This tribute is a 'thank you' to my favorite funny car team, the 'Eastern Raider' AA/FCs of the '70s and early '80s. Al Hanna and his family were a regular feature at my home track in Lebanon, NY and provided me with a childhood's worth of great dragstrip memories.
Note: the print quality in these photos varies a bit; I was just a kid armed with a Kodak instamatic. I hope that some of my enthusiasm manages to shine through.
MAY 1974, FRONTRUNNER CLASSIC, Lebanon Valley. Al Hanna/Joe Mundet Pinto. J&E fiberglass shell, Rollie Lindblad chassis, KB powerplant. This car sold in the thousands as a 1/25 scale Revell model
SEPTEMBER 1975, FALL FUNNY CAR CLASSIC, Lebanon Valley. The Al Hanna/Bill Dee version of the Pinto, one of the prettiest funny cars of the era. Also known as 'The Original Eastern Raider.'
SEPTEMBER 1975, FALL FUNNY CAR CLASSIC, Lebanon Valley. Hanna in near lane versus Larry Fullerton. Hanna won this match and went to the final round on this day.
MAY 1977, FRONT RUNNER CLASSIC, Lebanon Valley. The Al Hanna/Gary Richards 'Eastern Raider' Mustang. Car set low ET of the meet with a 6.49.
JULY 1977, FUNNY CAR NATIONALS, Lebanon Valley. Hanna cleans the 'Eastern Raider' windshield before a night of racing.
MAY 1978, FRONT RUNNER CLASSIC, Lebanon Valley. A rare non-Ford in the 'Eastern Raider' lineage: the Hanna/Richards Dart (formerly the 'Custom Body' Dart).
MAY 1978, FRONT RUNNER CLASSIC, Lebanon Valley. Firing up in the pits.
MAY 1979, FRONT RUNNER CLASSIC, Lebanon Valley. This car was campaigned mid decade as Americo Carranca's 'Eastern Raider' Mustang BB/FC. Hanna bought it back to run the 1979 season. Crew member Don Orwat standing to the right of the car. Note orange chassis paint.
JULY 1979, FUNNY CAR NATIONALS, Lebanon Valley. This was the night Hanna defeated Prudhomme in the semis.
JULY 1979, FUNNY CAR NATIONALS, Lebanon Valley. Hanna at work.
AUGUST 1980, NHRA GRANDNATIONAL MOLSON St. Pie, Quebec. Brand new car for 1980. The Kevin Murray-built Mustang qualified fifth at this NHRA National Event. Hanna's favorite AA/FC. The car delivered with a then career-best 6.13 at Epping points meet, barely more than a tenth off the national record. Enormously impressive for a mom and pop team.
MAY 1982, BOB'S SURPLUS STORES FUNNY CAR SHOW, Connecticut Dragway. The 'Eastern Raider' went three rounds on this day, finished runner up to Bruce Larson in the finals. Don Orwat (to the right of the rear spoiler) pours the VHT.
Thanks to Al Hanna for his help in preparing this tribute. And thanks to his wife, Ellen, and sons, Scott and Rich, for their pitside hospitality back in 'the good old days.'