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70s Funny Cars - Round 15
70s Funny Cars - Round 16
70s Funny Cars - Round 17
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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 19: Featuring Wild Wilfred Boutilier, Gitthens & Humphrey, Joe Clement, Keeling & Clayton, Jeff Courtie, Wendall White, Nelson Carter, the Super Duster, Earl Binns VooDoo Pinto, Mart Higginbotham, Gas Ronda, Frank Federici, and the Southern Bros.


Whatever happened to "Wild Wilfred" Boutilier? One of the early heavy hitters in Pro Comp, in 74 Wild Wilfred won the first Pro Comp event at Irwindale, ran 6.98 in the process with his BB/FC Vega to become the first Pro Comp car in the 6s. Vega eventually gave way to a Mustang II, and he moved from CA to GA in 75. Pictured Arrow debuted in 76, was his Mustang II rebodied and lengthened. With the pictured entry Boutilier would step up to nitro (15 to 20%) from alcohol at selected NHRA divisional events or IHRA races to get into the nitro F/C show, then go back to running alcohol. By the late 70s Wilfred was confining his activities to southern match-races against touring nitro pros...  but interestingly doing it on alcohol. He finally called it quits in 82 due to the $$$ involved. Arrow was sold to an individual in MO. (Photo and Info courtesy of Wilfred Boutilier)


Mid-way through the Gitthens & "Partner" line of floppers came the Elvis Humphrey driven Gitthens & Humphrey Vega circa 74/75. Campaigned out of Oklahoma, the "Indian Country" Vega took R/U at 75 AHRA Nationals at Green Valley. Lost in first round to Tom McEwen, got back in on break rule and defeated Bob Taylor's Hemi Hoss Mustang, then defeated Al Vanderwoude in the semi-finals, lost in final to Jim Nicoll's Vega, 6.91/192 to 7.21/208. Line started with the Jerry Gitthens and Joe Allen Camaro funny car which debuted in 68 and was a Midwest/Div 4 regular through the early/mid-70s when the pictured Vega debuted. Following the partnership with Humphrey pictured Vega was run as the Gitthens & Jefferson entry with Jerry Jefferson at the helm. Jefferson eventually split to run his own "Oklahoma Landrush" Arrow in the late 70s while Gitthens teamed up with Jim Roberts on ancient "The Okie" Vega. (Photo courtesy of Don Eckert)


From the Great Northwest came Joe Clement. Joe got his nitro funny car start wheeling the ex-Sopwith Camel Cuda from 73-75, then rebuilt the chassis and put a Monza body on the car. Car was lost to a fire after being campaigned for 3 years...  pictured Vette replaced the Monza. In Clement's words "The Vette was a new piece, a copy of a Swindle car I built in my shop." Pictured car was run from the late 70s into the early 80s when an Omni body was dropped on to the chassis. Omni revived the "Engine Masters" name when, according to Joe "I purchased Engine Masters from Ray Alley after I sold my auto parts and machine shop near Seattle." Joe confined his activities to the West Coast because "...  a very low budget (no budget) keep me close to home." Following a stint in the Sno-Town Shaker Arrow and a Fuel Altered he called it quits, returned last year to the CIFCA circuit with a Tempo bodied car...  2002 plans call for returning to nitro flopper wars?!?! (Photo and info courtesy of Joe Clement)


One of the most immaculate series of funny cars to grace the quarter mile was run by the California based team of John Keeling and Jerry Clayton. Team was known for their "California Charger" T/F car that won the inaugural Supernationals in 70 and held the NHRA et record for a period...  first flopper, a 392 powered Pinto, debuted at Lions 17th Anniversary Race in 71 with Rick Ramsey (also the teams T/F shoe) driving... later gave way to ex-John Hoven flopper driver Tom Ferraro. By 74 team was concentrating strictly on their funny car effort and campaigning the pictured Mustang with ex-Snow shoe Jake Johnston at the wheel. Billy Meyer did a short stint at the helm in 75 as did Pat Foster and Neil Leffler. Car was run through 77 when team debuted a Leffler driven "California Charger" Trans-Am. That car closed out the K&C legacy, ended up competing in European Pro comp wars out of Norway in the early 80s. (Photo by Dave Milcarek)


SoCal regular Jeff Courtie began his F/C career at the wheel of a self-built (as were all his cars) Mustang flopper in 1970. 392 powered Cuda followed in 71...  body on that car was shed at OCIR in 72 following a big wheelstand, lowered Cuda body replaced it and 426 mill was installed in mid-74. On a qualifying pass at the 74 NHRA World Finals quote "I blew the Cuda body into orbit...  switched to pictured Mustang II body for the 1975 season." Courtie was thought of as a "low buck, do it yourself" (all the chassis, alum tin work, body work, mounting, engine, mechanical work, etc.) type racer, yet his floppers were always noted to be as sanitary and competitive as the "big dollar rides" of the era. Jeff reports "I raced up until July of 78, had a good offer to sell the car, (car went to Australia) and with an all volunteer crew it became harder to staff the crew at the races (guys were getting married, starting families, full time jobs, etc.) I also changed jobs in 76, which began taking up more of my time, leaving less time for racing; it was a hard decision to quit..." (Photo by John Shanks, info courtesy of Jeff Courtie)


From Oregon came Wendall White's "Whites Lightning" circa 1975. White had a varied background from racer to track owner...  ran Bonanza Raceway in Walla Walla, WA., during the early 70s prior to going flopper racing. In 74 he purchased the 73 version of Kenny Goodell's F/C, put Goodell in the seat for the 74 season before taking over the reins in 75. Silver and black Demon crashed at Boise Idaho in 77...  chassis was front halved and a Corvette body installed. White campaigned the Vette as a AA car through the 78 season, then converted the car to alcohol for the 79 & 80 seasons due to the escalating cost of nitro racing minus a sponsor. White reports that during his last season on nitro (78) he spent about $60,000 to make $45,000! At the end of the 80 season White sold everything and retired from the funny car ranks. (Photo from Handout courtesy of Jim White, info courtesy of Wendall White)


Starting life as the Imperial Kustoms Charger out of Oklahoma in the late 60s was this 71 version of Nelson Carter's "Super Chief" Charger. Car Craft, Sep 68, reported Super Chief name was a adopted after Carter held a "name the funny car contest" at strips where the car was appearing. Green laced and red/purple multi-hued full size Chargers preceded pictured entry as did a mini-Charger in 70. Among the drivers Carter utilized were original co-owner Ron Perau, Steve Bovan, Dave Beebe, Tim Grose, Bob Pickett. According to photographer Tom West "Last entry had the Okie, Steve Bernd, driving it for it's only outing. It got a little light on the front end, going into a wheelstand at OCIR and the car spun into the guard rail... crash was immortalized in the movie "Funny Car Summer." Carter hung it up after that." Super Chief name reemerged on a Henry Harrison owned/driven Camaro in mid-78, won the Division 7 Funny Car crown. (Photo courtesy of Tom West)


The 1972 version of the Memphis based Bill Taylor and Stanley Wolff "Super Duster" is shown at York US 30. Super Duster name debuted in 1970 at the AHRA Winternationals with a young Bobby Rowe at the wheel who was shoeing a nitro flopper for the first time... 14th pass in the car netted an unreal (for the time) 7.18/203 at the Gatornationals. Don Hardy built car's were a booked in and match race regular for the most part... arguably biggest national event win was the 70 AHRA 1/8 mile championship at St Louis where Rowe had the 16 car field covered with a 4.78 best. Gary Henderson replaced Rowe in the pictured ride and followed into the all red 73 version of the Duster. Following an accident with Billy Grooms at the wheel the car disappeared, although a BB/FC version of the car was campaigned for a period. (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories)


From Iowa came the VooDoo Pinto owned by Ralph Rowe and Al Albright, driven by Earl Binns, circa 1975. Binns came to floppers from T/F were he got his start in 1964 and continued to campaign rails before jumping into this ex-Bill Schifsky Pinto in late 74. Team made one trip west to Irwindale and Bakersfield in early 75 to get Binns his F/C license, then concentrated mostly on mid-west match racing, attended a few divisional events and traveled as far north as Canada and as far east as Detroit for booked in events. In mid-75 VooDoo name was replaced by "Albright & Rowe" on the billboard. Car lost a wheel at the 75 NHRA Nationals, suffered minimal damage, but team chose not to rebuild the Pinto...  car was sold to individual from Des Moines and the team came back in 76 with another T/F effort, but called in quits shortly thereafter due to other commitments. (Photo by John Shanks, info courtesy of Earl Binns)


Carrying the dragon theme was Mart Higginbotham's "Drag-On" Vega pictured here at the rain plagued 73 NHRA Winternationals. Probably one of the few Certified Public Accountants wheeling a funny car, Higginbotham got his start in the late 60s at the helm of Mike Burkhart floppers before striking out on his own in 71 with a Racing Fuels Inc. (RFI) Drag-On Vega; was elected to the Cars Magazine Top Ten Funny Car Drivers of the Year list after his inaugural solo F/C season. Pictured entry was Higgy's third Vega flopper, a 119" inch WB Don Long "laydown" creation that was one of Long's first F/C projects to feature a semi-reclining driver position to help lower the car. Although Higginbotham retired in the mid-70s and a national event win eluded him, he might best be remembered as the money manager for the ill-fated, breakaway Don Garlits lead Professional Racers Organization (PRO) of the early/mid70s. (Photo courtesy of David Ray)


Blasting past the tree at Irwindale in very early 1970 is Gaspar "Gas" Ronda. Ronda was a pioneer on the west coast funny car scene, was first injected funny car driver in the 8's in 66, AHRA driver of the year in 67, won the prestigious 69 OCIR Manufacturers Race running as quickly as 7.26/200 with pictured car. Shortly after this photo Ronda was burned in a blower explosion/oil fire at the AHRA Winternationals and retired from driving. Car was rebuilt and Ronda returned mid-season with his Mustang cloaked with a identically painted 70 shell, wrenched by ex-Mickey Thompson "Blue Mach 1" mechanic Amos Saterlee and driven by former A/FC record holder Dick Poll. Dave Bowman later purchased the Mustang and ran it as the California Stud before building his rear engined Vega panel wagon F/C of the same name in 72. (Photo courtesy of Pat Smith @ Turbos' Racing Photos)


After racing Corvette bodied cars in the "sportsman classes" in the early 60s, Rhode Island's Frank "The Beard" Federici debuted one of the first Corvette bodied funny cars on the east coast in 1967 with a 426 powered "Shark" at the tender age of 21. Car was one of two "competitive" Vette bodied cars on the east coast in the late 60s/early 70s along with the George's Corvette Shop entry. Federici also ran the east coast's only topless Vette (ala Beach City, Gene Conway) for a period... Shark entries didn't seem to suffer the same "crash-itis" as west coast bodied Vettes although this 71 version was lost in a crash at Suffolk. Federici was a match race and open competition regular in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states through the mid-70s...  was known for his occasional wild antics; at a show at Conn. Dragway, he did a quarter mile burnout, pulled the chutes, and did burnouts in front of each set of stands on his way up the return road!! (Photo by Ted Pappacena)


The "Southern Comfort" Vega owned by George and Dan Southern debuted in Div 5 in early 78. George was a firefighter in Denver and drove the car while brother Dan eventually went on to drive the Jungle Fever and Mile High Express nitro floppers in the 80s...  and is still active today as an alcohol flopper shoe. Car is shown at the Div 5 race at Pueblo, Co., in Apr 78. Southern Comfort car didn't venture too far from home, was a Div 5 regular...  car placed 3rd in Div 5 competition in it's inaugural season. In 81 chassis was lengthened and an Omni body replaced the Vega shell. Car was campaigned through 82 as a nitro car before team switched to alcohol. (Photo courtesy of John Bergener, info courtesy of Bob Gibson)


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