Bill has asked me to provide the stats on all my cars through the years.
I have come up with a list as best as I can remember and research. Since I
have been mostly a match racer without any sponsorship over the last 29
years I will not try to impress you with fictitious fast times. The few
times that I did excel stand out to me. I am more proud of the trends that I
first Funny Car was in ‘72 I think. It was patterned after Jim Dunn's
car with a high gear 392. Home built (literally) and ran in the high country
of New Mexico, Colorado, and West Texas. I believe the best was a 7.67 @ 191
'73, a friend had purchased the Magnificent 7 Fuel Altered so I borrowed it
and went to the Fuel Altered Nats in Tucson. Qualified fifth with a 7.98 and
went four rounds in double eliminations. I also qualified the Arizona
Wildcat (former Nanook) car for Byron Ward in the 12th position.
In 1974, I built the first of the Nasty Benjamin Fuel Altereds. It ran in
the 7s in the Southwest races that year.
In 1975, we qualified #1 at Tucson with a 7.23. We crashed it at Ontario,
California, that year from mismatched tires bought from Hashim. The car was
also too low -- 44 inches at the top of the cage.
In ‘76, we built a new Fuel Altered with the first of the ‘27 T
bodies that I have used since. This was the first use of the front magneto
and fuel pump drive on a Donovan. We took this car with a Vega body to Tulsa
and qualified for an AHRA race, #10 out of 33, with a 7.20. Lost to Snow 1st
round. Went to Tucson and qualified #3 with a 7.21 for the Fuel Altered
Nats. Ran a lot of races in Colorado and Texas with this car, running a best
of 6.89 in Pueblo, Colorado. Had a Donovan in it at this time. Ran mostly in
the 7-teens and 220s for speed.
In ‘77, my best time came at Seattle with a 6.52 that took out
McCulloch and Kalb. Ended up fourth out of 64 cars. Stood the car on its
parachutes at San Antonio when Collins burned me down on the starting line,
made all the rags. We set a track record at Albuquerque for bodied cars with
my Fuel Altered that I hear lasted 14 years. The papers said it was a 7.45
but I remember it as a 7.34. It was .3 seconds quicker than the touring
Funny Cars could run.
In 1978, I brought out the first Funny Car with the sides down to the
ground with a one-inch lip on the front and sides. Inspired by Bobby Unser
Sr. Unfortunately I also had a rack and pinion steering that lead to its
quick demise. I built and drove a Funny Car for Nelson Lengle in ‘78 that
went 6.39 at Seattle. After 8 or 10 races it met its end at Ontario,
California, throwing the crank on the ground and me in the burn center for
six weeks. I couldn't race in 1979 until the wounds healed.
When the burns healed, I built an Omni in 1980 with a Donovan. No
spectacular times; too broke to race much. In 1980, I built the first dual
fuel pump system. Inspired by the fact that I had no money to buy a new 1100
pump and had several 110 pumps sitting around. I ran it at a match race at
El Paso in January 1981 against Hoover. I ran 23 races that year without
changing pistons in my Donovan. Our quickest run was in the mid-sixes at 228
In 1981, I brought an Omni Funny Car to the Winternationals with
dual pumps, four-disc clutch, and full belly pan. The car labored and blew a
valve cover gasket causing a fire.
In 1982, another fire at Pomona because of faulty rods from the new owner
of Forged True. Sold me junk and wouldn't stand behind it.
In 1984, I
switched to a 426 with parts bought from Jerry Verhuel. From ‘82 until
early ‘85, I tested MSD ignitions. You wouldn't believe the troubles I
In 1984, I ran a best of 6.35 @ 234.98 at Pomona with the red, white,
and blue Corvette.
In 1985, I had, I believe, the only blue and yellow Funny Car.
else seemed to be red. After switching back to a magneto that Gary Densham
sold me, I ran a 6.02 @ 227.27 in low gear only at Phoenix, qualifying 15th.
The trans broke the shifter and again I had put a four-disc clutch back in.
This was the blue and yellow Corvette. We ended up 23rd in the nation that
year after attending five races.
In 1986, after the ban on my three-valve heads was lifted, I again
switched to these until 1997 when they were banned again.
The Fuel Altered
in these years ran in the 6.20s at match races in Seattle.
In 1989, with Ritter driving, we qualified 16th at Denver with a 6.26 and
lost 1st round with a 5.878 for our first official five. I fixed the clutch
overnight. This was a Beretta painted to duplicate a Chrysler LeBaron. It
fit the dimensions for a LeBaron better that it did a Beretta. This car
burned at Sonoma in ‘89. This also was the year we started testing my
eight-stand, five-disc clutch -- a year or two before the likes of Brooks
In ‘90, I ran Dallas with my first BIG pump that replaced the dual pump
setup that was prone to failure due to pressure spikes. It was made from a
3000-PSI hydraulic pump. Settles and others followed suit. We ran 5.70s and
‘80s this year at Spokane at speeds, I believe, in the 245 range.
In '91, I put the Olds body on the chassis and ran some decent times at
the places we went like Edmonton. Ran 6.15 at 152 and lowered the track
record from an 8.30.
Ran another 6.15 at 154 in Calgary with the Fuel
Altered (shut off because of a fuel leak in my face). I believe this is
still the Fuel Altered record for Calgary.
In '93, tested a new clutch setup and cam with the Fuel Altered and ran
the 5.612 at Seattle. Shut off early because the pad behind my helmet was
missing and I couldn't pull my head forward to see where I was going
because of the acceleration. The front end started to bounce off the ground
and I figured it was only a test so rather than lose it I shut it off at
about 800 or 900 ft. Damn it. Ran 6.01 @ 239.80 in Spokane against
Karamesines (?) as a Top Fueler with my Fuel Altered. Led him until past 1/2
track but was boiling the tires from 300 ft on. In ‘93 we set the track
record for Boise at 5.705 and backed it up with a 5.74 @ 245 with the Fuel
Altered. Still hazing the tires.
Kind of lost interest since ‘93; haven't raced a lot. I've gone to
Spokane each year through ‘99.
Lost the Olds body in a semi final round
fire and don't plan to rebuild a Funny Car.
I am shortening the chassis to
118 inches for a Fuel Altered to run under Dave Hough's circuit. No
chassis in front of the front tires, and an 8-71 blower, single pump, and
617 Funny Car
First of all, thanks a million to Dave for putting together this
history of his cars. Drivers, if you do this for me I guarantee you a story
of the day AND I will get all your stats right in Draglist.com. Please consider
doing a story on your cars, no matter what Draglist classes you competed in.
I put out the call for Dave Benjamin photos to accompany this
outstanding run down on Dave's career, and the sport's finest responded
in DROVES! So many came in that I truly couldn't use them all -- this page
is slow loading as it is! I want to thank all the people who either contributed photos or
helped to track them down:
Fred Vosk, Dan Jones, Jim Sorenson, Lyle Greenberg, Jeff Thomas, John
Shanks, Mike Boersma, Ron Dilley, Phil Elliott, Jim Kelso, George and Karen
Adams, Dave Hough, David McFee, and David Hapgood
Check out these websites for some more great photos of Dave's cars!
Northwest Drag Racing www.nwdragracing.com,
Awful Awful Fuel Altereds http://www.mysterion.net/AAFA
The Funny Car Years http://www.mysterion.net/funnys
‘70s Funny Cars http://www.70sfunnycars.com