campaign Assassination entries into the early 80s. (Photo by John Bergener, info courtesy of Ron Kerchal)


Coming on the heels of the very popular Rat Trap AA/FA was the Rat Trap Satellite F/C, circa 1973. With the abolishment of the Fuel Altered class, Don Green and Jim Fowler teamed up to built the pictured car. Tom Ferraro, who did stints in the Lo Blow, Groundshaker Jr. and Rat Trap AA/FAs has well as Tom Hoven's 71 Div 7 winning Mustang was the shoe. Jim Adolph did a stint at the helm, probably had one the most memorable, well photographed moments with the car when the still unpainted, shoe-polish lettered flopper caught fire en route to the finish line at the 73 March Meet and the car appeared to be living up to it's name as far as Adolph was concerned! Denny Savage also did a stint at the wheel...  car was based on a Dennis Watson chassis and was used as a rolling test bed for ideas coming out of Dennis' shop. Satellite ultimately became the first Sundance flopper in 74 with Tripp Shumake at the helm. Wayne Greiser, who had previously done stints in the Damn Yankee Cuda and Larry Christopher's Nova drove a Rat Trap Mustang campaigned by Green in the mid-70s. (Photo by John Shanks, info verified by Don Green)


From 1971 and Utica NY, home of NHRA F/C World Champion Phil Castronovo that same season, comes the seldom seen Challenger funny car of Ron Walsh. Car was built using a chassis supplied by New England chassis builder Pete Tropeano and a 1971 Dodge Challenger body from Fiber Glass Ltd. The motor was a big block Chevy that was built by Bruce Larson. The car was run a few times on alcohol, before switching to nitro. Walsh ran the car primarily at Utica-Rome Speedway (in Vernon, N.Y.) and ESTA Safety Park Drag Strip (in Cicero, N.Y.) managing to run in the low sevens and topping 200 mph several times. He ran the car for one season before selling the car turn-key for $2,500 to Joe Peluso who ran it for a few more years...  car has remained more or less intact and changed hands several times since...  is currently being restored for nostalgia funny car action. (Photo and info courtesy of Ron Walsh via "Mr. 392")


From Iowa in 1976 came Tom Hovland's Vega. Car was ex-Don Prudhomme, ex-Tom Hoover car that was reportedly the last Lil' John Buttera car built. Hovland got his start in nitro floppers in the early 70s at the wheel of an ex-Smith Bros & Fetrow Mustang that he bought after the car was crashed making an exhibition burnout at a circle track in MN. Pictured Vega came next; Hovland ran 6.19 on his first pass in the car but reports "it was downhill from there, although we ran respectably in 77." He ran the car through 78 before selling it locally. He then purchased an ex-Hoover Corvette, ran the car for a season before crashing the car hard in 79...  ironically while racing Hoover. Hoover purchased the remains of the car, had Don Ness rebuild the car, then sold the car back to Hovland after Hoover's new car was finished. Called "Main Attraction" Hovland ran the car for a couple more seasons...  stepped up his last season winning 3 AHRA events and finishing 3rd in overall points in 81. He finally called it quits due to the time and $$$$$ involved in the early 80s. (Photo courtesy of Michael Beach, info courtesy of Tom Hovland)


The Ukrainian born Wahlay Brothers, Russell and driver Tony, ran a series of immaculate "Warlord" funny cars out of Cleveland. Cuda bodied, Logghe chassised floppers got the team through the late 60s before they made the swap to Camaro shells to start the 70s...  all cars carried some variation of the very colorful Warlord dragon... and one Cuda even carried jewels for the dragon's eyes. Cudas were AHRA and match race regulars...  by the time the team started fielding Camaros they where pretty much sticking to booked-in and large independent event (i.e. NED 32 car F/C Championship) competition. Team disappeared in the mid-70s... pictured car was then sold to a couple folks from NYC who painted it up in Rustler Steak House colors in approx 76, but no one has any recollection of actually seeing the car run. Rumored to have been a Jungle Jim car before the Wahlay Bros ran it, car today is under restoration in the northeast. (Photo by Steve Heuer)


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