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As a closer, this is how I became a Liberman fan. At the 1966 Drag Strip magazine East vs. West Funny Car championships, Liberman was in a best of three with Don Nicholson's all-conquering Mercury Comet. He lost both rounds as his 8.8-second Chevy Nova could not stay with Nicholson's 8.4-second FoMoCo entry. However, in round one, he lost with (I'm shooting in the dark a little here) an 8.88 with the car on the rear bumper during the entire quarter-mile run at Lions. Something else!


Along with Ronnie Sox, this is the greatest of the pioneer Super Stock period. NHRA has likely filled you in on his main contributions there, but here's something you might not be aware of: Nicholson is the drag racer with the most new second time barriers. What do I mean? Nicholson ran the first Funny Car 7-second run with a 7.96 in September, 1966, the first eight-second Pro Stock match race time in March of 1973, and the first match-race Pro Stock a 7.99 at Englishtown, New Jersey in the spring of 1978.

In addition to his NHRA exploits, Nicholson was also the 1972 AHRA Pro Stock World Champion and won eight IHRA national events in 13 final-round appearances.

It has to be one of the great "How comes" in drag racing history, but Ed McCulloch was a hot rod association World Champ just once in his life. There isn't anyone who'll say he wasn't one of the great drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car: Witness his six U.S. Nationals titles, but ...

His only world title came in his 1988 IHRA season when he won the Funny Car championship. That year, he really ruled IHRA competition, collecting 6 of 11association national event possibles. He also ran the first Funny Car 5.2-secvond time (5.25) that year at the IHRA Texas Nationals at Billy Meyer's Texas Nationals. In other years with IHRA, McCullch finished 9th (1985), and 4th in 1986 and 1987.

McCulloch's 5.13, undoubtedly mentioned in the NHRA bio, is also (maybe) the single greatest Funny Car e.t. ever in terms of longevity. He ran a 5.132 on October 7, 1989 at the Texas Motorplex NHRA Chief Nationals and that wasn't bettered until Cruz Pedregon logged a 5.102 at the NHRA Houston race in March of 1992. Don Prudhomme's '82 US. Nationals 5.63, Leroy Goldstein's or 1970 first-six, 6.95 lasted that long.

All in all, McCulloch had 22 NHRA wins (18 in Funny Car, 4 in Top Fuel), and 8 IHRA Funny Car wins. And, believe it or not, McCulloch won the Drag News Standard 1320 No. 1 spot on June 13, 1965 in a best of three match with the late Pete Robinson at Woodburn, Oregon. He had drag race driving covered at both ends of the historic spectrum, prehistoric (yipes!) and modern.


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