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Farewell to 'the Dones'

Legendary 1970s racetrack operator and promoter Bill Doner, who died last week, was a lot of things to a lot of people -- benefactor, starmaker, friend, adversary, storyteller -- but above all he was loved, revered, and respected by those in his universe.
23 Aug 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Bill Doner
The first time I ever saw Bill Doner was in a photo that was circulating among the National Dragster staff in 1982, my first year at the magazine. Now, that might sound like a pretty crazy admission by someone who attended pretty…
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64 Years of Indy Trivia

The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals will celebrate its 65th running in just a few days, and a lot of history has been created across the decades. Here's a look at some of the interesting trivia from the event that we've put together.
20 Aug 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Indy
Ten years ago, I wrote this column with a slew of trivia about the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. In the decade since, a lot has changed and some of it hasn’t, so in honor of…
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For two fans, when it comes to the U.S. Nationals, it's a lifelong love affair

At this year's Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, as they have been for the last 60 years, when the event was held in Detroit, two longtime fans of the sport will be settled into their seats watching all of the action at the 65th edition of the "Big Go."
09 Aug 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Indy
It’s one thing to say you’ve been to every edition of the NHRA New England Nationals, which is just seven years old, but when it comes to an event like the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, which celebrates its 65th running this year at…
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Saluting U.S. Nationals history: "Ohio George" Montgomery dominates early Nationals

Between 1955 and 1963, only one driver, George Montgomery, had won NHRA's Nationals more than once, and, incredibly, he had won it three times before anyone had even won it twice.
26 Jul 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
George Montgomery
The 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is coming up, and promises to be a celebration…
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Saluting U.S. Nationals history: Prudhomme, Leong, and the spirit of '65

The 65th Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is just round the corner and the number 65 itself is a great piece of event history. In 1965, Winternationals winners Don Prudhomme and car owner Roland Leong became the first to win two NHRA national events in a season when they won at Indy after a long road trip.
12 Jul 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Don Prudhomme
The 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is coming up, and promises to be a celebration of the…
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Saluting U.S. Nationals history: The story of Marvin "Who?" Graham

The 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is coming up and promises to be a celebration of the event’s long and rich history. In the months leading up the event, we'll chronicle some of the great stories that made Indy the world’s biggest and most important drag race. This week: Indy's "unknown" Top Fuel winner.
28 Jun 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Marvin Graham
The 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is coming up, and promises to be a celebration of the…
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A little catchup time

Remembering Funny Car owner Jim Green, photo researching with Don Prudhomme, and catching up with Marvin "Who?" Graham.
14 Jun 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Insider
Just a quick little update today to keep the wheels rolling. As I noted a few weeks ago, with the new race weekend scheme on NHRA.com where we post a ton more stories than in the past, I’d rather not have the Insider columns buried by the race…
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Color our world: Remembering master racecar painter Bill Carter

Legendary race car painter “Wild Bill” Carter created some of the most memorable paint jobs for some of the sport’s most famous racers.
07 Jun 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Bill Carter
Don Prudhomme. Shirley Muldowney. Tom McEwen. Ed McCulloch. Tommy Ivo. Joe Pisano. Dale Pulde. Tony Nancy. Tom Hoover. K.S. Pittman. That’s a pretty solid Drag Racing First Team. That’s also just a partial customer list for renowned racecar…
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The Sands of (Elapsed) Time

The early 1980s was an interesting time in drag racing when sand racers defected in huge numbers to the asphalt and introduced us to future world champions like Alan Johnson and Gary Scelzi and a slew of other talented racers.
24 May 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Alan Johnson
Spurred by my last column's tribute to Jim DePasse, who came to NHRA drag racing via the sand drag route, crystalized in my memory an interesting time in drag racing when sand…
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Gone but not forgotten

Southern California racer Jim DePasse made a name for himself drag racing on both sand and asphalt. He wasn't the best-known racer among NHRA fans, but as NHRA National Dragster Editor Phil Burgess remembers him, he was a friend to many.
10 May 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Insider
It doesn’t matter if you’re joining a new racing team, a new neighborhood, or a new job, it always goes easier for you if you find someone who befriends you, welcomes you in, and makes life easier for you. Jim DePasse did that for me in my early…
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Modeling mementos

Harold Satterlee is honoring his uncle, "Famous Amos" Satterlee, by creating models of his uncle's famous cars, often melding together multiple kits to get the parts right and to to preserve his uncle's legacy. Also, some loving memories from one of Amos' grandchilden.
19 Apr 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Amos Satterlee
My late stepfather used to say funny things like, “As an electrician, he makes one helluva plumber” which was a nice way of saying that someone might be out of their element. To that end, as a model builder, I was one helluva dishwasher (or…
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Not just a nickname: 'Famous Amos' Satterlee was that and much more

Legendary nitro tuner "Famous Amos" Satterlee passed away April 4 at age 88. He left behind a legacy of broken records, race wins, and drag racing championships on asphalt, water, and sand.
12 Apr 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Amos Satterlee
Someone famous once told me that the best nicknames were the ones that someone else came up with for you, that's it's embarassing to give yourself a bragging kind of nickname, and it’s hard to dispute that. Most of the best drag racing…
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Remembering Bobby Vodnik and Frank Oglesby

One came to fame as a teenager ahead of his prime and the other with a sponsor that was ahead of its time, but this week we mourn them together with the passings last weekend of NHRA pioneers Bobby Vodnik and Frank Oglesby.
28 Mar 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Insider
One came to fame as a teenager ahead of his prime and the other with a sponsor that was ahead of its time, but this week we mourn them together with the passings last weekend of Bobby Vodnik and Frank Oglesby. Neither name might be familiar to…
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The story of the first Gatornationals Top Fuel win, from the inside

Dave Chenevert was the first Gatornationals Top Fuel winner way back in 1970 and the first of 30 different drivers to win Top Fuel at Gainesville Raceway. Relive that wild weekend from the memory of one of his teenage crewmembers, Fred Mooneyham, himself a future Top Fuel driver.
22 Mar 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Gainesville
With his back-to-back victories at the 2018 and ’19 events, Richie Crampton became the 49th and 50th Top Fuel winners in Gatornationals history, but does anyone remember the first? Former Top Fuel driver Fred Mooneyham does, because he was…
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50 Memorable Moments in Gatornationals history

The Gatornationals, the third oldest event on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, has a deep and rich heritage that ensures its place in the history books and in the hearts and minds of racers and fans alike. Here's a look back at 50 Memorable Moments from the event’s colorful history.
15 Mar 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Gainesville
The Gatornationals, the third oldest event on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, has a deep and rich heritage that ensures its place in the history books and in the hearts and minds of racers and fans alike. Added to the national…
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Remembering Ezra Boggs

Ezra Boggs and the Moby Dick Funny Car were match-race mainstays in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and occasional national event competitors. Boggs passed away Feb. 20 and was remembered by friends.
08 Mar 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Ezra Boggs
I always thought that Funny Car Ezra Boggs had one of the coolest names, and his Moby Dick Corvette was (ahem) a whale of a good car, but I never really knew much about him. When I learned of his passing Feb. 20, I set out to rectify that and…
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Gary Densham: 49 seasons and counting

No one has driven a nitro Funny Car longer than Gary Densham, who kicked off his 49th season in Pomona. The lifelong Southern Californian is a regional treasure to those who grew up watching him race his line of Teacher’s Pet floppers at tracks up and down the West Coast.
15 Feb 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Gary Densham
No one has driven a nitro Funny Car longer than Gary Densham, who kicked off his 49th season in Pomona. The lifelong Southern Californian is a regional treasure to those who grew up watching him race his line of Teacher’s Pet floppers at tracks…
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Remembering Ray Alley

The sport lost another friend yesterday with the passing of former Funny Car owner/driver Ray Alley, at age 86 after a lengthy illness. In this special column, drag racing hall of famer Kenny Bernstein remembers Alley, who gave him his first Funny Car ride.
08 Feb 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Ray Alley
The sport lost another friend yesterday with the passing of former Funny Car owner/driver Ray Alley, at age 86 after a lengthy illness. Alley’s was a name that we all knew, whether he helped you with your racecar through his long-running Engine…
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The road to Pomona

The 2019 season kicks off next Friday in Pomona, launching the NHRA season as it has every year since 1961. But how did NHRA end up planting its flag in this suburban wonderland? 
01 Feb 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Pomona
The 2019 season kicks off next Friday in Pomona, launching the NHRA season as it has every year since 1961. The Los Angeles County fairgrounds, known today as Fairplex, has become hallowed ground for NHRA race fans over the long and cherished…
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Remembering Frank Rupert

Former Top Fuel and Funny Car racer Frank Rupert passed away Friday, Jan. 4, due to complications after going into cardiac arrest. In this special Insider column, Brad Littlefield shares the history of the respected nitro veteran.
18 Jan 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Frank Rupert
The last few years have born witness to a sad trend for us hardcore fans with the passings of many drivers who we grew up watching and admiring. Last year we lost legend Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen and fan favorites like Jimmy King, versatile…
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50 years ago: The 1969 Winternationals

The 50th annual NHRA Gatornationals is fast approaching, but before we head back east, let's take a trip back in time 50 years to Pomona and the 1969 Winternationals, which was memorable for so many reasons.
11 Jan 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Pomona
  The 2019 season is upon us, kicking off in Pomona in about a month with the 50th annual Gatornationals looming as another major early-season highlight. Gainesville 2019 is going to be a wondrous trip back into time that's going to be a…
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1980s Funny Cars

The 1980s was still a time when a guy with a self-funded Funny Car still had a decent shot at winning a national event, though as the decade progressed, that likelihood diminished significantly as quickly as Kenny Bernstein and Dale Armstrong could invent new stuff.
21 Dec 2018
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Funny Car
The 1980s seem so long ago -- much longer than the 30-plus years that have elapsed since then -- especially when it comes to Funny Car racing in the decade, which is the subject of today’s column and the final installment of photos from the Ron…
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Top Fuelers of the 1980s

Let’s continue our journey through the decades with another batch of images from the Ron Lewis collection. Over the past month or so, I’ve shared photos from his five-decade collection covering the 1960s and ‘70s (Top Fuel and Funny Car) and now we’re on to 1980s Top Fuelers.
14 Dec 2018
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Top Fuel
Let’s continue our journey through the decades with another batch of images from the Ron Lewis collection. Over the past month or so, I’ve shared photos from his five-decade collection covering the…
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Remembering Dick LaHaie

Many Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers have gone on to become crew chiefs, but there aren’t a lot of guys who not only won a championship as a driver and crew chief. Dick LaHaie, whom we lost Wednesday, won the crown as a driver then tuned not just one but two drivers to a combined four Top Fuel championships.
07 Dec 2018
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Dick LaHaie
A lot of former Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers have gone on to become successful crew chiefs, but there aren’t a lot of guys in NHRA nitro racing’s history who not only won a championship as a driver but then used their mechanical skills to tune…
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Color him gone: Remembering Roger Lindamood

If you were a drag racing fan in the 1960s and 1970s, you knew the Color Me Gone name even if you couldn’t recall the name of its driver, Roger Lindamood, who tore up dragstrips around the country for more than a decade. We lost Lindamood Oct. 14, at the age of 91.
23 Nov 2018
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Funny Car
If you were a drag racing fan in the 1960s and 1970s, you knew the Color Me Gone name even if you couldn’t recall the name of its driver, Roger Lindamood. He made that kind of an impact in his 15-year career on the quarter-mile, from his…
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1970s Funny Cars!

From 1966, the first year of the class, through 1979, there were more than 500 licensed Funny Car drivers competing at NHRA events. Here's a look back at some memorable Funny Car images from the 1970s, as seen through the lens of longtime lensman Ron Lewis.
16 Nov 2018
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Funny Car
As I continue to work my way through the photo library of Ron Lewis, who generously shared with me thousands of images from his five decades of covering drag racing, we arrive at the one I’ve been most looking forward to: 1970s Funny Cars.…
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So Long, Teresa

NHRA National Dragster's long-running Photo Editor Teresa Long retired last week after more than 30 years shooting photos for the NHRA and its award-winning publication. ND Editor Phil Burgess takes a fond look back at the career of one of the sport's beloved and appreciated friends.
09 Nov 2018
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
ND
Whether you’re reading this on your mobile device in the stands while watching the action at Pomona or watching the Auto Club NHRA Finals on television, you might notice the absence of a familiar presence on the starting line. Teresa Long, …
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Top Fuelers of the '70s: The evolution

The Top Fuel class underwent a massive transition in the 1970s, from front-engined cars to rear-engine cars with all manner of aerodynamic additions. Photographer Ron Lewis shared his collection of photos that beautifully illustrate the evolution.
25 Oct 2018
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Dragster Insider
Five decades of refinement has brought the design of the modern-day Top Fueler to a knifepoint of precision. Today’s Top Fuel dragsters are mission-proven works of art; you know this because they all basically look and work alike. Oh sure, there are…
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Top Fuelers and Funny Cars of the 1960s

Drag racing photographer Ron Lewis, who’s been shooting at the drags since he was a teenager in the mid-1960s and continues to be a regular presence at Mello Yello Series events, is sharing with us some of the thousands of his vintage drag racing pics. This week: the 1960s.
19 Oct 2018
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Insider
What do you give the drag racing fan/historian/journalist who already has access to tens of thousands of historic drag racing photos? Thousands of more photos, many of them not seen in decades if ever at all! Drag racing photographer Ron Lewis,…
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Another farewell to heroes

Drag racing lost a pair of its early heroes over the last two weeks with the passings of legendary East Coast Top Fuel and Funny Car racer Jimmy King and versatile driver “Jet Car Bob” Smith. 
05 Oct 2018
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
Jimmy King
Drag racing lost a pair of its early heroes over the last two weeks with the passings of legendary East Coast Top Fuel and Funny Car racer Jimmy King and versatile driver “Jet Car Bob” Smith.  For more than a decade, King and partner Don…
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