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Susan Wade
Fri, August 5, 2022 at 8:12 AM·7 min read


Photo credit: NHRA/National Dragster

Photo credit: NHRA/National Dragster
  • NHRA Funny Car and Top Fuel classes are on verge of hitting 340-mph plateau
  • It was in 2017—five years ago—that Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club Chevy Camaro Funny Car at John Force Racing, clocked the fastest run in NHRA history at 339.87 mph, at Sonoma, California.
  • Goodyear says its current NHRA tire compound is eight years old, but it can handle the escalating speed record.
  • Funny Car’s Ron Capps said rev limiter tweaks by NHRA can keep envelope-pushing speeds in check for sake of safety.
Remarkably, Goodyear hasn’t changed the NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car tire compounds for the oversized rear slicks in eight years.
And despite the flashy speeds in the past couple of years—mainly from Top Fuel’s Brittany Force and Funny Car’s Robert Hight, Ron Capps, and Matt Hagan—Goodyear representatives Todd Rogers and Bill Bedont said the current tire technology can handle the performance gains.

“We don’t really have any concerns the way things stand now,” Bedont, Goodyear’s lead engineer for drag racing said. “We have two race engineers who go to the track every [race]. We haven’t seen anything so far that has any red flags on our end. We monitor that week to week, and we talk to NHRA constantly. We test every year, throughout the year, multiple times.
“We also have a couple variations of this tire on the shelf that we feel comfortable rolling out if we needed to,” he said. “But we’re comfortable with what we have right now. We’ve been running this tire since 2015.”
Photo credit: NHRA/National Dragster

Photo credit: NHRA/National Dragster
Speed Milestones In Top Fuel
  • 250 mph – 250.00, Don Garlits, 1975, Ontario, Calif.
  • 300 mph – 301.70, Kenny Bernstein, 1992, Gainesville, Fla.
  • 320 mph – 321.77, Cory McClenathan, 1997, Ennis, Texas
  • 330 mph – 330.23, Tony Schumacher, 1999, Chandler, Ariz.
Speed Milestones In Funny Car
  • 250 mph – 250.00, Don Prudhomme, 1982, Baton Rouge, La.
  • 300 mph – 300.40, Jim Epler, 1993, Topeka
  • 320 mph – 323.35, John Force, 1998, Englishtown, N.J.
  • 330 mph – 330.15, Gary Scelzi, 2004, Joliet, Ill.
 

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Also, remember, some years ago NHRA shortened the racing distance from the traditional 1,320 feet down to 1,000 ft for TF & FC. Tires were one of their worries. All the other classes still run the full 1/4 mile.
 
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