Longevity & Long Cars!

By:       Bruce Biegler

No one will ever claim that the name Fred Farndon is one of Canada’s most recognized driver names – but the veteran drag racer has certainly paid his dues….. 

Farndon, who was born in Toronto Ontario back in 1938, is during this 2010 racing season celebrating a rather incredible accomplishment – 50 years and counting of involvement in the straight line sport.

Fred Farndon

Farndon who now lives in Ohio, was back on his home turf recently racing in Top Fuel last month at Cayuga Dragway.  His 100% independent team and all volunteer crew may not be one of the quickest or fastest cars on the circuit – but they are a testament to his dedication.

“I actually started drag racing at St. Thomas,” Farndon reflected.  “I first had Buick Coupe then ran supercharged gas and supercharged alcohol.  About 1967 I built my first nitro engine – we really didn’t have a clue what nitro was about and our first race on nitro was at Bristol’s Spring Nationals.  We managed to qualify but in my first round ever the car broke a u-joint (?) and that proceeded to severely damage my ankle.  So my first venture into fuel landed me in a hospital for six months!”

Since that time Farndon has run a series of Top Fuel dragsters both front motored and rear-engined at various points in his career.   He also defied death racing blown alcohol and then Top Fuel hydroplanes during the later seventies and early eighties.

“The drag boat thing was very exciting,” he admitted.  “But it was also very dangerous.  I watched five of my friends die in just a little over a year and a half.  So I felt that my time was coming – so I stepped back from that and went back to dragsters.” 

Fred Farndon returned to Cayuga during July

Fred’s latest venture marks a return to conventional Top Fuel dragster racing after a six year stint racing front-motored nostalgia TF cars.   Since the return Farndon admits that the modern day Top Fuel category is hardly for the meek.

“To race competitively now is very difficult to do,” he added.  “We have upgraded everything on our car and have added a tuner (Bogie Smith) to the equation.   The class is now so very much more demanding then in the past.  The required between round maintenance is hard to keep up with.  We have a limited budget so we race only on a limited basis.”

Farndon who is now fully retired from a career in the computer and electronics repair industry, has no plans to run any major circuits but will instead continue to stay within his means and make only occasional racing event appearances. 

For more information on Fred’s team visit:  http://www.nitroexpressracing.com/

(Bruce Biegler Photos)