Previous Qualifiers #3:
Time for more looks back at different versions of cars and drivers we've
This was Jerry Gitthens’ last funny car, but partner Jerry Jefferson's first.
The Vega as pictured was formerly run by Elvis Humphreys and Jerry Gitthens. In
1976, Jerry Jefferson replaced Humphreys in the partnership after racing Pro
Comp in ‘74 and ‘75. Gitthens lasted half the season before quitting due to
rising costs and being burned out. Jefferson finished the year on his own. In
1977, Jefferson teamed with Elvis Humphrey on a short-lived Top Fueler. In 1978,
Jefferson built the first of his Oklahoma Land Rush series of funny cars. (Jim
White Photo; info from Draglist.com and Phil Elliott)
The Qu Voe Charger was Ed O'Brien's most successful funny car. He began racing
funny cars with the ex-Magical Mystery Tour ‘68 Barracuda, a former Chi-Town
Hustler. O'Brien built this car in 1971 with sponsorship from the Qu Voe Chemical
Company. The Qu Voe Charger won many match races in the Midwest. The Charger ran
a tough 6.61 for the car's best times. It was involved in an accident at U.S.
131 when the chutes failed at the end of the track. Paul Stendquist, the car's
tuner, reported that the car was never right after that. The team went on to
race two ill-fated Fever Vettes and the Chicago Patrol Mustang in 1976 before
retiring (see below). (Drag Racing Memories photo)
This is a perfect example of mid-seventies funny car: low, well, very low! The
lay-down chassis was popular with fans but rough on drivers’ backs. The cars
got progressively lower as the ‘70s went along in attempt to cheat the wind.
Kenney Goodell raced the Beaverton Dodge Dart in 1976, seen here at Seattle. The
Action Man was very tough to beat and a fan favorite. (Photo by Larry Pfister)
Wayne Stoeckel's nitro career only lasted a couple of years in 1977 and 1978. He
had been a very successful AA/DA racer in Pro Comp. The car had an Iversen Monza
body and a late model Hemi. Shown is one of the car's two paint jobs. Stoeckel
gave up nitro racing to return to alcohol racing, but with funny cars. He
continued to race the Boogie Man series of alky floppers into the late nineties.
(Mike Ditty photo)
This rare shot shows Steve Hodkinson’s first AA/FC in 1976 at an early season
match race. Hodkinson had just begun his funny car career in this used Vega. The
Vega body was gone by mid-season and replaced by a new Monza. Hodkinson replaced
this car in 1977 with the Spirit of ‘76 Vega. He raced into the late ‘80s in
Top Fuel and AA/FC as a hired driver and on his own. (Photo by Jim White)
The Shakey Pinto was Ron Williams' first AA/FC. The clean Pinto used a cast-iron
Hemi for power and was a match racing regular on the West Coast in 1973. The car
ran over 200 MPH. Williams and sometime partner Dell Schirmer raced this car for
several years, going through many updates and new bodies along the way. The final
Shakey Corvette funny car was run in 1982 with this Pinto body held in
reserve. (Photo by Larry Pfister)
Very few cars go through as many owners and drivers and still retain the
original name as did the Chicago Patrol. It was built in 1974 by the famed
Chapman Automotive team. They raced it with a cast-iron stroker 426 Hemi that
was later replaced by a Donovan Hemi. The team used Ron Colson, Pat Foster and
Dale Pulde as drivers. Pulde had the best times in the car with a good 6.20
elapsed time using the 426 Hemi. Pulde said the Donovan was nowhere near as good
as the 426. G&B Automotive bought the car next and put Ed O'Brien behind the
wheel. O'Brien raced the car in 1976, running a best of 6.80 and a gathering
garage full of broken parts, forcing his retirement. Fred Goeske bought the car
next as a second team car. Tom Anderson drove it in 1977 and later Gordon Mineo
took a turn after he wrecked his own car. Goeske converted to car to rocket
power when nitro racing became too expensive. (Photo by Mike Ditty; info from
Americans were celebrating the bicentennial in 1976. Funny car owner Dickie
Williams did his part by naming his Vega the Spirit of ‘76 for the year. The
car was built by Tony Casarez and had a Keith Black Hemi for power. The car's
best time was a reported 6.24 at Green Valley Race City's AHRA Nationals.
There were several novelties about Larry Fullerton's Galpin Ford Maverick.
Besides using the homely stock style Maverick body, it featured chrome bumpers,
taillights, and an antenna! The SOHC powered Galpin Ford was not very successful
and was replaced by a new Trojan Horse Mustang in 1971 that became Fullerton's
best funny car. (Drag Racing Memories Photo)
Pee Wee Wallace was the Northeast's best funny car racer in the mid seventies.
He won the Division One Championship three times in a row for three different
teams. Pee Wee built the Virginian Monza in 1976. The car featured the rare
Monza body with the Can-Am flares. After it caught fire at the Springnationals
in Columbus, a Vega body was rushed into service to replace the charred Monza.
Best elapsed time for Wallace's Monza was a 6.42 with a cast-iron stroker Hemi.
(James Morgan photo)
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