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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Funny Car Q&A

By Bill Duke and David Ray

Were the late ‘60s versions of floppers more or less difficult to drive then the more "refined" ‘70s - ‘80s versions? It seems visibility on the ‘60s era cars might be better since the blower hatches were smaller, and the actual proportion size of the bodies were much bigger with larger wind shields, etc. Also, just how much of a burn out is required in order to achieve the results of hot sticky tires? I was told that anything done beyond the starting line was for show. But this remark was offered by a former dragster pilot, and we know dragster pilots didn't do "real" burnouts back then -- just little "chirps." Does anyone know of a web site devoted to the newly forming nostalgia funny car circuits?

Bill Duke

Your questions are interesting and thoughtful. I doubt that there is very little difficulty between driving early '70s or today's cars. Things just happen a little quicker. Quicker here equals about 20%, by simple math. The easiest car to drive is one that makes a good hard run. (The quicker and faster the better). Today most FCs seem to hook-up good or blow the tires. Trying to drive them after smoking the tires (hard) would not be my recommendation. That was different in the '70s; they were not as violent as today's cars. You could drive the car out of trouble. I would not try that today. Truthfully, at today’s advancing years and forced wisdom, I wouldn't do some of the things I did back then! OK that's enough truthfulness for one day. 

Actually, the windshield or lack thereof was not a big deal. Just look out the side window, the better to keep the guard rail in perspective. Your thoughts on the burnout actually answer the question in part. "Hot sticky tires" are only 1/2 of the point. The idea was to lay down nice fresh rubber tracks to run in. That's why you see all the trouble taken to back up a driver and line him up in his tracks. And it is still practiced today by ALL cars.

Dave Ray


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