Bob Motz and ‘The Original Jet Truck’ also at US 131 in Final Michigan Appearance


MARTIN, Mich. – It may be the 21st century, but on Sept. 9-10 it’ll be difficult to convince those attending the 12th annual Funny Car Nationals presented by Discount Tire at US 131 Motorsports Park that they haven’t stepped back in time, back into an era in which Funny Cars had not yet become the cookie-cutter hybrids of today.


It was a time when vehicles had as much personality as the men who drove them, personalities that were reflected in the names bestowed upon them.


It was an era of the “Chi-Town Hustler,” the “Crop Duster” faithful recreations of which will vie for top honors in the most celebrated nostalgia Funny Car race in US 131’s 54-year history.


Those cars and four others will be trying to shut down the seemingly invincible 800-pound gorilla of the nostalgia circuit: three-time NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Jason Rupert of Yorba Linda, Calif.


En route to winning his third straight IHRA Pro Nitro title last month at US 131’s Northern Nationals, Rupert drove the Rupert-and-Littlefield “Rolling Thunder” 1969 Chevy Camaro through the quarter mile timers in 5.522 at 261.54 miles per hour to set the official IHRA world record.


In addition to six Funny Cars, Buddy Hull of Lockport, Ill., will drive Tom Motry’s “Drastic Plastic” 1948 Anglia fuel altered against the old style “Runaway” 2000 Pontiac Firebird Funny Car of John Lawson of Joliet, Ill., which uses a single magneto and a single fuel pump to produce 5.30 second performance at more than 270 mph.


Finally, the pro show will include “Nitro Mike” Kunz of Mission, B.C., in his 2010 PT Cruiser wheelstander, Dom Lagana of Scarsdale, N.Y., in his 330 mph Nitro Ninja Top Fuel dragster, the throwback cars of the Nostalgia Drag Racing League (NDRL) and what likely is the final Michigan appearance of the retiring Bob Motz and “The Original Jet Truck.”


When purchased at the gate, adult tickets are $15 Friday and $25 Saturday.  However, tickets purchased in advance at are $12 Friday and $19 Saturday or one can apply a discount coupon available at participating Discount Tire locations to reduce the gate price by $5 for adults.


Children 6-12 are $7 at the gate or $5 in advance.  Children under six are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult and, as always, pit access is included with every ticket and parking is free.


Nitro qualifying is scheduled at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday.  Racing rounds are scheduled for 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday.


There also will be something special for US 131’s weekly racing contingent: an elimination battle between races in the Modified and Top ET classes for a $17,000 racing engine courtesy of Engine Pro of Grand Rapids, Pro-filer Performance Products of New Carlisle, Ohio and Performance Engineering of Jenison, Mich., and the ARC Shootout for Jr. Dragster drivers.


For the ninth consecutive year, eight names will be drawn at random from among the Top 8 point producers in Top ET and the Top 8 in Modified and they then will race until a winner is determined in each class.  Those two winners will then square off for this prized possession.


The top two point-earners in the Beginner and Intermediate classes and the top four in the Advanced class of Jr. Dragster will compete for a $1,500 gift certificate toward the purchase of a new chassis from American Race Cars in Millbury, Ohio, and a $500 certificate toward a new power plant from Blossom Racing Engines in Sand Lake.Bowen