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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 28: Featuring Dean Dillon’s Gambler Corvette, Ray & Shirley Strasser’s Insanity Charger, Bill Chapelle’s Red Bandit Monza, the Souter Bros. Monza, the Iversen & Kimble Monza, Lee Beard’s Competition Specialties Mustang II, the Pierce and Lane Phoenix Camaro, the Westerlund and Luppy Tom & Jerry Mustang II, the Condit Bros. Arrow, and the Trillo Bros. & Tate T n T Monza.


Dean Dillon raced out of Phoenix, Arizona, with this Corvette in the early 70’s. “Dillon’s Gambler” was like many a low-budget operation. The team made up for their low budget with a very professional appearance. The car was well kept with highly polished Halibrand mags. The body was primer free, too. The team also dressed in matching team shirts. The chassis looked to homebuilt but the team ran a 392 Chrysler Hemi. The way for teams to last during this time without a lot of money was to not hurt parts. They also had to run races where there was money up front. This kept most out of the open shows. “Dillion’s Gambler” did not make the transition from space frame chassis to the modern chassis and retired after the 1970 season. (Photo by Mike Ditty; info from Draglist files)


Ray & Shirley Strasser are the epitome of the never say die attitude that other racers like. The low-buck team raced the “Insanity” funny car series from 1973 to 1992. The team’s first funny car is pictured here in late seventies at Orange County. The chassis was home built and the body was an old ‘Hawaiian” body purchased from Roland Leong. A cast-iron Hemi appears between the frame rails at this point. Rick Williamson was the usual driver of the Charger, but Ron Fassl is driving at this race. A new Challenger body replaced the aging Charger body in 1979. The team raced three more funny cars before retiring in 1992.

The Strassers faced such adversity as a completely destroyed car in 1986 and a new body being outlawed in 1987. They used drivers such as Rich Williamson, Ron Fassl, Gary Ritter, Lorry Azevedo, Wally Giavia, Dave Uyehara, Richard Hartman, and possibly a few more we may have left out. Ray Strasser returned to racing for a couple of years as David Baca’s partner on an A/FD. Baca’s 5.22 time was the fastest ever for the class. Strasser retired again after Baca went on to Top Fuel. (Photo from Mike Ditty; info from Draglist files)


Bill Chapelle raced several funny cars in the seventies. His rides included the “Life in the Fast Lane” Vega as a hired driver. A Mustang named the “Invader” was next, followed by the “High Flyer” with Carl Bottenger. The “Red Bandit” Monza was built in 1977. The car was seen at match races mostly but hit the occasional national event or divisional race. Chapelle moved from Missouri to Florida at this time. Best times for the “High Flyer” according to crewmember Bret Kepner were a 6.54, 221 clocking. Chapelle finished out the decade with a new Monza called the Fugitive. He has been retired from funny car racing since 1980. (Photo from Mike Ditty; info from Bret Kepner and Draglist files)


Donnie Souter and the Souter Bros. were more famous for their Top Fuelers. In 1979, the Houston, Texas, based team built this Monza flopper. The team also departed from the all-black paint scheme for a short while. The blue & black lettering on white paint scheme was soon replaced by their traditional gold leaf lettering on black. The team kept close to home with the Monza racing mainly in Division 4 and match races. Donnie Souter returned to Top Fuel in 1980. He finished his career at the wheel of the semi-streamlined “Good Vibrations.” (Photo from Mike Ditty; info from Bret Kepner and Draglist files)


Iversen & Kimble had a short career in the nitro ranks in the late 70s. John Kimble and Bruce Iversen, both natives of Compton, California, had raced Top Fuel and alcohol funny car by themselves. Kimble was a contractor and Iversen built fiberglass bodies. The two joined forces with this sleek gold and black Iversen Monza. The team had Jake Johnston driving at Bakersfield in 1978. Johnston, fresh from the Pisano & Matsubara Monza, got a 6.59 out of the car. The team later split up. Kimble went back to his fueler and Iversen went back to alcohol funny cars. Iversen would return to nitro for a short time in 1982. Johnston would retire from driving. (Photo from Mike Ditty, info from Draglist files)


Lee Beard is known as a famous tuner for people such as Gary Ormsby, Whit Bazemore, Bruce Sarver, and others. But in the 1970s, he was the driver instead of the tuner. He had driven Top Fuelers such as John Foderado’s car and his own B&B Racing dragster. Beard received an offer from Jerry Ruth to take over his Mustang II. Ruth had raced fuelers and funnies at the same races since 1969. Lee Beard taking over the driving and tuning of the Mustang II freed Ruth to run his dragster. Beard basically ran the car free of Ruth over the next couple of years. He was a regular in Division Five races for the next four years. Beard ran times in the six-second range in the Mustang II. By 1980, Beard retired from driving to tune Ruth’s dragster full time. (Photo from Mike Ditty; info from Draglist files)


Chris Lane was one of the best funny car racers in the Southwest in the mid seventies. There were two “Phoenix” funny cars that Pierce and Lane raced. Chris Lane had teamed with Joe Pierce in 1974 to build the first “Phoenix” Cuda. Pierce had run the ”Elephant Hunter” funny cars with Ron Fassl. The Cuda ran a best of 6.49, 227 by 1975. The team built the Camaro in 1976. The team won several local races with the Camaro.

Pierce and Lane added local AA/FA racer Mac McCord as a partner in 1977. In late 77, they took the Camaro to Australia and New Zealand. There they and the “L.A. Hooker” raced the best Aussies and Kiwis had to offer. The team sold the Camaro to Bob Dunn and split up. Chris Lane drove the Powers Steel Camaro after returning to the U.S. and later drove the “Desert Rat” in the late eighties. Pierce continued to tune for other racers. (Mike Ditty Photo; info from Draglist files)


The “Tom & Jerry Luppy” Mustang II of Westerlund and Luppy was a venerable match race funny car from the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties. Paul Luppy had been a partner in the Luppy & Rae Corvette and was very successful in the Northwest match race scene in the first half of the decade. Luppy teamed with tuner Hal Westerlund to run the new Mustang II. The car ran the Donovan Hemi but used the Crower injector. The Crower, also used by the Bubble Up/Pacemaker team and Johnny Loper, had a reputation for being tricky. Luppy got the car into the sixes in Northwest match races. The car made appearances usually at Seattle’s 64 Funny Car Show. It was there the Mustang II was parked after a severe fire. (Photo from Mike Ditty; info from Draglist files)


The Condit Bros. are best remembered as half of the famed “L.A. Hooker” team with Gene Beaver. The team split up in the late seventies with Gene Beaver retaining the “L.A. Hooker” name. The Condit Bros. built this stunning 1978 Arrow. The car was built by Steve Plueger and featured a 480 Keith Black engine for power. The car was a contender for best appearing at any race it entered. The car’s known best time was a 6.19, 237 according to Draglist files. The team raced this car with a new Charger body after selling the Arrow body to New Zealander Garth Hogan. They also reunited with Gene Beaver as the “L.A. Hooker” and raced until the end of 1984. (Photo from Mike Ditty, info from Draglist files and Garth Hogan)


The “T n T” Monza was a partnership between the Trillo Bros. and Don Tate. The Trillo Bros. raced top fuel, funny car, and fuel altereds out of Northern California for almost 20 years. The brothers had purchased the infamous “Brutus” GTO and destroyed the car in an accident. Jim Trillo, who did the driving, moved on to Top Fuel with his brother. The team raced for several years with lackluster results, then bought Mike Sullivan’s Fiat and went fuel altered racing. Don Tate joined the team as a sponsor of the Fiat at first. The team went funny car racing in 1978 again with this Monza.

Tate was now a full partner with the building of the new car. The team raced as a funny car and as a fuel altered with a 23T body. The team’s debut at Pomona was eventful when the fuel tank exploded into a ball of flame. The car ran mid-sixes at best. The car was renamed the Super Star and crashed by Trillo in 1980. This was the end of the team’s partnership. Tate went on his own in 1981 with a three-car team. The Monza was rebuilt as a top alcohol funny car. Tate’s Horizon, shoed by Craig Epperly, won the 1981 NHRA Springnationals. The team dissolved at the end of the year. The Trillo Bros. returned to AA/FA in the mid-eighties with their own 23T. (Photo from Mike Ditty, info from Draglist files)


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