In 1966, a brand-new class of competition emerged in NHRA when hot rodding enthusiasts of the era were trying to squeeze more performance out of their gassers, super stocks, and muscle cars. With a larger motor, stretched frame, and bigger rear tires, these powerful machines took the drag racing world by storm, except they didn’t look like a factory hot rod.
But drag racing fans were hooked by the appeal of the category that was officially named Funny Car, and today the category remains one of the most popular to have ever powered down a dragstrip.
During the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, NHRA will celebrate 50 years of the Funny Car. The season-long promotion will feature the fan-favorite cars, explain the evolution of the category, remember the greatest rivalries, and put the spotlight on the legends who drove the cars in some of the most memorable side-by-side races in NHRA history.
From the signature long, smoky burnouts to the wild and zany rides that are often the result of a full run in the volatile short-wheelbase, high-horsepower, nitro-fueled monsters, Funny Car has firmly established its place in the world of NHRA Drag Racing. Fans fondly recall some of the greatest Funny Cars in NHRA history, like the Chi-Town Hustler, the “Jungle Jim” Chevys, Don Schumacher’s Stardust Barracudas, John Force’s Brute Force Chevys, Raymond Beadle’s famed Blue Max Mustangs, and Don Prudhomme’s U.S. Army machines, to name a few.
Throughout the season, many nostalgic Funny Cars will be featured at events and remembered through exhibitions, car displays, NHRA-exclusive Cacklefests, and special burnout and dry-hop performances. Funny Car racing legends will participate in autograph sessions at several events. NHRA’s social media team will keep fans up to date on all of the happenings, and fans can also read about their favorite Funny Cars from the past on NHRA.com and in the pages of NHRA’s National Dragster magazine. The FOX telecasts also will include Funny Car vignettes and interviews with many of the greatest Funny Car drivers in history.
“The Funny Car class continues to be a flagship for the NHRA, and in 2016, we are thrilled to be able to celebrate 50 years of the cars, stars, and amazing performances that have made that category one of the most popular in NHRA history,” said Peter Clifford, NHRA president. “This celebration is for the fans, because we know how much they love the unpredictable nature of these finely tuned 10,000-horsepower machines.”
The 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season opens Feb. 11-14 with the 56th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona near Los Angeles. For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA or visit NHRA.com/tickets.