Funny Car Driver Perks! 

I think it’s safe to say that Jeff Arend’s job is cooler then most!  When the Toronto-native is not behind the wheel of the potent and very competitive Kalitta Racing/DHL Funny Car – other opportunities do arise….

In recent times Jeff had exactly that occur.   During a rare weekend off from his grueling NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series duties – Jeff was behind the wheel of one of the coolest and most famous drag racing vehicles ever conceived.   For the 2nd time in his career to took over the controls of Dale Pulde’s infamous “War Eagle” Nostalgia FC.

Jeff Arend had a second stint driving the “War Eagle” FC recently

That all went down during NHRA’s Hot Rod Reunion event out at Bakersfield in October when Jeff, driving Pulde’s machine, was one of 33 (!) entries for that event’s amazing Nostalgia Nitro FC category.   Arend ran his quickest time so far in the car hitting a superb 5.789 secs at 239.02 mph to qualify #2.  But unfortunately had to then shut off his car after the burnout in round #1 due to an oil leak which ended his event bid.

“I had such a good time driving this car the first time (Bakersfield March Meet) that I wanted to drive it more,” Jeff revealed.  “But obviously the scheduling conflicts with the DHL Funny Car made that difficult.  But Dale Pulde asked me again for this event and the timing worked – so I was thrilled to have another opportunity.”

Jeff admitted that before he jumps into Pulde’s machine he almost needs to pinch himself.

“I consider it a real honor to drive a car of this caliber,” he continued.  “Dale Pulde is one of the top 5 Funny Car drivers of all time and I always looked up to him during my career.  The “War Eagle” is one of drag racing’s most legendary names and has always been the most beautiful car out there in my opinion.  So for me to be asked by Dale Pulde to drive that car – I don’t think any drag racer could ask for anything more.”

Jeff did admit that the ride in the Nostalgia car is considerably different then his NHRA Full Throttle Series Toyota.

“It’s obviously not as fast – but it still has real challenges,” he added.  “You have to shift the thing on time manually and there is not as much down force so the car moves around a lot more.  Also it has no side windows so when the motor goes up over 9000 RPM – it really screams — and that is a whole different sensation.   For me it’s really fun and it reminds me of why I got into drag racing in the first place.”

Arend qualified #2 at Bakersfield with a very stout 5.789 secs

Racing for Pulde at Bakersfield did have a bit of a weird dimension too as Pulde himself was absent from the event.  Pulde unfortunately is susceptible to that region’s “valley fever” which made him very sick a couple years back.   So as a precaution he completely avoids that area of California.  

Posted by:  Bruce Biegler – Photos by:  Bruce Biegler