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70s Funny Cars - Round 1
70s Funny Cars - Round 2
70s Funny Cars - Round 3
70s Funny Cars - Round 4
70s Funny Cars - Round 5
70s Funny Cars - Round 6
70s Funny Cars - Round 7
70s Funny Cars - Round 8
70s Funny Cars - Round 9
70s Funny Cars - Round 10
70s Funny Cars - Round 11
70s Funny Cars - Round 12
70s Funny Cars - Round 13
70s Funny Cars - Round 14
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 12: Featuring the Jokerst Bros, the Tulsa Oiler, Johnny White, Stephens & Venables, Don Garlits' Charger, Dick Custy, Terry Hedrick, Radici & Wise, Vels/Parnelli Jones, Riehle & Mayo, Murf McKinney, Jess Tyree, and Mighty Mike Van Sant.


Jim and Jerry Jokerst from St Louis started racing funny cars in the late 60s on the injected UDRA circuit, upgraded to a supercharged nitro burning "Mr. Sinister" Firebird in 69. Another Firebird followed in 70, and a "Mr. Sinister" Camaro through the mid-70s when the Snidely Whiplash Vega was debuted. Name was coined by an AHRA announcer with reference to the "Mr. Sinister" Camaro, and the name was adopted on the Vega. Jokerst's remained Bowtie fans throughout with all the cars Chevy motivated. Brothers were AHRA and IHRA regulars, attended a few NHRA events towards the end of their careers. Jokersts retired in 76 when the expenses of running a nitro flopper became too great. Interestingly, this car sat in their garage for almost 20 years, was sold just 5 years ago! (Photo and info courtesy of Jerry Jokerst)


Ex-Top Gas terror and Tulsa machine shop owner Dick Moritz ran the Tulsa Oiler Mustang in the mid-70s... Moritz was a Top Gas mainstay in Div 4 in late 60s, won 4 straight division titles and was the AA/Gas record holder for a period. Oiler line included the pictured Mustang and a Monza in the late 70s; drivers included Steve Bernd who was a former crew chief for Gary Burgin and Tom McEwen, and Texas alky flopper shoe Jim White who also drove the LA Hooker on tour in Australia in the mid/late 70s and won the 91 NHRA Nationals wheeling the Hawaiian. Name change followed for the car as the decade came to an end...  nice looking line of St. Moritz floppers followed the Oiler line. Cars ran through the late 80s with Mopar and Chevy shells. (Photo by Jim White...  no, not THAT Jim White!)


From Division 4, the "Land of the Good Guys," came Johnny White and the Houston Hustler. White came to floppers from sprints cars and circle track racing in the late 60s, cut his teeth with the White & Calloway Mustang flopper in the early 70s before taking over the reins of Albert Reida's "Dodge Fever." In 73 White bought the LA Hooker Mustang from the Beaver Bros, ran the car two seasons before it burned to the ground in the summer of 75. White reemerged with pictured F/C for 76, a car previously campaigned by Cecil Lankford which was one of the last cars built by Lil' John Buttera before he gave up building race cars to build street rods. White's first NHRA national event victory came at 77 Cajuns Nationals with the Mustang II. White remained an NHRA Division and National Event regular, closed out the decade with a Corvette bodied Houston Hustler which carried him into the 80s. (Photo by John Shanks)


The Stephens & Venables Quicksilver Vega, circa 1975. Longtime campaigners in Texas top fuel wars, the team got into flopper racing after wealthy Texan Roy Cullen (of the Houston Cullens) built this Romeo Palamides car for alky F/C racing, then decided funny cars weren't his thing after a few shakedown passes. Car retained Vega body through it's first year, was later reshelled as a Monza after the Vega was damaged at Green Valley. Following damage to the Monza body, car was fitted with a Charger shell, primered and sold. After their 2 year detour into funny car racing (during which time the team still occasionally ran their T/F car) Stephens & Venables returned to their T/F roots with another in the long line of beautiful Quicksilver cars before calling it quits in 1980. (Photo and info courtesy of Dick Venables via Gary Osborn)


Evolved from the Gold Digger Mustang came the short-lived Gary Bolger driven Don Garlits/Bud Richter Charger from 1971. Car was the Mustang rebodied with a Charger shell after Ira Lichtey along with the Chicagoland Dodge dealers put the deal together. Dealers were suppose to pay for the body, paint, and tin while Garlits lent his name to the project for a percentage of each appearance. Deal didn't work out too well (it's a long story) and following a stormy 2 month "honeymoon" the deal fell through. Gold Digger Mustang body went back on the car and the Charger body was sold to Tom Hoover. Above photo was taken at Thompson Dragway in the summer of 71 at one of the car's last appearances. (Photo by Charles Gilchrist, info courtesy of Gary Bolger)


The Kansas Kid, Dick Custy is shown in his last funny car, circa 1976. Custy cut his teeth racing T/F cars in the rare air of Colorado in the 60s, stepped up to F/C racing in 1970 with a Challenger run under the Whitted and Custy banner. Cuda bodied car followed after a move to the mid-west, but car burned at St Louis, was replaced by Billy Meyer's "flying submarine" Mustang. Custy went solo with the Mustang after partner Whitted retired, later rebodied the car in the pictured Monza shell. He confined his activities to AHRA, match racing, and the Coke Cavalcade circuit (in 76), led the AHRA points chase for a period in 75. Following a fire with the Monza at the 76 OCIR Manufacturers Championship, Custy called it quits and retired! (Photo and info courtesy of Dick and Diane Custy)


From the early 70s comes the Camaro of Terry Hedrick of "Super Shaker" fame. Car was Hedrick's 69 Chevy powered Nova reshelled (and Chrysler powered) after blower explosion destroyed the former. Unfortunately, pictured car was destroyed at Rockingham in fall of 71 and Terry ended up with bad burns. He teamed with Kosty Ivanof on the Super Shaker Vega for the 72 season and for the 73 season, debuted an ill-fated Pro Stock Colt... soon after he retired from drag racing due to increasing family and business commitments. Terry reports he "raced approximately 80 - 85 races a season, as high as 5 nights a week and put about 175,000 miles on my transporter." Fondest memories included "... a number of AHRA national event wins and being the first Chevrolet powered (with the Nova) car to run in the 6's and 200 mph." (Photo and info courtesy of Terry Hedrick)


One of the most popular teams of the 70s was St Louis based Radici and Wise from Wise Speed Shop, circa 1974. Driver Paul Radici was known by a series of nicknames... but perhaps the most popular was "Wrong Way." Legend has it that he managed to miss the freeway off ramp to Fremont Raceway 6 times in one morning to earn the nickname! One anonymous funny car driver stated "Cardinal rule for me was always let Radici do his burnout first, reason get him out there where you can keep an eye on him. Besides who wanted to miss the show?" Team held the NHRA 1/8 mile record in the mid-70s at 4.52/176. "The Good Guys" were NHRA regulars, match race favorites and Coke Cavalcade campaigners in the mid-70s. In the late 70s, Al Hoffman bought the teams entire inventory at an estate sale and began his flopper career in late 79 while Radici went on to drive Al Kudos "Orient Express" Arrow. (Photo from Kendall handout courtesy of David Hapgood)


Ex-Mickey Thompson shoe Danny Ongais drove this ex-Mazmanian Cuda for Parnelli Jones and business partner Vel Miletich in 73. Firestone supported the effort as a test bed for new tire compounds. Mazmanian had hired Ongais to shoe the high dollar flopper, but sold the car to Jones after success eluded the team. Shortly thereafter Ongais guided the car to two quick SoCal F/C show wins much to Maz's chagrin. Other Vel's Parnelli Jones racing efforts during the same period included a Ongais driven T/F entry, a Trans-Am Mustang, an Off-Road Bronco driven by Jones, and a three car Indy car effort spearheaded by Al Unser... and a Mario Andretti driven F-1 car in 75. Definitely not a bucks down group! (Photo courtesy of Dave Milcarek)


The Ken Riehle shoed ex-CKC Riehle & Mayo Nova pictured at Miami-Hollywood Dragway in Jan 72. During the winter months of the early 70s the track hosted once a month, open 16 car, 2 day meets that benefited teams like R&M. According to Ben Brown (Ben Brown on Funny Cars, Car Craft), local teams were able to get much needed "ink" to help with upcoming season bookings when the touring pros retreated to the West Coast for the winter. This left shows like Miami's open to "locals" and a few regional "hitters." Unfortunately, Riehle failed to get into the show on this particular day; field was dominated by Richard Tharp and the "Blue Max" who defeated the Jokerst Bros "Mr. Sinister" Camaro in the final. Other "local color" included the "Climax" Mustang, Dennis Kirkland's Pinto and Paul Aray's "Illusion" Maverick. (Photo Courtesy of Carl Wilcox)


The Goodman & McKinney "Indy Challenger" Arrow started life in 78 as the Goodman & Spitzer BB/FC entry being campaigned by the Div 3 former Comp Eliminator standouts. Following a crash in 78, car was upgraded to AA/FC standards and in 79 Murf McKinney replaced Spitzer as a partner. Prior to this ride "future chassis builders to the stars" McKinney had been kicking around Div 3 in the nitro flopper ranks...  drove an ex-Doug's Headers Vega, captured his first NHRA "title" at 76 Div 3 opener with the car, finished 7th in Div 3 in 78 at wheel of his own "Kentuckiana" Monza and did time at the wheel of the Golden Nugget Monza before jumping into this ride to close out the 70s. (Photo by Michael Beach)


Charter member of the Coke Cavalcade of Stars and one of the first flopper to tour "down under" (in 69)...  ex-West Coast header manufacturer Jess Tyree. Known as "Mr. Pontiac" (a nickname acquired in the 60s with a number of record holding Pontiac S/S cars) Tyree ran a series of Firebird bodied floppers starting in the mid/late 60s. Pictured car was campaigned in the early 70s by Tyree, driven during the 72 season by David Ray. According to Ray "...  car was one of the few Hardy cars with the wide chassis, but the digger roll cage." Ray revamped the car for the 72 season, installed a 484 Chevy with Dan Geare modified Enderle injector and fuel pump, Lenco transmission, etc., and reports the car "...  ran good after tossing the first two blowers, best of 6.82, but it was hopeless outdated...  I just matched raced it, and ran some AHRA Midwest shows." (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories, info courtesy of David Ray)


Descended from the long line of Invader floppers came "Mighty Mike" Van Sant's "Invader" Monza pictured at St Louis Intl Raceway in the late 70s. Van Sant wheeled the Invader Corvette in the late 60s, did a short stint at the wheel of M/T's monocoque Mustang, drove several of the Stone, Woods & Cooke entries and wheeled the Hawaiian in 74. He then acquired the Stone, Woods & Cooke Mustang and shortly thereafter renamed the car Invader. Van Sant was an AHRA regular in the mid/late 70s, won the 76 AHRA Winternationals at Tucson. In early 77 Van Sant debuted the pictured Monza. He continued with the Invader line through the mid-80s...  (Photo by Don Eckert)


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