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THE DRO/NITRONIC RESEARCH TOP TEN AA FUNNY CAR LIST
1. Man O' War  
2. Troy Lee Designs  
3. Pedaler  
4. Plueger & Gyger  
5. Mr. Explosive  
6. Bucky's Service Center  
7. Code Red II  
8. Poverty Stricken  
9. Violator  
10. LA Hooker  
 
DRO/Nitronic Research Top 10 AA/Funnny Car List

ROMINE ROCKETS TO THE TOP; “MAN-O-WAR” NUMBER ONE ON DRO AA/FUNNY CAR LIST

Like the racehorse of the same name, the Indiana-based “Man-O-War” ’79 Mustang powered to the lead spot on the DRO AA/Funny Car Top Ten List. Jockeyed by drag-strip veteran Paul Romine and deftly co-tuned by motorman Mike Cavalieri, Romine’s entry achieved this accolade by virtue of a series of performances in 2010 that were often highlighted by outrageous speeds and lickety-split elapsed times.

The DRO Top Ten List rewards points based on setting both Low Elapsed Time and Top Speed as well claiming Top Eliminator at any of 2010’s open competition 8-car (or more) Nitro Funny Car races that followed Heritage Series or VRA rules. With those parameters established, Romine propelled his machine to the #1 position on the List by defeating all comers in St. Louis, Cedar Falls, and Kansas City. As further proof as his prowess, “Man-O-War” turned Top Time as the March Meet (a blistering 254 mph) as well as Low ET at Kansas City and Cordova.

(Jeff Burk photo)

(Darr Hawthorne photo)

But as impressive as Romine’s year was, it wasn’t like no one nipped as his hooves. To wit, Canadian hot-shoe Tim Boychuk claimed the second spot on the Top Ten List with “Troy Lee Designs” Firebird, earning this status by capturing event wins at Vegas, Boise and in British Columbia. In fact, at the Boise and Vegas races the team pulled the proverbial hat trick, not only winning the race but also posting Low ET and Top Speed, feats that were rather humbling—if not devastating—to the rest of the field. TLD’s times can be attributed to the machinations of its crew chief, Nitro Zen master Roland Leong. As further punctuation, Leong tuned Boychuk to a season-ending pair of powerful numbers at Bakersfield’s California Hot Rod Reunion, setting Low ET with a 5.78 and tripping the top-end timers for Top Speed at 249 mph. As its coup de grace, in a match race in Pomona at the NHRA Finals, Boychuk reeled off a 5.63, the quickest ET ever recorded by a Heritage-style “Prostalgia” Funny Car. Although the 5.63 was recorded during match race conditions and was therefore academic for DRO’s List’s purposes, nevertheless this performance was proof positive of TLD’s status among the baddest nitro-powered coupes on the planet.

(Darr Hawthorne photo)

Gary Turner’s “Pedaler” represented California rather authoritatively, and earned the #3 spot on the List by hitting the road with driver Kris Krabill and tuner Cory Lee. Last summer they touched down like a tornado, absolutely terrorizing the Midwest, decimating the entire field at Cordova’s Nostalgiafest while winning the event with the quickest and fastest runs of the meet (5.92 seconds at 242mph), before posting similar superlative numbers a month later at Cedar Falls, Iowa.

(Darr Hawthorne photo)

Fellow Left Coast nitromaniacs “Plueger & Gyger” powered their way to the top half of the charts, beginning at the season opening March Meet, where they withstood five arduous rounds of competition in what some pundits consider the toughest AA/Funny Car ever. Fueled by the charm and pluck of toothsome distaff driver Leah Pruett-LeDuc, who convinced the pole-dance mongers Deja Vu to part with some of its stripper rolls and help finance a proper race car, Plueger & Gyger also won the California Hot Rod Reunion as well as the Heritage Series Points Title, and enters 2011 at #4 on the List. Unfortunately, it also enters the season out of cash and the Plueger-Gyger-Pruett-LeDuc combination is parked at press time—at least, provisionally.

(Darr Hawthorne photo)

The 5th spot is claimed by a Northwestern entry, the Sanders family-campaigned “Mr. Explosive” from Maple Valley, Washington, who set off alarms at the Funny Car Fever race at Sacramento and the Drag Fest bash at Bakersfield.

Other list members represent sundry sections of the country: #6 Bucky Austin’s “Bucky’s Service Center” Plymouth Arrow from Tacoma, Washington; #7 is California trucking scion Lee-Paul Jennings and his “Code Red II”; #8 goes to Peter Gallen’s “Poverty Stricken” from Pennsylvania; #9 belongs to Shawn Bowen’s “Violator” Firebird from Michigan; and #10 is the Steve Rajcic-shoed “LA Hooker” Arrow out of La Mirada, California, and also campaigned by the Plueger & Gyger axis.

Yes, the List is a motley mix of nitro-burning machines from diverse corners across the continent, sheathed in eclectic body styles and driven and tuned by disparate personality-types. But in spite of its diversity, List members are united by their ferocity, cutthroat competitiveness and pride. At the upcoming March Meet, look for racers like Bucky Austin and Peter Gallen to show Roland Leong, Cory Lee and Paul Romine that when the staging lights glow and the rubber meets the road, the List is just a piece of paper, pal. — Cole Coonce

51ST MARCH MEET—Bakersfield, CA

Low ET: Steve Rajcic, LA Hooker, 5.67
Top Speed: Paul Romine, Man-O-War, 254 mph
Top Eliminator: Leah Pruett-LeDuc, Plueger & Gyger

29TH FUNNY CAR FEVER—Sacramento, CA

Low ET: Plueger & Gyger, 5.73
Top Speed: Plueger & Gyger, 255 mph
Top Eliminator: Mark Sanders, Mr. Explosive

DRAG FEST—Bakersfield, CA

Low ET: Mark Stuckey, “Nitro Stang,” 5.86
Top Speed: Mr. Explosive, 245 MPH
Top Eliminator: Mr. Explosive

LAS VEGAS ROCKABILLY REUNION

Low ET: Troy Lee Designs, 5.77
Top Speed: Troy Lee Designs, 247 MPH
Top Eliminator: Troy Lee Designs

ST. LOUIS MUSCLE CAR REUNION

Low ET: Man-O-War, 5.91
Top Speed: Shawn Bowen, Violator, 239 MPH
Top Eliminator: Man-O-War

GOODGUYS INDY HOT ROD NATIONALS

Low ET: Peter Gallen, Poverty Stricken, 5.90
Top Speed: Man-O-War, 244 MPH
Top Eliminator: Poverty Stricken

SACRAMENTO NITRO NIGHT OF FIRE

Low ET: Lee-Paul Jennings, Code Red II, 5.77
Top Speed: Code Red II, 258 MPH
Top Eliminator: Roger “Rapid” Garten, “War Horse”

3RD NOSTALGIAFEST—Cordova Dragway Park

Low ET: Kris Krabill, Pedaler, 5.92
Top Speed: Pedaler, 242 mph
Top Eliminator: Pedaler

2010 NOSTALGIA DRAGS—Cedar Falls, IA

Low ET: Pedaler, 5.98
Top Speed: Pedaler, 240.47
Top Eliminator: Man-O-War

NHRA NATIONAL OPEN—Mission, BC

Low ET: Troy Lee Designs, 5.70  
Top Speed: Troy Lee Designs, 253 mph
Top Eliminator: Troy Lee Designs

39TH NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS—Boise, ID

Low ET: Mark Hentges, Bucky’s Service Center 5.77
Top Speed: Bucky’s Service Center, 247 mph
Top Eliminator: Troy Lee Designs

57th WORLD SERIES OF DRAG RACING—Cordova, IL

Low ET: Man-O-War, 5.79
Top Speed: Man-O-War, 242mph
Top Eliminator, Mike Savage “Candies & Hughes”

KC MUSCLE CAR REUNION—Kansas City

Low ET: Man-O-War, 5.84
Top Speed: Violator, 244 mph
Top Eliminator: Man-O-War

2010 CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION—Bakersfield, CA

LOW ET: Troy Lee Designs, 5.78
Top Speed: Jason Rupert, Mert Littlefield Tribute 250 mph
Top Eliminator: Plueger & Gyger

 

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