80s Funny Cars – Division 3


Len Imbrogno raced funny cars for a short time beginning in 1979 in the Ken Thornburg & Little owned Centurion series of funny cars. Thornburg & Little had raced the High Speed Vega and Monza with Chuck Finders driving for the team. Imbrogno took over the wheel for the team. The team replaced the ex-Detroit Tiger Monza with this Firebird in the 1979 season. The Firebird ran a strong 6.105 at US Nationals. The car crashed badly on this pass at the 1980 Gatornationals and was replaced by a new Omni. (Info from Draglist files; photo by Tom Schlitz)


The Goodman & McKinney “Indy Challenger” Arrow started life as the Goodman & Spitzer BB/FC entry in 1978. The Arrow was upgraded to AA/FC standards and got repainted in the process. Murf McKinney replaced Spitzer as a partner and Goodman as the driver. The team raced together for two years in 1979 and 1980. Goodman retired from funny car racing while McKinney went on to drive the Sting for Larry Coogle. The car was sold to Tex Cooper. (Info from Draglist files; photo by Michael Beach)


In 1980, NHRA made a major change to the funny car rules, allowing foreign bodies into legal competition for the first time. Tim Grose was one of the first to get a Datsun 280ZX body for his Michigan-based Sprit team. Grose’s first Datsun, like others, met an unfortunate demise in a terrible crash at Columbus. This stirred up talks of whether or not there was a curse on the new bodies like there had been on the Corvettes of the 60s and 70s. Grose rebuilt the car and had no further issues with his bodies. Grose broke into the fives in 1981 with the rebuilt car. (Info from Draglist files; photo by Tom Schlitz)


This was the last of the famed Mr. Norm funny cars, racing in 1981. The Mr. Norm (Krause) team had been around funny cars since the classes’ birth in 1965. The team now consisted of former driver turned owner Kenny Safford and hired driver John Pott with backing from Norm Kraus. The team raced this nice looking 1978 Dodge Arrow from 1978 to 1981 with either Dave Settles or John Pott at the wheel. Pott ran a known best of 6.13 in the car while Settles ran a good 6.07. By 1981, the Mr. Norm’s Sports Center machine was a match racer for the most part with the occasional national event thrown in. Safford and Kraus decided to stop racing at the end of the 1981 season. (Info from Draglist files; photo by Mike Sopko)


Former Comp racer John Bundy made the jump into the nitro ranks with this Dodge Omni in 1981. Bundy made the pages of National Dragster and other publications of the day with some of his wild, wheelstanding passes in 1981. In 1982, Bundy changed his car name to the Gold Digger in an association with Gary Shaver and Tom Motry. Bundy got the formerly unruly Keith Black powered car to settle down and raced the car through the 1983 season. Gary Shaver got the car to run a 6.28, 234.27 known best. (Info from Draglist files; photo by Micheal Beach)


Gary Shaver and Tom Motry teamed up on this former Chi-Town Hustler Mustang II, beginning as the Drastic Plastic and in 1981, changing the name to the Gold Digger. The Shaver and Motry team only ran the Gold Digger name for the 1981 season. In 1982, the Gold Digger named moved on to John Bundy. Shaver and Motry returned to the Drastic Plastic moniker, running a known best of 6.25, 223 in 1982. (Info from Draglist files; photo by Tom Schlitz)


Famed tin man Al Bergler had the famed Logghe Bros. build this Corvette in 1978. Bergler raced the Corvette over the next several years, competing until the end of the 1981 season. The Keith Black powered car was a solid six-second racer mostly in match race appearances, running a known best of 6.32 in 1978. This photo is of the second paint job for the Corvette. (Info from Draglist files; photo by Tom West)


Early funny car hero Della Woods made her return to funny car racing in 1982 with a Trans Am. Woods and husband De Nichols were known for driving Mopars and in 1983 built this Dodge Charger. The team slowly got the hang of racing modern funny cars over the next couple of years. Woods ran a best of 6.31 in the Charger in 1984. Woods raced in match races and local national events during those years before becoming more serious in 1985 with a new Daytona. (Info from Draglist files; photo by Mike Sopko)


Nitro seller Larry Coogle’s beautiful 1983 Camaro was his final funny car in a series of Coogle’s “Freedom Machines” and “Stings.” Coogle used a series of hired drivers to pilot his funny cars and his last one was no different. Ron Correnti, Bob Gottschalk, Murf McKinney, and Paul Smith all drove the Camaro in the two years that it campaigned. The Camaro was a solid 5.90 performer on the NHRA, IHRA, and match race circuit. Coogle retired from the funny car business to devote full time to his racing fuel business. (Info from Draglist files; photo by Mike Sopko)


Former Top Fuel racer Mark Howick returned to drag racing with this Ford Mustang in 1984. The Ohio-based veteran raced the Good Guy Mustang at a series of events with moderate success. Howick ran a known best of 6.10 at 234.37 in the car before retiring from racing early in the 1985 season.

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