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My first trip to a National event and Indianapolis Raceway Park was in 1977. As any typical 11-year-old did at the drags, I walked the pits in wide-eyed amazement, collecting handouts and stuffing decals in my Quaker State bag, seeking autographs and taking pictures. Little did I know then, that more than 20 years later, I would be able to recapture the essence of my wonderment, or for that matter, be able to witness once again a genre of drag racing vehicles that stole this kid's heart so long ago.

The 12th Annual Indy Hot Rod Nationals, presented by the Goodguys, continued to feature the increasingly popular front engine Top Fuel class, but this year the event booked in a first time run of the newly formed Nostalgia Funny Car Association.

What a treat this was! A variety of vintage '70s style floppers, reunited fans with their cherished memories of this exciting class... Floppers with names, attitude and really bitchin' paint jobs!

My Dad and Cousin made the Indy journey with me, and they were just as impressed too. Everyone in attendance, from the fans to the racers, was excited at how this whole nostalgia scene has gained momentum and going full circle. It's truly an exciting alternative to the modern day versions. Oh yeah, and lets not forget how close the racing was or the exciting times that were posted too. Indy has always been good for that. I'll now take you on a photo tour of the event...little did I know back in '77 that I'd still be shooting pictures too!

Enjoy, Dawn

Jerry "Smoker" Smith, of Greenville, New York, campaigns the "New York Super Twister" entry.  Jerry has traced the origins of this Logghe chassis '70 Challenger to the "Virginia Twister", previously owned by Kenny Warrens and driven by Tom "Smoker" Smith  (no relation to Jerry).  Jerry decided to hang on to the "Smoker" moniker as well as part of the Twister legend.

Frank Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

The '99 HHRR Shoot Out winner, "Beedy & Lutz" Jr. Fuel entry wound up vying for the Top Fuel "B" field, but was unable to make the call in the first round. Check out that injector scoop though!
Mark Clarke shoes the "Blue Meanie" Jr. Fuel entry out of Nebraska. Clarke, a three time reigning champ, qualified 5th for the Jr. Fuel program, but made an early exit in round one.

Dawn Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo 

Part time Supercharged Outlaw member, Mark "Tex" Cooper, normally cruises the streets of Kokomo, Indiana, with his street legal, blown '55 Chevy.  Running a BBC on an alcohol diet, this 3,000 lb. beast can run 7.70s all day long.  Cooper competed in the Combo Gas eliminator, but decided to head home after round one.
Red Coleman, a former Super Stock racer of the 60s, found this psychedelic '72 Cuda in a barn outside of Nashville, Tennessee. After a very long retirement away from the sport, the 65-year-old veteran has decided to try his hand behind the wheel of a funny car, restore the original paint scheme, and set personal e.t./m.p.h. goals for himself. Red accomplished one during the event....he wanted to run 160 m.p.h... he was very proud to share his time slip that showed he ran 161. Bless your heart, Red!

Dawn Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Tim Gibson and Team Mastercam made the trip to Indy, and qualified in the 8th spot of the "A" field with a "multi-rod-slinging" 6.57. In a mirrored effort of the March Meet, the team thrashed another motor together into the wee hours Saturday night, (thank goodness they remembered to bring along the spare parts this time) and made the Sunday morning first round call against Roger Lechtenberg. Gibson garnered an e.t. improving 6.49, but that was no match for Roger Lechtenberg's jaw dropping 5.98 blast!
Charlie Smith nailed the number one qualifying spot in the Jr. Fuel program with a 7.61/175 mph effort. Smith reached the final round against number two qualifier Scott Parks, but his 7.56 wasn't enough for Parks' winning 7.44.

Dawn Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Troy Green debuted his new Top Fuel car at Indy, and qualified 6th in the "A" field with a personal best 6.294/210 mph. Troy attempted to upset Larry Gotelli Jr. in the first round, hitting a .494 r.t. to Gotelli's .518 light. Gotelli reeled in Green on the top end though, with a winning 6.087/225.41 to Green's very game 6.365/194.04. Nice job, Troy!
Eric Martin of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, owns and handles driving duties of the "Wildfire" entry. Eric found this relic in Witchita, Kansas, and has been trying to confirm reports that this was Shirley Muldowney's last funny car.

Frank Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Jason "Lawnmower Man" Howell made the long trip from Seattle, WA., to try his luck down the famed Indy quarter mile. Howell qualified in the 3rd spot with a 6.12, and lasted until the second round. Jason incurred a fuel leak after the burnout, and while the crew was trying to fix the problem, someone accidentally bumped the 'chute handle, dumping the chute on the line. Doh!
Brian Kohlman treated the fans to funny car length burnouts in his blown '65 Dodge S/FX entry.  Kohlman competed in the Combo Gas Eliminator, where he lasted until the second round.

Dawn Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Jim Lutz of Hamel, MN competed in the Nostalgia Combo eliminator in his neatly flamed Fiat altered.
Brendan Murry debuted this gorgeous Y2K Stirling creation at Indy, and wound up qualifying 7th in the tough Top Fuel "A" field with a 6.56. Murry stepped up in the opening round, but wasted his 6.51 against Jason "Lawnmower Man" Howell's 6.77, as a result of a .226 redlight! Ouch!

Dawn Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Al Pridemore, a two-time Supercharged Outlaw Champion, donned his trusty fire suit once again to compete for the Top Fuel program with the "Time Bandit" entry. The Garrettsville, Ohio, resident ended up securing a spot in the "B" field, and would meet Kent Terry in the opening round. Terry left the line before the tree was even activated, and Pridemore followed suit. Both drivers were disqualified. Hmphh!
Rob Bruce of Flint, Michigan, found Arnie Beswick's old funny car body, and has reincarnated it as the "Zombie".

Frank Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Larry Gotelli Jr. qualified in the number two spot of the tough Top Fuel "A' field, with a 6.10/235 mph shot. Gotelli escaped an early departure in round two, despite the fact that he redlighted. Roger Lechtenberg, Gotelli's second round opponent, was oblivious to Gotelli's early leave and was more than likely out to reset low e.t. of the event, before his fueler decided to become a handful and cross the centerline....thus enforcing the "first or worst" rule for the pair.
Mark Terrill, who also resides in Kokomo, Indiana and is a former Supercharged Outlaw member, has decided to try his hand in the AA/FA class. In spite of sounding terrific on warm-ups and wailing out burnouts, persistent clutch problems prevented Mark from ever making a pass.

Dawn Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

The Champion Speed Shop entry, driven by Rance McDaniel, qualified 5th in the Top Fuel "A" field with a 6.22/200.80 mph effort. McDaniel cut a better light and was on a helluva run against Jack Harris in the opening round, until the Chevy powered entry spewed flamed exotic matter and banged the blower through the lights. (I felt the concussion of the explosion under my feet at the starting line!) McDaniel lost a close one, 6.105/225.22 to Harris' 6.032/240.00.
Top Fuel "A" field runner-up Jack Harris, nabbed the number one qualifying position in the final session with a stout 6.05/240 mph effort. Harris lasted until the final round, where he lost a close battle against Gotelli Jr....6.01 to a 6.01!

Dawn Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Ken Chase of Kansas City, MO, spent seven years searching and restoring the "Pandemonium" Barracuda entry, formerly campaigned by Bob Sullivan of AHRA fame.
Current Supercharged Warrior member Pat Ellerholz, took time away from the match race circuit to compete in the Nostalgia Eliminator class. This consistent 7.60 altered is a real crowd pleaser, and lasted until the second round.

Frank Mazi Photo

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