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1981 Top Fuel World Champion (1 Viewer)


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Thanks Robin. You know what? I never heard of a Santa Pod in America. Every time I hear that name, I think of England. Interesting that people would think it's an American name. I hope that track is there another 52 years. Oh, one more thing. Is there much interest in electric drags? Do you guys ever do that at Santa Pod? I have seen one fellow here in Phoenix who has an electric dragster that runs 8's. Way too quiet, but interesting to watch. Just curious, as I know Formula One has an electric class now, and wondering if this will eventually make it's way into drag racing. There is a 2019 Chevy Camaro that is electric and they think it will run 9's.


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Sorry for the delay, been away at the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame's annual Gala. Our Lucas Oil Global Achievement Award was presented to the SFI Foundation and received by Vice-President Jennifer Faye and a special award was made to Rich Guasco of 'Pure Hell' fame.

We have had a couple of notable electric cars here. Sam & Olly Young's 'Black Current' VW Beetle-bodied creation held the world record for a full-bodied electric car at 8.47/151, but is being rebuilt after crashing last year. Journalist and broadcaster Jonny Smith owns the world's quickest street-legal electric car, the 'Flux Capacitor' Enfield 8000, which is driven by batteries that power the rotary guns on a Bell SuperCobra attack helicopter and has run 9.86/121 at Santa Pod. The car is tiny -- its wheelbase is shorter than Jonny's height -- and you can read about it here:
This time last year I took Roland Leong and his companions to visit our National Motor Museum and found the car tucked in a corner there.

The Formula E circuit-racing organisation is entirely separate from Formula One but seems to be growing at a pace around the world, with major manufacturers piling in. Yes, all too quiet for me too, but increasingly looks like the future.

How did a thread that began with Jeb Allen wind up here?


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OK, we will tie all this together with a New Rumor. Jeb Allen to return to racing with an electric dragster. How's that? heh heh OK, that's pretty lame, just thought I'd bring it back to Jeb. By the way, I do remember Jeb getting his T/F license at Lions & also when the debuted the "back motor" car. When the rear engine cars were new, like 1971, they looked so different. had to get used to seeing the engine behind the driver.


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Why is it called a World Championship, when actually every Top Fuel racer in the "world" doesn't truly compete for it? It should be called the US Championship. Or back in the day I guess they could have called it the North American Championship, when there was a Canada race. I don't know; maybe there's a driver over in China or Croatia or Yemen who would like a crack at that title. Australia is the obvious example. But it makes you wonder - if there's a nitro team in Chile who laugh at the NHRA

Should we not call it the World Series when not every baseball team in the world has a chance to play in it? do the Cubans and Dominicans feel left out? :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:


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I don't think anyone here in Europe objects to seeing the NHRA series described as the "world championship", since it is the world's premier drag racing series and always has been.


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That's a great New Rumor. Let's add to it: Jeb vs. Big Daddy. And not a sound between them except for squealing tires.

You know, joking aside, that might be something. Garlits Vs someone currently in Pro racing, and they have identical electric dragsters. Don't know how much interest that would bring to Pro Electric, but who knows?

R.I.P. O.C.I.R.

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the clowndown emptied seats real fast for NASCAR. it seems to have done the same with drag racing. i think in a drag race all cars should stop twice going down track for fan pics. whats daytona up to?? 4?? 5?? stops in a race?? ....it is so bad some NASCAR tracks have removed grandstands so they are not seen empty on tv. we filled that grandstand at the end of pomona. 25 years ago. only 14 T/F cars at pomona1. so whats the answer? build 8 wide tracks. complete event over in a couple hours. the attention span of this generation of fans. fans of all sorts EVACUATE the grandstands as soon P/S comes out. on the other hand, if P/S is eliminated beer sales will plummet. :( ....with very few fuel cars left, you can make the countdown running just a few races. now that is genuine real excitement that will fill the grandstands. "so n so only ran X amount of races, makes the countdown" . if i went to my first drag race and seen the stop-n-go super gas cars and super comp cars fall on there face after the launch?? ....you think im going back???
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They had different ways of doing points over the years. I think that when they had the one race championship, it might have been the Division Champs who went to the race, 7 Division champs plus 1 other car to make the 8 car field. Only did that a few years, then finally went to a points system that lasted the entire season, which I think was the best. I seem to recall that Rob Bruins won the T/F championship without a win, but scored a lot of points in each race, so won on points. I
Hi Cliff,
NHRA's one race championship format actually lasted for 9 seasons, from '65 to '73.
Old magazine race reports aren't all that clear as to how you qualified to race at the World Finals. But by '69 (per SS&DI) the 7 Division champions earned guaranteed spots.
However, it was a full 16-car field w/ the rest of the slots being open. You had earned a minimum amount of Division points. For example, in '68 SS&DI states that only the top 5 points earners in each Divison were eligible to attend Tulsa. Certainly that was the case by 1970.

In '71 NHRA split the Divisions into an Eastern and Western Conferences. They also had a Traveler's Division for touring pro's. This made it easier for them to participate w/o
being locked into a single geographical Division. Also, the 8th division gave each Conference an even amount of Divisions. During those years, '71-'73, NHRA offered 24-car
eliminations but as you can imagine, they couldn't always feature a full field on Sunday.

NHRA didn't offer a FC World Champion contest until '70 which Gene Snow won w/ his all conquering "Rambunctious" Challenger.
However, the results of the following 3 seasons had unexpected winners who never nabbed another NHRA trophy:
'71-Phil Castronovo in the "Custom Body" Charger
While the "Custom Body" was certainly a strong national FC it wasn't one of the typical NHRA winners----ala Snow, Rams, Shoe, C&H or Hawaiian. Still, '71 featured a mix bag of FC winners: Hawaiian-Maas, Rams-Goldstein, Shoe, Sam Miller, Whipple-McCulloch and Larry Arnold's "King Fish." So it wasn't like Castronovo "stole" the title from another deserving '71 winner.

'72-Larry Fullerton's "Trojan Horse" Mach 1
If there was a case to be made about a "stolen" FC season '72 would be it. Because the Ace in the "Revellution" Demon won 4 out of 8 events! Shoe nabbed 2 w/ Dunn's rear eng. Cuda taking the Supernationals. Fullerton ran very hard that season, had the national Low ET record, but made no other final rounds.

'73-Frank Hall in the "Green Elephant" Vega
The "Green Elephant" was a very regional FC----a consistent Div. 6 winner. But outside of Pomona and Ontario I don't believe the Vega traveled to any other NHRA events.
Even though the "Elephant" is the biggest unexpected winner of this trio the '73 season had many 1-race FC winners so Hall's win wasn't so "inappropriate" like the previous year.
The winners in order for '73 were Shoe, Setzer-Foster, Huff-Dave Beebe, C&H-Goldstein, Jeg's-Dale Emery, Snake and McEwen (Tom's first NHRA win!).
And like Fullerton, Hall never made another NHRA final.

In '74 Shirl Greer became the first NHRA points FC champion. He dramatically won the title at Ontario when Pulde in the M/T Grand Am took out the Snake in Rd. 2, Greer's closest pursuer. This was NHRA's only points season before Winston arrived a year later. Greer's lone national event win in '74 was Le Grandnational in Canada.


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The first Finals, I think, were held in 1965 and Maynard Rupp was the TF champion.

Yes Robin, the first NHRA World Finals was held in '65 and Maynard Rupp in the "Prussian" was indeed the Top Fuel World champion.
1965 was the beginning of NHRA's "Big Four" season that added the Springnationals (Bristol) and World Finals (Tulsa) to the long-established Winternationals and Nationals (which became the US Nationals in '72). '65 was also the year that Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Roland Leong's "Hawaiian" won both Pomona and Indy. That was the first time a TF racer
had won 2 NHRA events in a single season. The feat catapulted both legendary racers on to their amazing careers. They got a lot of ink for the accomplishment.

So why did I mention this during a discussion of the the World Finals and Maynard Rupp? Well, Rupp actually won 2 NHRA events that SAME YEAR too!
He and partner Roy Steffey also won the inaugural Springnationals at Bristol. But they never got the same kind of media coverage like the "Hawaiian" team.
I think there are several reasons. First, Bristol and Tulsa were brand new events for NHRA. Hence, they had yet to build any kind of following and reputation. Secondly, both races were held in smaller markets. Next, Roland and Don benefited from their SoCal homes—being in the backyard of both NHRA and the hot rod media helped immeasurably! The "Hawaiian" was also a gorgeous looking dragster, done in big sky blue metalflake with the trademark bamboo lettering. Naturally, the sport's photographers took countless photos of the stunning dragster.

The "Prussian" wasn't nearly as glamorous looking and was a tick behind the "Hawaiian's" performance level. And finally, the "Prussian" team of Roy Steffey and Maynard Rupp didn't remain in TF for the following season. Steffey joined Eddie Schartman to campaign the 2nd ever Mercury flip-top Comet FC. They, along with "Dyno Don" Nicholson, dominated FC action in '66 because their Logghe tube chassis were miles ahead of their competition, the OEM-chassised, altered wheelbase FC teams. Meanwhile, Maynard Rupp fielded the odd looking rear-engined "Chevoom" Chevelle.


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[QUOTE="Mark Sharley,

That's an uncalled for comment. I have been making trips to Seattle since 1970.I've seen lots of history and great racing there. I have been to other tracks such as Pomona, Indy, Vegas, Charlotte, Gainesville and OCIR. Seattle deserves to be on the circuit so show some respect for owners that do this for their only business.


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I gotta admit, I'm not a fan of the countdown, but this year was really interesting, especially in F/C. And Pro Stock Motorcycle also, which went down to the final round. I really like it when the points are so close that you hold your breath each round to see what happens.[/QUOTE
How about Greg Anderson sand bagging so he could race Erica to help Jason and gets beat by a Girl 😳
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