Previous Qualifiers #2.
Time for more looks back at different versions of cars and drivers we've
This sharp Vega was the last in the line of Doug’s Headers funny cars. Dick Bourgeois had recently switched from the Chevy to the late model Hemi. This car had the paint molded into the body, like boats. Built by Romeo Palamides, the Vega was a feature car on the Coca-Cola Cavalcade of Stars match race circuit. The car was later sold to Murf McKinney. (Drag Racing Memories Photo; info from draglist)
Ezra Boggs' Vega was a "pure" funny car featuring a Chevy body and power. Boggs raced it from 72–74 after previously driving the Martin Bros. Colt 45 Mustang. This car was good for low sevens before Ezra parked it. Boggs went on to help Bob Pickett with the U.S. Marines Pontiac Grand Am, then returned to driving when he bought the Moby Dick Corvette in 1978 (see Round 2). (Photo and info courtesy of Ezra Boggs)
The Tulsa Oiler Monza was the first step back to respectability for owner Dick Moritz. In the sixties, Moritz had one of the toughest Top Gas dragsters in the country. His fuel funny car career started badly with many fires and
oil downs. The Monza replaced the old Mustang and "Okie" Steve Bernd was hired to drive. Bernd had been a tuner for Tom McEwen and Gary Burgin. He even drove the Super Chief once, but wrecked it. Bernd made it to a couple of finals in the Tulsa Oiler. Jim White replaced Bernd in the driver’s seat. Moritz later switched the team’s name to St. Moritz in the ‘80s. (Photo by Jim White; info from
Dick Custy began his fuel career in dragsters. Custy’s first funny car was this Challenger, fielded with partner. Mark Whitted. The team was still based in Colorado at this time, though they eventually would move to Kansas. This was the second paint job for the car after a fire at Ontario 1970 ruined the first. This car later burned to the ground at Kansas City. A Mustang came next, and then Whitted retired. Custy built a good running Monza (see Round 12), but he retired after another fire. (Pete Garramone photo)
This has to be Gene Snow's most forgotten funny car. Built in 1976, Gene raced in the car in the United States for two years, running a known best of 6.26. The Monza was seldom seen because Snow was building up his oil company at the time. This was Gene’s last car with a Revell sponsorship. Snow took the car to England and sold it to Roy Phelps. The car became The Force driven by Ron Picardo (see Round 21). (Photo by Stephen Nicoll; info from draglist.com)
Do you remember the Pete Rose Supercharg'r candy bar? The company that made the candy bar also sponsored the Orange Baron of Gary Burgin in 1979. The candy bar, like the Reggie bar of Reggie Jackson, was short lived and so was the funny car sponsorship. (Photo by Jim White)
Here is one car that fell to the “Corvette Curse.” The car was successful in open Southern California shows in 1969 and early 1970. "Mighty" Mike Van Sant won several races, running low sevens at 200 MPH plus. Car owner Glenn Solarno took the car on tour and replaced Van Sant with Gary Scow. It was Scow at the wheel when the car burned to the ground at Bryon Dragway. (Photo courtesy of Drag Racing Memories)
Steve Stephens and Dickie Venables’ Monza was a short-lived version of the Quicksilver funny car line. Stephens drove the car to a 6.54 in 1976 before a fire destroyed the body. An older Charger body was quickly found and mounted on the chassis. The team ran the Charger without paint.
Stephens and Venables sold the car in 1977 and returned to Top Fuel full time. (Photo by Stephen Nicoll; photo and info contributed by Gary Osborn with additional info by Dickie Venables)
Probably the most famous of Tom Hoover’s Showtime series, this Corvette replaced Tom’s first ‘Vette, which he destroyed at Columbus in 1978. The car went on to finish number 8 in NHRA in 1978. Tom’s biggest win was the NHRA Winternationals in 1979. He shipped the car to England in the 1980s. Hoover drove the repainted car until the mid ‘80s until it was sold to another British team. (Photo by Jim White)
Today, this could be considered a super team. In 1978, Mike Burkhart partnered with Gordon Mineo to race this Camaro. Dale Emery had crashed Burkhart’s Camaro twice in 1977, totaling it the last time. Mineo had won the Division 4 championship in 1977, and had built the Camaro to replace his Monza (see Round 9). Burkhart and Mineo raced this car through 1978, winning the Division 4 title again. They built a new Trans Am in 1979. The team retired after a reportedly less than gracious split, with Burkhart retiring from racing completely. Mineo returned in 1989 and raced for a few more years. (Jim White photo)
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