DUNN TO SERVE AS THE VOICE OF NITRO REVIVAL EVENT
Vintage Sports Cars, Nitro Dragsters Share the Stage at Historic
Mike Dunn, who for 14 seasons provided the color commentary
for NHRA tour events covered by the ESPN networks, returns to
the mic May 19 as the guest commentator for the Nitro Revival
portion of the annual Spring Classic vintage car race at WeatherTech
Raceway at Laguna Seca.
son of drag racing Hall of Famer Big Jim Dunn was
a standout mechanic and driver before being selected by ESPN
as one of the anchors for its NHRA telecasts in 2002. When the
NHRA switched networks in 2016, FOX declined to pick up his contract,
leaving Dunn free to pursue other projects.
With Gary Scelzi,
Kenny Bernstein and Don the Snake Prudhomme, the
Pennsylvania resident owns the distinction of having won double-digit
NHRA tour events in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car divisions.
up with the sport, said Steve Gibbs, who this year has
expanded the Nitro Revival concept he successfully debuted last
fall at Barona Drag Strip in southern California. He has
a great knowledge of the cars that made drag racing the sport
it is today and a real appreciation for the people who built
and drove them.
professional job in the sport was as a crewman for Roland Leong
on the Hawaiian Funny Car he later would drive himself.
He won 10 times in the Funny Car division for Leong and the legendary
Joe Pisano. He then won 12 tour events in Top Fuel driving for
car owners Jack Clark and Darrell Gwynn and crew chiefs including
Ken Veney and Frank Bradley.
The Nitro Revival
at Laguna Seca will showcase restored versions of many of the
cars with which the sport was identified in the 1960s and 1970s,
including cars sponsored by Champion Speed Shop which was operated
by the late Jim McLennan, an inductee into the Bay Area Sportswriters
Hall of Fame, the NHRA Hall of Fame and the International Drag
Racing Hall of Fame.
The Jim McLennan
foundation, now operated by his son Bob, will sponsor the Welcome
Center for special guests at the Nitro Revival including members
of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
The Nitro Revival
serves as a reunion for racers and as an exciting step back in
time for those unfamiliar with drag racings California
roots. Highlight of the one-day event will be the Line
of Fire, a simultaneous cackle of all the assembled nostalgia
For Immediate Release
MCLENNAN WELCOME CENTER ANCHORS NITRO REVIVAL
Northern Californias Drag Racing History Showcased in Laguna
SALINAS, Calif. The Jim
McLennan Drag Racing Foundation, whose namesake was a mainstay
of Northern California motorsports for more than four decades,
will sponsor the Nitro Revival Welcome Center on Saturday, May
19, during the drag racing portion of the annual Spring Classic
vintage car race at Weather Tech Raceway at Laguna Seca.
The Jim McLennan Welcome Center
will be the social centerpiece of a Nitro Revival event that
features the cars and drivers, owners and mechanics who helped
transform drag racing in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Hospitality Center will be
open to special guests including members of the International
Drag Racing Hall of Fame. It also will be the site of autograph-signing
sessions featuring Big Daddy Don Garlits, Ed the
Ace McCulloch, Jerry the King Ruth, Kelly Brown,
Marvin Graham, Frank Bradley, Richard Tharp, TV Tommy
Ivo, Gary Beck, Tom Hoover, Herm Petersen and Gentleman
Joe Schubeck, among others.
McLennan, who passed away in
2007 at the age of 74, just one month before his own induction
into the Garlits-founded International Hall of Fame, was a racer,
car builder, speed shop owner and track operator.
His son, Bob, said that racing
was something his dad had in his blood. Fixing everyones
cars and getting them to go faster. His passion was always the
In 1957 McLennan opened Half
Moon Bay drag strip, leasing the runway used by a small coastal
airport. The timing tower was on top of a bread truck and surplus
military telephones provided the communications. At about the
same time, he opened Champion Speed Shop in south San Francisco.
A standout driver in a series
of small block Chevies including the twin-engine Champion Speed
Shop Special, McLennan was No. 2 in the Drag News Top 10 standings
for 10 months in 1961. He retired from active competition in
1963 and built a one-half mile oval track across the street from
Candlestick Park, the one-time home of the San Francisco Giants.
When the nostalgia movement began,
he leapt at the opportunity to build replica versions of the
two Champion Speed Shop cars he drove in the 1960s, the twin
and a single engine car built by Kent Fuller.
Nitro Revival, a celebration
of vintage dragsters, moves to Laguna Seca
May 18, 2018 on the famed Cannery Row in Monterey.
7:30: Two top fuel dragsters plus Aces 34 Victoria
on display at front of hotel (fire up time has not been determined).
The cars are the incredibly beautiful Tom Hoover "Fish Bowl"
car owned by Steve Anderson and the historic Don Garlits "Swamp
Rat III" owned by Sonny Mesner.
6:30: Autograph session with the attending IDRHoF members at
the Intercontinental Hotel. Then at 6:45 p.m. the "guest
speakers" move to the courtyard area of the hotel for a
7:30: Q&A/meet-and-greet in IIntercontinental Hotel courtyard
Join Don Garlits,
Ed McCulloch, Tom Hoover, Jerry Ruth, Tommy Ivo, Gary Beck, Marvin
Graham, Herm Petersen and more.
to be emcee.
Swamp Rat III