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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Funny Car Reunion This Weekend!

By "Berserko" Bob Doerrer and Steve Bell


In preparation for a rare match race with Shirley Muldowney on Wed. night July 31, Big Daddy Don Garlits will arrive at Englishtown four days early. Though world known for his Top Fuel machines Garlits owned a couple floppers in his time and will be on hand at the Funny Car Reunion to sign autographs and talk with fans. Don has also told us he will bring the Jungle Jim car out of his Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Fla. as well for display at the FCR. No true drag fan should miss this event. If you've never been to Don Garlits' Museum of Drag Racing, GO! To see this JJ Vega outside the museum is a rare treat, especially with Jungle Pam standing next to it.


The long history of Old Bridge Township Raceway Park is a colorful one. Many thousands of cars have run the famed quarter mile. Many drivers have made names and careers here as well. When you reflect back on some of the greatest memories from Englishtown, there was probably a funny car in it. Funny cars have been a cornerstone in the growth of Raceway Park and now with an idea set in motion by long time RP photographer Steve Bell, we're going to bring some of those memories back.

On Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28, 2002 in conjunction with the 23rd Annual Old Time Drags & Rod Run, Raceway Park is featuring the 1st Annual Funny Car Reunion. The racing portion of the event will be held on Sunday. Gates will open at 9 am. Saturday will be an open day; funny cars will be parked and can be prepped for the next day. This will be a good opportunity for racers to meet others they have met on the internet and spend time with fans, without the pressure of having to ready the car for racing. Due to local noise restrictions, no unmuffled cars will be permitted to race or start their engines on Saturday. 

This event promises to draw more funny cars in one place that any track in the past 20 years. Funny cars that looked like cars, '72 Cudas, '69 Camaros, '71 Mustangs, Challengers, Novas, Vettes, the list goes on. The event is open to all 1983 and earlier funny cars. Classes will consist of an injected/carb class, a blown alcohol class, and a blown nitro class. Not limited to racing only, owners of nostalgia cars are encouraged to bring their floppers out of their garages in whatever state of completion, to display and help thousands of fans relive the memories each car built. 

Perhaps even more popular than the funny cars themselves will be our Grand Marshall, "Jungle Pam." She needs no more introduction than that to funny car fans. Pam was as popular as the man behind the wheel during the mid and late 70's. Guiding Jungle Jim back into his tracks after his monster smoky burnouts. Probably as notable as JJ during the early years of funny car racing (and some of the later years) is Bruce Larson, owner/driver of the famed USA-1 funny cars. His '68 Camaro has been restored and will bring it to Raceway Park for the first time in 30 years to make exhibition runs with his nitro powered Chevy. The restoration is complete and will cause instant flashbacks to 1968. Picking up the microphone for this event will be none other that "Berserko Bob" Doerrer. His style, wit, and knowledge of drag racing kept the Raceway park fans on the edge of their seats for over 20 years. Bob has agreed to come out of retirement to announce this show. These three icons lead the list of celebrities that will be on hand for the event.

Some other things we have planned include all the cars participating in the race portion to be lined up on the track for their warm up. Afterward all cars will be towed up the fire up road, bodies raised high, awaiting their turn to race. In the pit area, fans will be free to roam and watch between round work or pick up a T-shirt of their favorite car. A large display tent will be set up to house memorabilia, photos, and a model car display. Outside the tent will be collectors and vendors with historic magazines, books, race wear, and photos for sale. In addition to the funny cars, the North East Timing Organization will be here with altereds, gassers and front engine dragsters. The car show portion, will bring together some of the coolest hot rods and customs from Maine to Maryland.

We have heard from racers from as far as Georgia, Canada, and California interested in participating. We also want to hear from funny car drivers from the 60's and 70's that would like to participate in the event, possibly sign some autographs and visit with fans and old friends. Additionally anyone with a 1983 or earlier funny car that wants to sell, display or try to find more in formation on their car should bring it out to the reunion. Though still early in the planning stages, the Funny Car Reunion is promising to be a "Woodstock of Fiberglass" and a must see for any true funny car fan this side of Irwindale!

Check Raceway News at Raceway Park for the latest updates or, to get on the Funny Car Reunion email list, contact Steve Bell at funnycarreunion@aol.com

Saturday July 27, 2002

Gates open for F/C parking 10am
Meet and greet all day until 7:30 pm
Admission $10

Sunday July 28, 2002

Gates open at 8am
Lanes open for time trials, 10am
F/C round 1 at 1pm
Admission $20


Raceway Park has agreed to the following pay schedule for the 1st Annual Funny Car Reunion. Thanks to the co-operation of Michael, Alex, and David Napp, the payouts and conditions will be as follows. Payout will be based on performance alone. There will be no guaranteed pay, other than the pay scale below. Prices are on a per run basis. Pay will be applied to only runs designated as 1st and 2nd round. Any time trials before 1st round or after 2nd round will be the responsibility of the racer and are not included as paid runs. 

6.00 to 6.49 seconds = $750.00
6.50 to 6.99 seconds = $600.00
7.00 to 7.49 seconds = $400.00
7.50 to 7.99 seconds = $300.00
8.00 to 8.49 seconds = $150.00
8.50 seconds & slower = $75.00

Pre-entry is required by July 1, 2002 to be eligible for this pay. Racers not pre-entered at that time may receive a reduced pay. Pre enter by contacting Steve Bell at funnycarreunion@aol.com. If a photo of your car is on the pre-entries page of this site then you are pre entered, if it is not, you are not. 

Drivers Scheduled

Nick Boninfante
Owner: U.S. Male Funny Cars

Big Daddy Don Garlits
T/F World Champion

Scott Weney 
Gold Coast Challenger 

Ken Poffenberger
Poff's Super Puffer AA/FC

Tom Hall
Driver for Ken Poffenberger

Bob Anderson
Wind & Fire BB/FC

Arnie Karp & Keith Hughes
Boston Strangler BB/FC 

Jeff Gordon
Bob Parella
King 'Cuda F/C

Pat "Mouse" Walsh
U.S. Male BB/FC

Arne Swensen
Swensen & Lani AA/FC 

R.C. Sherman
Black Magic AA/FC

Ron Leaf
Ron Leaf AA/FC

Gary Richards
Black Shadow AA/FC

George Johnson
Driver: Jim Wemett
Corvette AA/FC

Drake Viscome
Driver: Vindicator Pinto A/FC

Terenzio Bros.
Italian Stallion BB/FC

Tom Sneden & Dave Reitz
Bob Banning Dodge AA/FC

Jake Crimmins
Driver: Crazy Jake AA/FC
#2 Driver for Jungle Jim
Driver for Swensen & Lani

Sam Miller
Driver: Sam Miller AA/FC
Vanishing Point Rocket F/C

Joe Jacono
Driver: Rollin Stoned AA/FC

Drivers have indicated they will attend; however, appearance is not guaranteed. Drivers interested in attending should contact us for details. Through the site or by calling Steve Bell at 732-738-0010

Not all the cars at this event will be Funny Cars. Here are some of the others. 

Ed Golden's beautiful restoration of the "Probe" AA/FD out of the mid-west.

The new reproduction of the Hemi Hunter AA/FD will be on hand Saturday only.

Pat Quinn's Zombie A/FX will be on display and may make a pass on Sunday

PLUS , some of the painters and letterers that gave these machines their appeal.

Glen Wiesgerber
Mr. J
Bob Gerdes
Dave Sano
Rich Dombey
Dan DeLaney
Steve & Karen Bell
Don Rooney 
Skip "the Brush"

Donnie Reeves will offer church services to all who are interested on Sunday morning. Service begins at 8:30 am at a place yet to be determined but we will let you know. No sign-up is necessary. 


"Nitro" Nick Boninfante, president of Boninfante Performance Clutch Parts, announced today that his company will become the title rights sponsor of the Inaugural Funny Car Reunion, July 27-28, at Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ. 

Boninfante Performance Clutch Parts of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania is one of the largest suppliers of the clutches used by most of the Funny Car and Top Fuel teams in both NHRA and IHRA competition. Boninfante Performance Clutch Parts also manufactures supercharger burst panels used in all blown classes of competition. 

Nick Boninfante said "I'm very happy to begin what I hope to be a long association with the Funny Car Reunion. I raced my U.S. Male Funny Cars at Englishtown in the 70s and 80s and have many fond memories from that time in my life. Now I have an opportunity to give back to the most popular class in all of drag racing, Funny Cars, by sponsoring the Inaugural Funny Car Reunion." 

Nick will be bringing the last Funny Car he and his long-time driver Pat Walsh campaigned to the Funny Car Reunion for display and maybe make a pass if they can get the car ready in time.

We are proud to announce the addition of American Racing Wheels as an associate sponsor of the Boninfante Performance Clutches Funny Car Reunion. American has been involved in funny car racing since their birth in the mid 60's. Their more recent involvement with the nostalgia scene has prompted them to sign on as an associate sponsor of the event. The American Racing wheels display will be on hand with a full line of wheels and products. Additionally they will host the autograph tent at their display. We are looking forward to seeing some of our favorite drivers there signing some autographs for their fans between rounds of the funny cars. American will also debut a new racing wheel at the 2002 U.S. Nationals.


Special awards for the Inaugural Funny Car Reunion were announced today at a lavish ceremony at Bob's Berserko Lounge in Charlotte, NC. An additional $1,250 in cash and merchandise is up for grabs for drivers participating in what is going to be a history making event. Awards include: 

Bob Gettys of Computer Magic Online has stepped up to sponsor the Inaugural Funny Car Reunion with the "Computer Magic Online Best Appearing Car" award. The award will apply to the featured category, Classic Funny Cars, and will pay $250 in cash to the owner of the flopper the fans feel is the best looking machine at E-town on July 28. Computer Magic Online is a high performance web hosting and promotions company. As web host of Draglist.com, Computer Magic Online serves over 2,300 active pages to racing fans more than 350,000 times a month. In association with Draglist.com, Computer Magic Online also promotes the Southern Fuel Coupes, the Southeastern Gasser Tour, and the upcoming Classic Southern Thunder racing circuit.

The Doug Herbert Performance Parts/Draglist.com Burnout Challenge will award $250 in cash from Draglist.com and $250 in merchandise from Doug Herbert Performance Parts to the driver who, in the crowd's opinion, does the best burnout. This is a contingent award; decals from the sponsors must be on the race cars in order to take advantage of this award. They will be available at the Funny Car Reunion. 

The DragRacingOnLine.com Dry Hop Contest will award $250 in cash to the driver who does the best dry hop in the opinion of Jeff Burk, Publisher/Editor of DragRacingOnLine.com. Again decals will be required to cash in and will be available at the event. 

And here's a real special award. Freddy Frey and Jim Fox, owners of the "Frantic Ford" Mustang Funny Car in the late 70s have put up $250 for Low E.T. and $250 for Top Speed of the event in the memory of their driver "Dodger" Glenn who was killed in a racing accident in 1978. This is a non-contingent award. 

If a driver does everything right by running below 6.50 twice, wins both contests, sets Low E.T. and Top Speed, he can walk away with $2,750 for two runs, not a bad payout for a "Classic" Funny Car.

Inaugural Boninfante Performance Clutch Parts Funny Car Reunion T-Shirts! The artwork was a collaboration from Steve Bell and Chuck Adams. These shirts will be sold at the Raceway Park souvenir stands and tent throughout the facility during the event. Remaining shirts, if any, can be purchased through www.funnycarreunion.com after the race. FCR decals and hard cards will also be for sale in the Photo Shop next to the staging lanes underneath the grandstands.

HOT ROD Magazine will cover the Boninfante Performance Clutch Parts Funny Car Reunion on the pages of the November Issue. Hot Rod has been around as long as anyone can remember and is one of the most respected magazines in the history of motorsports. We are proud to have them at the race and excited to see the nostalgia funny cars grace the pages of HOT ROD. 

Shirley Can't Make it.

Due to a match race date a week before her match race with Big Daddy at Englishtown, Shirley will not be able to make the Funny Car Reunion. Time would be too tight to maintain the car and get it ready for the July 31 date. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. 

TOP FUEL TV will tape the Funny Car Reunion

The show will appear on the Sunshine Network available to most people with the dish network. There is also a good possibility that the event may end up as a 1-hour show on The Nashville Network. We will have more details posted on that later if it comes through.

Jon Asher has agreed to run results from the Funny Car Reunion in his new magazine, Drag Racing Action. Jon is a well respected photo journalist in the racing business for many years including getting his AA/FC license in the Sein & Lankford Brand-X Mustang. Make sure to pick up Drag Racing Action when you see it on the news stands and support it. We need more magazines with people like Jon at the wheel. 

Looks as though Berserko Bob has challenged Jungle Pam to a best of three match race during the Cartek Corvette Challenge on Sat. July 27. Pam has accepted the race and they will drive identical Vettes provided by Cartek. The question is: who will back Jungle Pam up from her burnouts?

Question asked...question answered. You can back up Jungle Pam from her burnouts. Simply make a tax deductible donation to the Hematology Research Fund in any amount you choose. Send your check to Raceway Park, attn: Michelle Marchese. The honor of backing up Pam will go to the person who makes the largest donation by July 26,2002.

Drag Racing Online has been named the official web magazine of the Inaugural Funny Car Reunion. Information prior to the event and results after the Reunion will be posted on www.dragracingonline.com

A meeting of driver will take place on Saturday afternoon for any drivers interested in working out details for future circuit racing. Maintaining equity between the cars is crucial to good racing, so this is a great chance to get some guidelines together. There probably won't be this many drivers in one place again until the 2nd Annual Funny Car Reunion in 2003. If you are a driver or team owner and plan on attending Saturday, it will be a good time to speak up. 

When you are at the Funny Car Reunion be sure to stop by the Photo Shop located next to the pit side staging lanes. Longtime Raceway Park photographers Steve Bell and Dave Milcarek will have photos new and old for sale, including photographs from Sunday's racing. Racers will be able to view the photos taken of their car before they go home. Other official FCR souvenirs will also be on sale as well as famous Bob's Berserko Lounge T Shirts. 

Berserko" Bob Doerrer


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