Tony Christian, one of the pioneering drivers of the Pro Street movement, passed away Thursday, June 9. Christian was infamous for his battles with drivers like Pat Musi in the NMCA Pro Street heyday, and his nitrous-fed ’57 Chevy is responsible for introducing scores of fans and future competitors to fast doorslammer racing.
We’ll have a more complete tribute in the coming days, but for now, here’s a brief piece from Christian’s profile in DI #100. Rest In Peace, Tony.
Amongst the most exciting movements drag racing ever bore witness to was that of the Pro Street era where tubbed, steel-bodied and street legal doorslammers garnered interest from coast-to-coast, dominated magazine covers and generated one storyline after another. Amongst the biggest stories Pro Street ever produced was the rivalry between New Jersey-native Pat Musi and his green “Popeye” ’69 Camaro and Florida’s Tony Christian in his bright-red ’57 Chevy.
The Pro Street movement of the 1990s, though muffled, all steel and street-legal, was defined by Pat Musi, Tony Christian and the longstanding rivalry these two wildly outspoken and intense drag racers maintained. Having both done battle in the rough-and-tumble world of Pro Stock, Musi and Christian elevated Pro Street racing to new levels of competitiveness and did it with style (greatly depending on the definition used). They poured fuel on the fire of so-called “street legal” drag racing and kept it burning not only with a slick green ’69 Camaro and righteous red ’57 Chevy, but with trash talking and bravado that has hardly been seen since.