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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Bunny Burkett, Then and Now

By James Morgan and Bill Pratt
Photos by James Morgan

Bunny Burkett's Mustang II in 1979. Photo by James Morgan
Bunny Burkett's Mustang II in 1979. Photo by James Morgan

James: For those young 'uns who may think "Bunny" Burkett hasn't paid her dues, I submit a 1979 photo of Ms. Burkett's Mustang BB/FC. Yeah she still looks great, but there's more to the lady than that. Having survived one of the worst crashes ever, "Bunny" continues to be competitive and draw the fans. Hello sponsors! She is running times with the best of the roots gang! Lets get the lady some funding so she can run with Von Smith on a monthly basis. P.S. I swear that taillight touch up wasn't done with software.

James Morgan

Bill: This is a cool shot. I think the taillight that looks as if it was painted crooked is actually hanging open. Some cars of the day had their taillights swing open on a hinge to let the smoke escape the body on a burnout. This looks like the case here...

I am a certified Bunny fan, and am proud to have become friends with her and her crew over the years. She is a racer's racer and a fan's racer, always giving it all she can for them. They absolutely love her, too, with huge crowds around her trailer after each round. She takes all the time she can for them, especially the little ones. Kids big and small (even us adult kids), however, come away from Bunny's pit thinking they are someone special. This lady is the real deal. 

Bunny Burkett still thrills the fans in 2000. Photo by James Morgan
Bunny Burkett still thrills the fans in 2000. Photo by James Morgan

In addition to solid match races everywhere, she did a great job at the IHRA President's Cup at MIR last fall. She led qualifying after the first session, and ran consistent 6.0s all weekend. Bunny and the Boys put together seven runs in qualifying and eliminations that ranged from 6.04 to 6.10; most of them were 6.05s. Great consistency! She won the first round on a holeshot, then beat IHRA tough guy Jimmy Rector in another 6.0 to 6.0 battle. Believe it or not, the Rector team got pissed and started crying about Bunny burning him down on the starting line. We use the Compulink autostart at MIR, however. If she had taken too long after Rector staged, Bunny would have drawn a foul. 

Bunny met genuine NICE guy Mark Thomas in the semis, in a battle of former IHRA world champions. They left about even and Bunny was ahead early on, but Thomas passed her on the top end for a 6.00 to 6.05 victory. A check of the blower after the run showed that Bunny's huffer was a little tired. Despite the loss, Bunny and the Boys were totally thrilled with their stellar showing at their home track. This is a match race team. They do not have the money or inclination at this time to freshen the equipment between rounds since they are not racing for points. They were out to put on a great show for the fans and that's what they did. 

Bunny was off making money at a match race appearance as the IHRA gang moved on to Shreveport. This team could definitely run with the best of the IHRA if they had the funding to do it. At this point, however, I wonder if they would? Bunny and the Boys have a good thing going as one of the most requested match race acts on the East Coast. Bunny did tell me a few years ago that she would go Top Fuel racing in a minute if the right deal came along. That would be cool.

By the way, talk about paying your dues -- Bunny actually raced a Super Stock Ford Mustang in the late '60s. She went and got a job at the Playboy Club in Washington, D.C., in order to raise money to go racing! That is where the nickname came from. Bunny then moved on to Pro Stock before joining the alky FC wars. She raced a Ford Pinto in 1972. 

One of our R/R Videos shows her racing against Harold Denton (who then had a Ford Maverick) in a "Battle of the Sexes" match race. The deal was, if Harold won, Bunny had to go back to the kitchen. If Bunny won, Harold had to wear one of her bras in public. Well, Bunny won the match, and we've got footage of Harold Denton wearing Bunny's MASSIVE brassiere (over his shirt the chicken wouldn't take his shirt off)! Bunny is a very attractive lady today, but guys, she was a stone cold KNOCKOUT in the early '70s...

Bill Pratt


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