A little of this, a little of that

From vintage drag cars found in hiding to some great old videos, new websites, and a resurfaced old drag racing board game, there's lots to catch up on in this week's Dragster Insider.
24 Mar 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Foulk
Back from another thrilling Gatornationals weekend – how ‘bout that Jonnie Lindberg making it to the Funny Car final in his debut? – with just enough time to catch my breath and do some scribbling for National Dragster before heading for Las Vegas…
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A work in progress

Like assembling a new car using old parts, so has been the challenge of resurrecting the archives of the Dragster Insider column. Old pieces that don't fit, new pieces that need a little massaging, and a whole lot of other work beneath the hood, but well worth it.
10 Mar 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Archives
Ever since NHRA.com migrated to this new site, a common lament among Insider followers was the loss of the column archives, which for years were easily accessible on the old site. Visitors could either used the collapsible year/month navigation and…
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Let there be lights!

Master racecar airbrush artist Kenny Youngblood discusses the fine but mostly lost art of painting faux headlights and grilles on Funny Cars.
03 Mar 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Dennis Taylor's Evil, Wicked, mean and Nasty Mustang 6
A few columns ago, we all were discussing the many faces of Don Prudhomme’s first Hot Wheels Funny Car, marveling at the number of changes it underwent in its debut season, especially in the grille and headlight area. The whole discussion got me…
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The Art of Matt Levonas, Part 2

Last week I showed off some of the marvelous artwork by NHRA’s Northwest Division Director Matt Levonas and I’m back with more this week, including some cool 1970s Funny Cars.
24 Feb 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
LDR
Last week I showed off some of the marvelous artwork by NHRA’s Northwest Division Director Matt Levonas (you can find the article linked in the bar at left), and I’m back with more this week. As you all know, I’m a sucker for 1970s Funny Cars, so…
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The Art of Matt Levonas

Northwest Division Director Matt Levonas' passion for racing goes far beyond his divisional duties, as he's also a talented artist whose work spans the history of the sport. Here's a look at some of his nostalgic pieces.
17 Feb 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
art
When I was five years old, I made a drawing in my first grade class of George Washington astride a horse that my teacher raved about. Unfortunately for me, that’s probably still the level of my drawing skills. Sure, I can paint a picture in words,…
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News of the Week

In this week's Dragster Insider: Famous Funny Cars on the auction block, a female pioneer gets her due, and a farewell to a 1970s Pro Stock mainstay.
03 Feb 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
News
If it's Friday when you’re reading this, I’m in Phoenix for the NHRA Nitro Spring Training preseason testing, getting my first annual whiff of nitro, but I wish I’d have been in Arizona a couple of weekends ago for the Barrett Jackson auction in…
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How Frank Hawley came to drive the Chi-Town Hustler

Frank Hawley drove the Chi-Town Hustler Funny Car to two NHRA championships but how he got to drive the fabled machine is a tale of chance and fortitude. Even he didn't think he would get the job.
27 Jan 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Chi-Town 81
Although the new-look website prevents me from carrying over the familiar graphical banner and “The stories behind the stories” motto that headed this column for almost a decade, the motto and mantra still remains part of why I love this column…
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Remembering Pat Minick and the legend of the Chi-Town Hustler

20 Jan 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Pat Minick
The passing of Pat Minick, original driver of the famed Chi-Town Hustler Funny Car, on Thursday took me by surprise and saddened me in the way that I mourn the loss of the pioneers of our sport. The heroes that I grew up reading about on the pages…
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Of national consciousnesses and Pandora's Box

13 Jan 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Hot Wheels
Last week’s column on the many looks of Don Prudhomme’s first Barracuda included the statement that the car was the one “That launched Prudhomme’s name into the national consciousness.” I quickly heard from Insider regulars Dennis Friend and…
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The many faces of 'Snake's Cuda

06 Jan 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Snake Cuda
Insider readers got such a charge late last year out of James Ibusuki’s detailed recounting of the many faces of the fabled Jungle Jim” Liberman Vega that I’m revisiting the idea again, this time using Don Prudhomme’s first Hot Wheels Barracuda as…
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Twas the Friday before Christmas

23 Dec 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Twas the night
Twas the Friday before Christmas, and all ‘cross the Nation Insider fans were fretting, thinking Phil’s on vacation. The browsers were loaded to the designated page In hopes of a column with which to engage. With letters all nestled correctly…
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'Jungle's' Vega: Who knows which nose?

16 Dec 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Many longtime NHRA fans may remember artist James Ibusuki, who burst onto the scene in the 1990s with a series of stunningly accurate, photo-realistic lithographs depicting great scenes from drag racing history. Although his business was a…
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It's 'Jungle,' by a nose ... and other stuff

09 Dec 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
As we get closer to the holidays and prepare to shut down the Insider for another year, I wanted to circle back to a few topics and address some other outstanding issues. I’m not sure how many more columns I’ll have this year, but as long as there’s…
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NHRA Funny Car champs over the years

02 Dec 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
As we wind down this 50 Years of Funny Car celebration, with Ron Capps – a huge fan of the history of our sport -- finally and fittingly crowned the champion, I took a look back over the list of champions who had preceded him and whose company he…
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Farrrrrr out ... it's 'Jungle Jim's' Vega

18 Nov 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Liberman
As “Jungle Jim” Liberman probably would have exclaimed, having the No. 1 Funny Car of all time on the fan-voted top-20 list is pretty “farrrrrr out.” Yes, race fans, when the final votes were tabulated, Liberman’s vaunted ’73 Vega emerged…
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The final showdown: 'Jungle' vs. Force

“Jungle Jim” or “Brute Force”? Nostalgic hero or modern-day legend? Vega or Firebird? Those are the questions that will be answered this weekend in Pomona when NHRA unveils the car atop the list of its yearlong fan vote among the top 20 Funny Cars of all time.
11 Nov 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
“Jungle Jim” or “Brute Force”? Nostalgic hero or modern-day legend? Vega or Firebird? Those are the questions that will be answered this weekend in Pomona when NHRA unveils the car atop the list of its yearlong fan vote among the top 20 Funny…
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Funny Car Breakfast of Champions

04 Nov 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
NHRA’s annual SEMA Breakfast Wednesday saluted the yearlong 50 Years of Funny Car celebration and was the site of the official reveal of the top two cars in the yearlong fan-voted Top 20 Funny Cars list, though most people already knew that…
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The top three: Liberman

28 Oct 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
With the big reveal coming this weekend on which of the three finalists in the Top 20 Funny Cars list will make the final pairing, it’s time to take a look at the third car on the list: “Jungle Jim” Liberman’s 1973 Vega…
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The top three: Force

21 Oct 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Continuing my review of the three cars and drivers remaining in the Top 20 Funny Cars polls, we move from Dale Pulde’s ’77 War Eagle Pontiac to John Force’s ’96 Castrol Firebird. Again, don’t read anything into me…
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The top three: Pulde

14 Oct 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
With the Top 20 Funny Cars list whittled down to just three – “Jungle Jim” Liberman’s '73 Vega, Dale Pulde’s '77 War Eagle Trans Am, and John Force’s '96 Castrol Firebird -- and the top two not to be announced for…
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The top three

07 Oct 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Last Sunday’s reveal of Don Prudhomme’s '75 Army Monza as the No. 4 Funny Car on the Top 20 fan-vote list whittles our list down to just three entries, with the No. 3 spot scheduled to be revealed Sunday of the NHRA Toyota Nationals in…
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Key players from the Keystone State

30 Sep 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Another week on the road, and another “retro” column from the Phil Burgess Archives to tide you over. When this column is published, I’ll be in Reading for the Dodge NHRA Nationals (Keystone Nationals for all you old-timers), and…
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Missouri's finest fuelers

23 Sep 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads this weekend to Gateway Motorsports Park, almost in the shadow of the famed Gateway Arch that is the symbol of St Louis. Although the racetrack actually is in Madison, Ill., NHRA markets the event…
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Frank Oglesby and the Mello Yello Mustang

16 Sep 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Fans at the recent Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals got to witness a special moment that hasn’t been seen on the dragstrip for almost 30 years: a Funny Car flying the colors of Mello Yello soft drink, the title sponsor of NHRA’s…
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A 'fiberglass forest' in Indy

09 Sep 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
It was only appropriate during this yearlong celebration of 50 Years of Funny Car that the world’s biggest and greatest drag race host the best display of vintage Funny Cars this season, and so it was that at the Chevrolet Performance U.S…
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Indy's Funny Car heroes

02 Sep 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is such a huge and historic event that winning the prestigious race even once can make a driver’s career, but throughout the years, a number of nitro-fueled drivers have tasted the fruits of Indy…
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My Favorite Fuelers: Ed McCulloch

26 Aug 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Due to some unforeseen circumstances and the rapidly approaching Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the ol’ Insider is going to take a brief hiatus on original material. I don’t want to leave you high and dry, so I’m going to…
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Buster Couch: Tales from the starting line

19 Aug 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Last Thursday, on the eve of the national event at his old home track, former NHRA Chief Starter Mark Lyle was remembered by family, friends,…
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More Seattle 64 Funny Cars stories

12 Aug 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Bench racing and remembering with Insider regular Robert Nielsen (above) and Don O'Byrne and Bill Doner (below) in Seattle. I’m back from an incredible weekend in Seattle, where, appropriately, after last week’s…
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Seattle 64 Funny Cars, 1976

05 Aug 2016
Phil Burgess, National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
1   By the time that most of you read this, I’ll be at Pacific Raceways covering the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national event at the track formerly known as Seattle Int’l Raceway, which is perfect timing for this…
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