Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



mshf-logo300NHRA Funny Car pioneer Jack Chrisman was one of seven icons from the world of motorsports inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America class of 2013 Wednesday evening during the organization’s annual induction ceremony at The Fillmore Detroit.

Chrisman, the 1961 NHRA world champion who was also widely credited with developing the first Funny Car, was inducted posthumously. The other class of 2013 members included automotive publisher  Robert E. Petersen, famed open-wheel racer Alex Zanardi, legendary NASCAR team owner Bud Moore, sports car and road racing specialist Masten Gregory,  champion motocross racer Brad Lackey and Harvey Firestone, founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.

Steve Chrisman accepts MSHOFA induction award on behalf of his father, Jack Chrisman

Steve Chrisman accepts MSHOFA induction award on behalf of his father, Jack Chrisman

Chrisman, who passed away in 1989, became one of NHRA’s biggest stars in the 1960s as he won multiple titles at NHRA’s biggest events, including the Winternationals and U.S. Nationals. Chrisman was ranked 23rd by an elite panel of drag racing historians and journalists on the list of the top 50 NHRA drivers in 2001.

Aside from the great success he achieved driving a dragster in the early part of his career, Chrisman’s lasting legacy in the sport was his involvement in the development of the Funny Car. He made significant modifications to a Mercury Comet in 1964 so it could accommodate a large, blown-and-injected 427 engine. He debuted that car at the ’64 U.S. Nationals and not only was it highly-competitive, but it also was an instant hit with fans. The first Funny Car established many performance records and changed the landscape of the sport of NHRA Drag Racing forever.

“At anything he undertook, Jack Chrisman was one of the best,” NHRA Founder Wally Parks once said. “As a campaigner who drove some of the era’s fastest and most innovative cars, his heads-up abilities put him out in front and won him a well-deserved world championship title. Jack represented the true spirit of drag racing.”

Former NHRA announcer Bob Frey presented Chrisman for induction. Chrisman’s son Steve, who currently competes in NHRA Top Fuel racing, accepted his father’s Hall induction. Jack joins his uncle Art  –  a 1997 inductee – in the  in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America,. NHRA President Tom Compton and NHRA Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Graham Light attended the event on behalf of NHRA.

L-R: Graham Light, Steve Chrisman, Tom Compton, Bob Frey

L-R: Graham Light, Steve Chrisman, Tom Compton, Bob Frey

Chrisman is the 25th inductee in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America from the world of NHRA Drag Racing. Others are Don Garlits (1989), Shirley Muldowney  (1990), Don Prudhomme (1991), Connie Kalitta (1992), Wally Parks (1993), Bob Glidden (1994), Keith Black (1995), Bill Jenkins (1996), Art Chrisman (1997),  Don Nicholson (1998), C.J. Hart (1999), Danny Ongais (2000), Tom McEwen (2001), Eddie Hill (2002), Ed Donovan (2003), Joe Amato (2004), Tommy Ivo (2005),  Chris Karamesines (2006), Ronnie Sox and Buddy Martin (2007), John Force (2008), Kenny Bernstein (2009), Dale Armstrong (2010), Ed McCulloch (2011) and Ed Pink (2012).

The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is a museum showcasing the stories of Heroes of Horsepower along with a  display of a wide variety of racing and high-performance vehicles. The constantly changing collection features racers from the world of Indy cars, stock  cars, sports cars, sprint cars, powerboats, truck racing, drag racing, motorcycles, air racing, and even snowmobiles.

(Photos courtesy NHRA/Bob Johnson; Click to enlarge)

This story was originally published on August 22, 2013. Drag Illustrated

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


The star-studded STREET OUTLAWS: No Prep Kings series is set to return for its 6th season in the summer of 2023. Fans can expect to...


Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star and renowned engine builder Pat Musi joined the recent episode of The Wes Buck Show and provided an update...


Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star Lizzy Musi announced today that she has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer via her Youtube channel....


Tony Christian, one of the pioneering drivers of the Pro Street movement, passed away Thursday, June 9. Christian was infamous for his battles with...

Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.