IHRA Bound For Pittsburgh

The famous ‘Chi-Town Hustler’ will be among the stars of the Pittsburgh Nitro Jam (IHRA Photo)
The famous ‘Chi-Town Hustler’ will be among the stars of the Pittsburgh Nitro Jam (IHRA Photo)

NEW ALEXANDRIA, Pa. – They are two of the most iconic race machines in drag racing history.

And on June 1-2 the legendary “Chi-Town Hustler” and “War Eagle” AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Cars will do battle alongside three additional nitro classes and a full exhibition show during the Throwdown in the Steel City at the Pittsburgh Nitro Jam at Pittsburgh Raceway Park.

Sparking memories of a time long ago when Funny Cars ruled the drag racing world and wild, anything-to-win match racing was how it was done, these two iconic nitro-powered nostalgia Funny Cars will do battle alongside defending series champion, world record holder and Pennsylvania native Peter Gallen in the “Poverty Stricken” Monza and Mike McIntire in the “McAttack” Camaro. The 2012 Pittsburgh Nitro Jam will mark McIntire’s first tour of duty since suffering a terrible crash at a Canadian event in July of 2011.

Behind the wheel of the “Chi-Town Hustler” will be veteran pilot Troy Martin, who owns both the original 1973 machine and the replica version he built from the ground up that he will be racing in Pittsburgh.

The 47-year-old Prototype Specialist for DePuy Orthopedics has long been obsessed with the world of high horsepower machinery and to have an opportunity to pilot such a famous ride has been a dream come true.

“It is such an honor to get to drive a car with such history,” Martin said. “In 2003 I bought the original 1973 ‘Chi-Town Hustler’ from Bob Gibson and restored it for shows and nostalgia races. That is about the time that nostalgia racing really started to explode. And as the speeds and ETs that the new nostalgia Funny Cars ran began to go up, we decided to park the original car and build a replica for preservation and safety reasons.

“We built the car and run it in tribute of the three men Farkonas, Coil and Minick behind the original car to show and preserve the colorful history of the Funny Car era.”

The “Chi-Town Hustler” legend began in the mid-60s when three guys from Chicago, John Farkonas, Austin Coil and Pat Minick, built the beautiful ride and turned it into the premier match racing car of its day.

The trio traveled the country putting on shows and earned the support of the fans with monster burnouts and fierce runs culminating with multiple championships.

Today, Martin enjoys keeping that rich history alive by returning the Hustler to its roots, match racing some of the biggest names in the business including the “War Eagle” whom Martin will face in Pittsburgh.

While Martin tries to live up to the high reputation earned under the “Chi-Town” name, his opponent in Pittsburgh will be non-other than the original driver of the “War Eagle” himself Dale Pulde. A three-time IHRA world champion, Pulde recently returned to the seat of his famous ride and looks forward to seeing these two incredible machines once again doing side-by-side burnouts to the joy of fans both young and old.

“We had the honor of meeting Dale and racing him for the first time last year,” Martin said. “Getting to meet and talk with him and many of the icons of the sport has been the best part of owning and racing the ‘Hustler’. Dale is still at the top of the field in nostalgia Funny Car racing which will make for an incredible show in Pittsburgh.”

Also in action in Pittsburgh will be defending series champion Peter Gallen behind the wheel of his famous purple and gold “Poverty Stricken” Monza.

Gallen is the all-time Nitro Jam wins leader in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car and the world record holder in both ET and speed. He will be joined by Ohioan Mike McIntire in the “McAttack” Camaro in his triumphant return from injury nearly a year ago. Gallen and McIntire split the weekend at the 2011 Pittsburgh Nitro Jam.

“We have raced with Peter Gallen a couple of times and he is the king right now,” Martin said. “He and his crew are first class and are always the car to beat.”

With such a strong field Martin admits that, as much fun as it will be competing against such a stout field, he would just as much enjoy sitting back and enjoying the show from the stands.

“I envy the fans that will get to see all of this incredible racing from the stands. It will certainly be an incredible show,” Martin said. “Still, I have driven many race cars in the past 30 years, but driving the Hustler is definitely the highlight of my driving career and I wouldn’t trade this for the world.”

The AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car field will be one of four nitro-powered classes. The nostalgia Funny Cars will be joined by Pro Fuel Dragsters, Fuel Altereds and the Pittsburgh Nitro Jam debut of Fuel Altered.