Blasts From the Past: The Winged Express, Nostalgia Dragsters and Funny Cars Showcased at 2009 Kragen OReilly NHRA Winternationals
- - Winged Express fuel altered will make exhibition passes in Pomona
01.30.09/02.04.09 NHRA, FlA & Co. - The famed Winged Express fuel altered of Al "Mousie" Marcellus and driver Mike Boyd, one of the most recognizable cars in the sport's history, will make exhibition runs Saturday and Sunday at the Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals in conjunction with a series of exhibition runs by cars from NHRA's Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series. The Winged Express, originally driven to great fame by the late "Wild Willie" Borsch, recently was voted the top exhibition car in an online poll of NHRA.com visitors and was ranked second overall among all cars from drag racing history. Four Nostalgia Top Fuel cars and four Nostalgia Funny Cars also will make runs both days.
Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragsters and Nostalgia Funny Cars from the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series also will make scheduled runs Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the cars will be featured between the pro qualifying sessions. On Sunday, they are scheduled to appear between the semifinals and final round of pro eliminations.
Headlining the Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragsters will be Troy Green, driver of the High Speed Motorsports dragster that won the season championship last year in the Heritage Series. He will be joined by Rick White, driver of the Neil & White dragster, and Brendan Murry, who pilots a unique Chevy-powered dragster. Those cars are front-engine dragsters that reach speeds of 250 mph and produce elapsed times in the 5.7- and 5.8-second range.
Veteran racer Mendy Fry leads the Nostalgia Funny Car entries. She will be driving the popular Bombsquad Funny Car that is owned by Mike McCain and tuned by legendary crew chief Roland Leong. Jeff Utterback will drive the Pisano & Matsubara 1960s and 70s tribute car that is owned by Danny Pisano. The Crazy Horse Hot Wheels Mustang will be driven by Ryan Kono, and the Little Nate Funny Car will be driven by Nate Bugg.
In addition to the exhibition runs, officials from the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series and the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California will host a large display of vehicles from the Parks NHRA Museum and cars that have participated in NHRA Cacklefests in a special exhibit in the NHRA Nitro Alley.
FlA Says: Johns finally back to his old self after his horrendous accident at the 07 Fall Nationals in Dallas. From watching the video, he was very funny at the legends panel discussion at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum Feb 5, 2009 fundraiser. When I talk to John at the track, usually during early testing or first round qualifying when things are slow, Im always surprised how different he is away from the crowds and television cameras. Hes really an outstanding guy. Im looking forward to seeing him at the Gatornationals, Gainesville. Sponsorship issues are hurting John Force Racing, but not as bad as other teams. Currently John is having to fund some of the costs out of his own pocket to run four NHRA Championship racing teams. Johns new funny car and colors are snappy. Notice the cars new aerodynamic effects. With the Pomona rain and bad weather John had lots of time to sign autographs. <> Heres a good Feb 4, 2009 interview with John. It was conducted by a representative of Ford Motor Racing, so theres understandable bias, but its still a good read.
02.10.09: John Force Racing Pomona Final Report
02.01.09: John Force Enjoys and Thrills Fans at Super Bowl | Video: John Force Superbowl Interview
01.02.09: John Force Racing Renews Sponsor
11.16.08: Force of Nature Video: What Will John Do In The Offseason?
Great thread! and I wish they would return to 1/4 mile racing. How do I get on a ping list.
Views differ on different racing distances
By Nathan Hague and Dave Rogers
The Baytown Sun
Published March 20, 2010
Earlier this week, Houston Raceway Park general manager Seth Angel issued a nationally-distributed press release calling for the National Hot Rod Association to return to the traditional quarter-mile distance for all its races.
Then he turned his track over to the American Drag Racing League, which is running this weekends Dragpalooza VI and all its races — at half that length, one-eighth of a mile.
Angel said it was an unplanned coincidence that he chose this week to speak out against the NHRAs 2008 decision to shorten races in its two fastest classes, the nitromethane-fueled Top Fuel and Funny Car, from one-quarter of a mile (1,320 feet) to 1,000 feet.
The NHRA cited safety concerns caused by the 2008 death of Scott Kalitta, whose Funny Car crashed into a concrete retaining wall at the end of a New Jersey drag strip after its braking parachutes failed to open.
Angel said the racing fans he has talked to have made it clear they want a return to the quarter-mile races.
“We’re gearing up for the 23rd annual OReilly NHRA Spring Nationals (April 9-11) and I’ve been jumping in and helping our staff with ticket sales over the phone and I can say without question that our fans want the NHRA to return to the quarter-mile, he said. They tell us this over and over again.
NHRA has been working on other ways to reduce horsepower and top speeds, but has said the new 1,000-foot distance will remain in place through the 2010 season.
Their main goal always is safety, and its important we support them at this time, Angel stated in the release. However, the first rule of customer service is listening to your customers and the vast majority are telling us they want quarter-mile racing. We must ... return to the quarter mile as soon as it is feasibly possible.
Drivers and members of their support crews in town for the ADRL Dragpalooza offered their perspectives.
John Montecalvo of John Montecalvo Racing says his crew enjoys the eighth-mile races.
Its a lot of fun, he said. It takes some time to get used to it, but once you do, its great. Its great for the spectators and it allows them to sit anywhere.
Montecalvo said the biggest difference is the safety it has on the drivers.
Chad Hester, member of the pit crew for Rickie Smith Racing, said theres not much of a difference between the two races.
We run both, Hester said. The biggest difference is that in the quarter-mile, youre pouring all your power into it and leaning on the engine more. That can affect the (car) parts.
Hester agreed the eighth-mile race tends to be a tad bit safer.
When youre going at such high speeds, it gets pretty dangerous, he said. You dont have that quite as much in the eighth-mile race.
Greg Lair from Amarillo, owner of Greg Lair Racing, prefers the quarter-mile race from a drivers perspective but said the difference between that of a quarter-mile and an eighth-mile race is bigger than most people might think.
Im not big on the eighth-mile, personally, he said. But the safety issue is serious, he said. I think maybe some of the drivers wives and families dont want them to race in it because of that. Its a fun challenge but you have to be careful.
Angel said because of how valuable the fans are, he wants to give them what they want, but doesnt want to do anything that might risk safety.
We poll our fans calling in, Angel said. Theyve made it loud and clear thats what they want. Thats what we want. Our race is in a month and I feel obligated on behalf of our fans to let their opinion be known.
“We’re all for safety,” Angel said. “Nothing is more important than the well being of the drivers and the fans. We have always supported the NHRA in its ongoing search for solutions.