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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 36. Featuring East Coast funny cars, including Marsh Bagg, Clark Balsinger, Western Bunns, Freddy DeName, Billy “Cigar” Holt, the Hartsoe Bros., Bobby Moore, Donnie Plunkett, “The Hillbillies,” and Roy Wickard.


Marsh Bagg was a low buck racer from the Northeast in the seventies. Before driving funny cars Marsh, short for Marshall, raced gas and injected nitro dragsters. In 1976, he drove the “Purple Magic “ funny and then got his own. The “Aquarius” Cuda had a 392 Chrysler Hemi for power and was good for low-sevens. Bagg raced only in the Northeast in local races and match races. A Monza replaced the Cuda in the late seventies. (Steve Bell photo; info from Bret Kepner)


Clark Balsinger’s funny car career only lasted a couple of years in the mid-seventies. The West Virginian began racing this Tony Casarez built Vega in 1974. The car originally had a 392 Chrysler for power but later received an Ed Pink stroker Hemi. Balsinger raced this Vega in NHRA Division 2 races, IHRA national events, and southeastern match races. Clark made it to the finals of the Snowbirds at DeSoto in 1975. Balsinger had retired to pursue other business opportunities by 1976, according to his classified ad in National Dragster. (Photo from 70s FC files; info Draglist files)


Western Bunns is one of handful of African Americans to race funny cars during the seventies. None other than Malcolm Durham trained him to drive in this Nova. Bunns was a semi-regular on the East Coast for the next several years. Western was mainly a match racer. Just as his mentor had done, Bunns used Chevrolet rat power in his cars. A new Vega replaced the Nova in 1974. Bunns crashed the Vega in 1978. The accident broke several bones, effectively ending Western’s funny car career. (Dennis Doubleday photo; info from Draglist files)


Freddy DeName was probably the most controversial funny car racer of all time due to his well documented off track business activities. We won’t talk about that side of “Broadway Freddy” here. This Camaro had to be DeName’s best-known funny car, shot at the ill-fated 1974 “PRO Nationals” held on Long Island. In promoting this race, DeName pulled off a great stunt. While displaying the car at Coney Island, Fred decided to do a highly illegal burnout, in public, right next to the roller coaster. Norman Blake caught the moment on film and got it into the magazines. DeName raced funny cars until 1977. (Photo courtesy of Ted Pappacena; info from Draglist files)


There was another funny car named Billy Holt besides the one who raced the “Alabamian” series of funny cars. Billy “Cigar” Holt raced out of Georgia. In the early seventies, Holt drove “The Butcher” Torino with partner Billy Campbell. Campbell owned the “Goldenrod” series of funny cars. Campbell and Holt bought the “Coleman’s Super Torino” as a match race companion to the ‘Goldenrod.” The large Torino was called “The Butcher” because Holt owned a butcher shop. The team raced the car for a couple of years in match races on southern tracks. Holt went back to sportsman racing after the “Butcher” was sold. (Photo by Billy “Cigar” Holt provided by David Dilbeck and www.georgiadragracing.com; info from Billy ‘Cigar” Holt and David Dilbeck)


The Hartsoe Bros. raced out of the Carolinas in the mid-seventies. Elmer and Gwyn had raced an Anglia AA/GS until 1973 before stepping up to AA/FC with a Chevrolet Vega in 1974. The team kept their Chevrolet Rat power in new car, and Charles Lee was hired to drive. Lee had previously driven a couple of A/FCs like the “All American” AMC funny car on the East Coast Funny Car Circuit. The Hartsoe Bros. and Lee raced mainly on the IHRA circuit and match races. The car ran in the six-second range until 1976. In 1977, the Hartsoe Bros. built a new Monza, but stuck with Chevy power. Donnie Plunkett was hired to drive, and the team made it to one final before splitting up. The Hartsoes later switched to NASCAR racing. (Photo from JW Last archives; info from Draglist files)


Bobby Moore was one of the last racers to run a blown nitro Pontiac powered funny car. By the 1970s, the Gay Bros., Arnie Beswick, and other diehard Poncho racers had switched engine brands or quit outright. Tim Kushi and Bobby Moore built the “Dos Hombres” in 1968. Power for the GTO came from a 421 Pontiac on low doses of nitro. Moore said it was never more than 50 percent. That, and the non-breathing heads, kept the best times in the 7.80 range. According to Moore, the car did get into the fours in the eighth mile. Moore said he quit in 1970 because of the costs involved of racing a nitro funny car. (William Holmes photo thanks to Bob Rice; info from Dennis Doubleday)


Donnie Plunkett began racing funny cars in 1973 after racing dragsters for almost 10 years. Plunkett and partner Frank Meinel bought the “Funny Gremlin” from Lou Azar. The car was totally redone and renamed the “Mischief Maker.” Frank Meinel narrowed the frame and redesigned the front suspension. Plunkett and Meinel also built a poor man’s wind tunnel to fix the Gremlin’s aerodynamic stability problems.

The team raced the car from ‘73 to ’76, mostly in the Southeast at IHRA national events, NHRA Division 2 races, and match races. The team ran both cast iron and aluminum Keith Black Hemis. Best times for the team were in the 6.50 range at 220 MPH. They were never big winners, but were popular due to the unique Gremlin body. The team parked the car after the 1976 season due to rising costs and the change of IHRA from 16 car fields to 8 car fields. Donnie Plunkett went on to drive the Hartsoe Bros.’ Monza for a few races in 1977 before retiring from driving drag cars forever. (Photo from Delmas Brown; info from Donnie Plunkett, Frank Meinel, and Timothy Plunkett)


“The Hillbillies” was the teaming of Memphis, Tennessee, racing trio Gary Henderson, Bobby Rowe, and T.B. Smallwood. Each team member had raced many funny cars before this collaboration. Memphis was a hotbed of funny car racing in the late 60s and early 70s. The “Super Cuda,” “Super Duster,” and others were based out of the River City. The Hillbillies car was built in 1974 and Bobby Rowe drove for the team. Henderson began to drive the rebuilt “Super Duster” in BB/FC. The “Hillbillies” Vega also switched to the cheaper alcohol in 1975. (Photo handout courtesy of J.W Last files; info from Draglist files)


Roy Wickard raced this beautiful 1977 Arrow funny car for a short time in 1979. The 1977 Arrow was purchased from Ed McCulloch, after Ed ran out of money to run his own team. The car was built in 1977 as the “Revellution.” Ed had car the repainted after receiving the American Home Shield sponsorship in 1978. The new sponsorship deal only lasted a year. Ed had to find new funding for 1979. Bill Carter of Carter Pro Paints came up with a little money and also gave the car this stunning new paint job, but the Ed was able to race the car only three more times under Carter Pro Paints banner. Ed sold the car to unknown Wickard. Roy painted over the Carter Pro Paints banner with the new “Yankee Rebel” lettering. Wickard is shown here getting his license at Englishtown. He did not race much longer and soon retired. (Steve Bell photo; info from Draglist files)


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