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Hull Makes Progress in Charlotte Despite Thorns in His Side

Just like in any sport, for every one million things that can go right, it can be that tiny detail that makes everything go wrong. For nitro Funny Car driver Buddy Hull, what went right at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway was making his best pass of the year during qualifying. The tiny detail that went wrong included a broken zip tie, causing him to have a slower-than usual reaction time, that cost him a round win.

“The progress we made this weekend during qualifying was exactly what me and the Jim Dunn Racing team needed,” said Hull. “It proved to us that we can make solid runs, and that we are getting closer to making more 3.98 second passes. We’re going to look more at what we did during that night run during Q2 and try to replicate more of those kinds of results, because that’s exactly what we all love to see.”

The Q2 run that Hull spoke of was a 4.010 second, 315.12 mph pass that momentarily had him in the No. 9 spot. It was his best run that he’s made so far this season. Ultimately after an additional qualifying run, Hull entered race day as No. 13 in Funny Car.

“It was an exciting first round for us, and I felt really good going into it,” said Hull. “Racing J.R. Todd, Alexis DeJoria and Ron Capps isn’t easy, but advancing felt doable. I always do a sweep on the inside of my car before we make a run, and I missed that a zip tie that held a capped oil line in place had snapped. When I was staging it kept hooking on my boot, and in the process of trying to unhook it, it distracted me, which is why my light was so terrible. I’ve been racing in some form for 17 years now and have never had that happen before. You could probably combine my worst three reaction times ever and it wouldn’t total what happened today. It was the weirdest glitch that we’ll make sure never happens again. But it’s still frustrating that what is ultimately a 2-cent part, cost me what otherwise would have been a great run for our team.”

Though Hull’s reaction time was not his best for the first round, all other aspects of the run showed good progress. If his reaction time had been closer to his average, then he likely would have advanced to the second quad. That in combination with his season-best qualifying run is enough for Hull to hold his head high going into the next race.

“You have to take the good with the bad in this sport,” said Hull. “All four of us smoked the tires in that first round matchup. If I had to guess, every crew chief after us saw that, and took the opportunity to make some last-minute adjustments while the Safety Safari was cleaning up Capp’s oildown. Some of our issues are stuff we will continue to work out on our own, but it’s also reassuring when some of the best drivers out there are dealing with some of the same exact issues we are. It shows us that we are on the right track. I’m thankful that Big Jim and our sponsors continue to trust me to pilot this car. We loved representing USD again this weekend, and are grateful for Atlas Roofing for also coming on board for this race. I’ve told everyone that we’re going to come back even better in a few weeks in Chicago.”

Hull and the Jim Dunn Racing team will be back in competition in three weeks at the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by PEAK Performance in Elwood, Illinois on May 17-19 at Route 66 Raceway. It was announced this weekend that there will be two qualifying sessions on Friday, May 17 and two qualifying sessions on Saturday, May 18. For tickets or more information on the NHRA Route 66 Nationals visit

This story was originally published on April 28, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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