with Brendan Murry’s AA/Fueler
Vintage racing is where it’s
at for this SoCal racer.
By Dale Wilson
Murry lives in the past and loves it. He races a front-engine
fuel dragster, for one. Its method of power is not the venerable
Chrysler hemi but a 400 cubic-inch big-block Chevy --- a Donovan
type, for those of you who came in late.
He races with a single MSD magneto, a “slow”
fuel pump that delivers 20 pounds, and his 200-inch Stirling
dragster is shod with 12-inch slicks. It’s so far a
cry from today’s multi-magged, 16-sparkplug, computer-everything-driven
Top Fuelers as to be almost a distant cousin.
Nevertheless, Murry, of San Jose, California, a racing parts
dealer and seller, and restorer of muscle cars and street
rods who is partnered with girlfriend Karen Oie in the business
(Performance Motorsports /www.racecarparts.com) has gone a
best of 5.87 at 243 mph in Goodguys and nostalgia fuel racing
circuits from Bakersfield to Sacramento to Bowling Green.
Murry claims his “Running Wild” FED is the fastest
and quickest big-block Chevy ever. Four-hundred inches and
a 200-inch-long dragster equals 5.80s! Unreal!
At the most recent NHRA Hot Rod Reunion, held this past June
at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Kentucky, Murry beat the No.
1 favorite in AA/Fuel Dragster, Jack “the Sheriff”
Harris of Kaysville, Utah, and lost in the final to Sean Bellemeur
of Camarillo, California, only after suffering mechanical
problems at half-track. It was Sean’s second consecutive
win in two outings at the Reunion at Bowling Green. Murry
says just you wait until the 2006 east-coast Hot Rod Reunion.
“I’m gonna win,” he says.
It’s the way these fuel-fired FEDs look that gets Murry’s
“I like them for their visual appeal, plus we get to
race a fast car. We’ll race 15 or 16 times this year,
so there’s plenty of racing for us. We get to travel.
The people are really great. I tell people this a lot: If
I needed a kidney, I’d be better off going to the racers
and ask to borrow one for a week than ask somebody in my family.
These people will give you everything. It’s a big family.
We’re all related in a perverse sort of way,”
In 1968 or ’69, Murry, now 44, went to the AHRA World
Finals at Fremont. He was eight or nine years old at the time.
His next door neighbor took him, and he remembered that forever.
“It was a good 10 years before I went to a race again,
and when I went again, I was there every week. There were
front-engine dragsters all over at that AHRA race, even then.
It was a big deal.” A hook was set.
Murry has been vintage racing since the early 1980s, and
to him, it had more of a visual appeal than with the late-model
cars. His options at the time, he says, were bracket racing
and Super Comp, not exactly appealing to a young “old
head,” so a front-engine dragster it had to be. He soon
had one. “Actually, I had the last car to go down the
old Fremont Drag Strip. It was a 196-inch Shoemaker front-engine
dragster with a blown big-block Chevy, in 1988. It was a Wednesday
night, after Fremont’s last race,” Murry says.