NHRA fans will see a new Funny Car team hit the track this season as San Francisco Bay Area glass contractor Tony Jurado has teamed with rising nitro tuner Jason Bunker to build a Mustang Funny Car that will debut in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series this season.
Jurado, 57, who cut his racing teeth in A/Gas, 6.90 Doorslammers, the North California-based Extreme Pro Mod West, and NHRA Heritage Nostalgia Funny Car action, will drive the new Murf McKinney-chassised machine while Bunker, who has served as assistant crew chief on the Dustin Davis-run entries of Richard Townsend (FC) and Justin Ashley (TF), will handle the tune-up duties with assistance from former world championship-winning crew chief and mentor, Lance Larsen.
Jurado and Bunker met while Bunker was tuning on Marc Meadors’ Goodguys Racing Pro Mod and Nitro Funny Car from 2008 until 2015 and assisted Jurado with direction while he made the step up to the Nostalgia Funny Car ranks as a middle step to racing in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.
“It was always my goal to go ‘big-show’ racing, but I didn’t want to just jump into it,” explained Jurado. “Everything has been done with a methodical approach. We had originally planned to run the nostalgia car for another year while we built the big-show car, but it all came together a lot faster than we thought it would.”
The team has purchased hard parts like blocks, intake manifolds, and cylinder heads from John Force Racing and received tune-up direction and guidance from JFR. They purchased their primary Mustang body from Tim Wilkerson then bought two spares from the Force team. The car will wear the same black with purple flames design as the nostalgia car until a primary sponsor is secured, which the team is actively searching for.
“The JFR guys have been wonderful,” said Jurado. “I think they realized that the sport needs more teams like ours. We honestly could not be this far along without their help. They have been phenomenal, and we cannot thank them enough. The car is just about ready to start, and we’re looking for a place to test and upgrade my license.”
Jurado, whose best pass in about 50 runs in the nostalgia Funny Car is 5.71 at 259 mph, hopes to complete licensing near the end of February and run six to eight events, with a schedule heavily dependent on COVID adjustments.
“The initial plan was to run all of the West Coast races — both Pomonas, both Vegas events, Phoenix, Sonoma, and Seattle — but like everyone, we're going to have to play it by ear,” said Jurado, who has not pinpointed a debut event. “If I have to travel a little, I will. You could see us in places like Topeka, Texas, St. Louis, and Indy, but everything on the West Coast is so uncertain right now," said Jurado.
“We have all of the parts we need, and I have great support in the shop, guys who have raced with me since 2010, and Jason has assembled a team for the road, all quality ‘big-show’-experienced guys.
“I feel very comfortable and confident and think I know what I’m in for. I know it's going to be a handful, but I’m prepared for the challenge,” said Jurado.
Primary backing, at least initially, will come from Jurado’s Capitol Glass Co., a medium-sized glazing contractor based in Hayward, Calif., with between 75-100 employees. The company has been in business since 1942, and Jurado joined the company in 1981. Less than two decades later, he became its owner.
Jurado will continue to seek partners, including from those within the construction industry with whom he can share synergy and possible B2B partnerships. Jurado has already signed on his first backer, Ray Drysdale, founder of Pure Crop1. Pure Crop1 is an all-in-one organic insecticide and fungicide IPM solution. The team is also bringing current partners Peerless Window, Lucas Oil, CP-Carrillo, DMPE, DJ Safety, Moore Performance, APT, and PRC Fabrication along as part of the new venture.
Said Drysdale, “In brief, I am a very selective supporter of various forms of PureCrop1 professional racing marketing investments, and Tony Jurado has carefully planned & assembled a first-class race team to compete in the NHRA Pro F/C category. The NHRA Fox Sports TV broadcasts, the new Camping World sponsorship, including the long-storied farming/racing connection, is also why PureCrop1 is on board here."
“We’re going to race as much as possible with what we currently have, and as we get additional funding, we can look at other potential options,” said Jurado. “I’m excited about what the future holds.”