The top alcohol funny cars will race next Sunday at 75-80 Dragway inMonrovia, Frederick County, and one of the competitors will be Eldersburg resident Carnie Fryfogle.
Fryfogle and his Bud Dry 87 Oldsmobile Firenza funny car will compete in the spring funny car meet at the track, a few miles west of Mount Airy.
Funny cars are basically short-wheelbase dragsters under a fiberglass replica of a production car body. The engines, unlike those in the elongated dragsters, are mounted in the conventional location in front of the driver. The fiberglass "hulls" flip up for easy access tothe engine compartment.
Fryfogle's Bud Dry funny car is capable of quarter-mile speeds in excess of 260 miles per hour and elapsed times of 5.60 seconds. A parachute is used for braking.
The car is powered by a 508-cubic-inch Chrysler Hemi-design engine.
The engine is not manufactured by Chrysler but is built by individuals using a variety of specialized aftermarket suppliers, beginning with Joe Pisano, who provides the JP-1 Hemi blocks cast in aluminum. From there, the builder adds heads, crankshaft, cams, pistons, valve train components and other parts for a power plant that delivers more than 2,500 horsepower.
The Bud Dry car covers the first 60 feet in less than asecond, throwing the driver back against his seat.
"I really don't notice it," Fryfogle said. "I am concentrating mainly on the light and going down the track straight. But I do notice the change when I pull the parachute out."
Fryfogle has been in drag racing for 25 years, but instead of slowing down, the 42-year-old grandfather's pursuit of speed has kept him going. In fact, he is more involved in racing than at any time in his life, thanks to his Bud Dry Draft sponsorship.
Last year, after racing most of his career without a major sponsor, Fryfogle was able to obtain support from Bud Dry Draft and Rick and Denny Broderick of Bee's Distributing in Finksburg.
"I ran for 25 years," he said. "It is nice to have a sponsor, especially oneas nice as we have. We look forward to working with them for a long time."
Fryfogle has come a long way since he started racing in a 1963 Chevrolet Belair six-cylinder. Right from the beginning, he always wanted to go faster.
In 1980, he began racing a 1976 Mustang funny car. During this time, he opened a roller-skating rink in Westminster. By the end of the year, the rink was taking so much of his time,he retired from racing.
But he didn't give up racing altogether. Since he couldn't race cars, he raced on skates and entered speed-skating nationals all over the country.
The rink became too demandingand three years later, Fryfogle sold it to concentrate on land development and building homes.
Like all racers, Fryfogle couldn't stayaway, and by 1988, he was back racing funny cars. During this time he ran into an old friend, Andy Parks.
They had met when Parks was an announcer at 75-80 in the early 1970s. Like Fryfogle, Parks could not stay away, and the two renewed their friendship.
Parks securedsponsors for the team, spending many hours on the phone and sending proposals. In 1990, Parks met with the Brodericks and explained the advantages of sports marketing. Now, Fryfogle has the only Bud Dry Draft funny car in the country.
Fryfogle was driving a Corvette funnycar when he secured his new sponsor. He made special appearances at area tracks on the top fuel funny car exhibition circuit.
At the end of last year, Fryfogle wanted more exposure for his sponsor -- butto get that he had to run the national circuit. His Corvette, with aChevrolet motor in it, only cranked out 1,700 horsepower and wasn't competitive enough.
So, he purchased his Olds Firenza, rebuilt itsmotor and painted it in the Bud Dry colors.
"I wanted to get the most exposure I could for my sponsor" he explained. "The funny cars get more TV time with International Hot Rod Association than they do with the National Hot Rod Association. ESPN will be televising 11 of 12 events."
When Fryfogle isn't racing in the national events, he will be racing in selected funny car meets or having his car on display in car shows.
Besides Bud Dry, Fryfogle's other sponsors includeEagle Snacks (also distributed by Bee's), Pro Tech Alarm Systems, Liquid Lustre Auto Products, Wenol Metal Polish and Andy Parks.
Thisweekend, he is competing in the Eastern Nationals at Atco, N.J. Following his special appearance at 75-80 next weekend, his next nationalevent will be the Cajun Nationals in Baton Rouge, La.
Fryfogle's crew chief is his 18-year-old, son Henry. When his father isn't racing, Henry can be found at 75-80 racing his 1971 Vega in Class II competition. Other crew members include Jim and Tom Chenoweth.