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(Photo: NHRA)

Nitro Shots: The Good Old Days

In case you missed it, NHRA is having a season-long celebration around Funny Car, celebrating 50 years of that particular class. As part of the celebration, historic cars are making appearances at events, television coverage is featuring the drivers and cars of the past, and perhaps as a centerpiece, a season-long vote is ranking fans’ favorite Funny Cars of all time.

After soliciting hundreds of suggestions from fans, a panel of historians and journalists narrowed the list to 20 cars, spanning from the start of the class in 1966 to present day, based on the success and influence of the car. Fans then voted on the final order of those 20 cars and those results are being revealed in reverse order through the rest of the year, with the winner being announced at the season finale in Pomona.

NHRA 2016 Jack Beckman car shot courtesy NHRA
Fast Jack Beckman’s record-setting 2015 Dodge Charger is one of the 20 best Funny Cars of all time. (Photo courtesy NHRA)

What’s interesting to note is that half of the cars are from the 1970s, four from the 1960s (t’s important to note that the class didn’t get a full decade), and six from 1980 to present. Among those six, only one is from the current century, Fast Jack Beckman’s 2015 Infinite Hero Dodge. The most recent car prior to that is John Force’s Castrol Firebird from 1996.

This list does beg the question of whether the class has strayed too far from its beginnings and whether the cars have gone too far astray from something fans can actually recognize as cars. Clearly John Force’s new Camaro bears little resemblance beyond some decals from any Camaro you are going to go buy off a lot.

Or, is this just progress in a class that has developed into a display of fantasy machines, machines that fans don’t want to buy and drive themselves, but just want to enjoy the thrill of at the track? The Nitro classes surely pack the stands, but does it hurt that today’s cars have become nothing more than tools, not memorable in the same way as the Chi-Town Hustler or the Rambunctious Challenger?

What’s News?

* NHRA has released the 2017 Mello Yello Series schedule. The slate of events remains at 24 for Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock, and 16 events for Pro Stock Motorcycle. The schedule will be much the same as 2016, with just a few minor changes. Houston moves up to the fifth event of the season, swapping places with Charlotte with the Four-Wide Nationals running sixth on the slate. Fox Sports will once again provide live coverage for many of the Sunday eliminations shows, although a television schedule has not yet been released.

Driver Profile: Eddie Krawiec

NHRA 2016 Charlotte Eddie Krawiec top qualifier credit Toni Montgomery

Category: Pro Stock Motorcycle
Hometown: Bayonne, NJ
Date of birth: December 6, 1976
2016 motorcycle: Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson
Crew chief: Matt Hines
Team Owner: Byron Hines, Terry Vance

Career Highlights:
Career wins/runner-up finishes: 33/26
Best points finish: 1st in 2008, 2011, and 2012
Career best ET: 6.730, Reading, 2012
Career best speed: 199.26, Gainesville, 2011

2015 – Won four times, finished runner up four times; four-time No. 1 qualifier; finished second in points to teammate Andrew Hines.

2014 – Five wins including first U.S. Nationals title.

2012 – Won third world championship; won nine races in 11 final-round appearances.

2011 – Won second world championship.

2009 – Won first NHRA Mello Yello Series points race at Atlanta, first of five wins on the season; two-time No. 1 qualifier.

2008 – Won first Mello Yello Series world championship, only the second driver to do so without winning a race.

2004 – Made NHRA debut at Englishtown.

Follow Eddie: @EddieKrawiec on Twitter

Some things most people don’t know about Eddie: Eddie Krawiec is a former track manager at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, more commonly known as Englishtown, site of this week’s upcoming NHRA Summernationals. He also enjoys bracket racing street cars and racing go-karts. Krawiec is also trying his hand at the popular drag radial scene, running a turbocharged Camaro in the X275 classes on some of his off weekends. Krawiec’s radial car was a project in the works for about five years and finally made its debut last fall.

Hey Y’all, Watch This!

What’s one thing drivers would change about NHRA drag racing if they could? That’s a question that we asked some of the top Mello Yello Series drivers. We’ll have their answers throughout the season. This week it’s Antron Brown taking on the question. Fans might enjoy his response, but not sure how his team would feel about it!

Word of the Week: Pilot chute

This spring-loaded device pops out when a driver releases his chutes and pulls the parachute out of the pack to help the driver stop. Here’s a bonus video of Antron Brown explaining how it works.

NHRA on TV

ProgramDate/TimeChannel
AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
QualifyingFriday, November 10, 6:30 PM ETFS1 (Live)
QualifyingSaturday, November 11, 6:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)
EliminationsSunday, November 12, 4:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)
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About Toni Montgomery

Toni Montgomery
A writer for Frontstretch since 2002, and editor since 2006, Toni heads up the NHRA coverage for the site. She’s responsible for post-race coverage in the weekly Pace Laps multi-series round-up along with the weekly Nitro Shots column featuring news and features from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. An award-winning former writer for the Presbyterian Church, Toni works in web design and freelances with writing in North Carolina.

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