Hanna Motorsports to present original "Eastern Raider" Jet Funny Car to Don Garlits' 'Museum of Drag Racing' March 18th
Enfield, CT - Al Hanna, President of Pro-Race, Inc./Hanna Motorsports today made the official announcement that Hanna Motorsports will present to Don Garlits, curator of the Don Garlits' 'Museum of Drag Racing' in Ocala, FL, a fully functioning version of the original 'Eastern Raider' Jet Funny Car. The presentation will take place March 18th, 2002. Rich Hanna, currently the Jet Funny Car World ET and Speed Record Holder will be at the helm doing a final fireshow salute at the museum to jet car fans across the nation. Prior to the presentation, the car will be on display throughout the Gatornationals weekend.
"This is one of the most storied jet funny cars in history," stated Hanna. "This car has made more than 4,000 runs, and has had 7 bodies and 10 paint schemes since it was created in 1981. Until it was replaced this season, this was the only car in the history of the sport to exceed 290 MPH in the quarter." Best ET on this car is 5.52."
Originally built by Meng Chassis in Pennsylvania, this car has been the forerunner to a multitude of jet car innovations, including the use of on-board information gathering computers, the use of aerodynamics in jet funny cars, the use of exotic materials in the building of jets, the creation of multiple stage fuel systems, and on and on.
At one point in time, during the decade of the '90s, this machine literally held every track record at which it appeared and won every major event in which it participated, first with veteran Al Hanna at the wheel, followed by an equally impressive stint by young Rich Hanna, heir-apparent to the Hanna Motorsports legacy in professional drag racing.
This machine is being completely restored for retirement including the application of a brand new paint scheme by created Williams Graphics of Joliet, IL. "Many of the cars that end up in the museum show with a previously known paint scheme but this car has had so many bodies and schemes we decided to create an all-new one just for this occasion," said Hanna.
Don Garlits added, "Everyone knows the 'Eastern Raider,' and that is the name being retired, regardless of the paint scheme." Rick Recor and Rick's Auto Body of Springfield, MA, are applying the colors and New Jersey's Steve Bell is adding the lettering.
One of Hanna Motorsports' primary supporters throughout the years, Biz Jet International of Tulsa, OK, is involved in the museum project, enabling the Hannas to bring a running Garlits machine to Florida for its final fireshow tribute. "Special thanks to Mike Salisbury and the guys at BizJet; they are the best," stated Hanna.
"My family is very proud to represent the jet car community in Don's incredible museum. Jet cars have played a major role in the marketing of drag racing throughout the years and having our 'Eastern Raider' in this famous facility is wonderful. On behalf of all our family, my wife Ellen, our two sons, Scott and Rich, our grandkids, and all those who have helped and supported us through out the years, we say 'thank you' from the bottom of our hearts."
Hanna Motorsports fields a three-car team of professional jet cars, the "Eastern Raider" Firebird, the "First Strike" Firebird, and the "Queen of Diamonds" jet dragster, entertaining fans from coast to coast and around the world, having also appeared in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. Visit hannamotorsports.com for more of the history of this legendary drag racing family.