NHRA Funny Cars Faster Than Top Fuel Dragsters—It Has Happened

·2 min read
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

The technology behind a both an NHRA Top Fuel dragster and a Funny Car is stunning, a true engineering feat of genius.

However, the long, skinny power-producers, with the skinny front tires and the fat slick in the backs of the Top Fuel dragsters till are the headliners of the sport—until John Force flipped the script in 1998 at Englishtown, N.J.

Force's 323.35-mph blast for his second qualifying attempt that Friday, May 15, made him faster than five-time Top Fuel champion ace Joe Amato (and broke the 320-mph barrier). Force fired the first salvo, and Amato returned fire on race day to recapture bragging rights—for a few moments. Ultimately, with a 323.89-mph pass in the final round against Jim Epler (ironically, the first man to register a 300-mph speed), Force proved that a Funny Car could outperform a Top Fuel dragster.

Force did so again the next year in the first of two Winston No Bull Showdown exhibition events that pitted dragsters against Funny Cars.

After he beat Top Fuel’s Bob Vandergriff, Force joked, “I’m the fastest man on Earth!” (Cory McClenathan put the drag-racing world back in its traditional orbit at the second specialty race, winning on behalf of the Top Fuel class.)

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

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.

Top 10 Speeds In Top Fuel (in mph)

  1. 338.17 Brittany Force, Las Vegas 2, 2019

  2. 338.00 Brittany Force, Las Vegas 1, 2022

  3. 337.92 Brittany Force, Phoenix, 2020

  4. 337.66 Brittany Force, St. Louis, 2021

  5. 337.75 Brittany Force, Gainesville, 2022

  6. 337.75 Brittany Force, Sonoma, 2022

  7. 336.57 Tony Schumacher, Phoenix, 2018

  8. 336.49 Brittany Force, Sonoma, 2022

  9. 336.23 Brittany Force, Pomona 1, 2020

  10. 336.07 Brittany Force, Sonoma, 2022

Top 10 Speeds In Funny Car (in mph)

  1. 339.87 Robert Hight, Sonoma, 2017

  2. 339.28 Ron Capps, Reading, 2019

  3. 339.02 Robert Hight, Reading, 2017

  4. 338.85 Matt Hagan, Topeka 2017

  5. 338.77 Matt Hagan, Indianapolis 2017

  6. 338.68 Courtney Force, Topeka 2017

  7. 338.60 Robert Hight, St. Louis, 2017

  8. 338.60 Robert Hight, Dallas, 2017

  9. 338.09 Robert Hight, Topeka 2017

  10. 338.00 Robert Hight, Brainerd 2017