With a replica of drag racing icon Carol “Bunny” Burkett’s first professional drag race car in the Manesis Motorsports stable, the ties that Dan Manesis and the Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association maintains to the former IHRA Alcohol Funny Car Champion are deep. The only obstacle to deeper ties is distance.
That distance was momentarily erased last Saturday when the opportunity presented itself to travel to Bunny’s home track, Maryland International Raceway for the “Legends at Budds Creek” event. This track has a deep history in Pro Stock and Funny Car racing. And for the first time ever, it featured both the “Bunny & The Boys” BB/FC Corvette driven by Matt Stambaugh, and the ‘lil Cotton Pony Nostalgia Pro Stock Pinto driven by Kelly Lynn Dill.
Kelly and Bob Dill began the long tow to Maryland mid-week with the Pinto and the DeSantis & Crider/Sam Brown Dodge Colt. Dan Manesis, Rodney Daniels, Joy Beach and Bill Swanson would fly from Waukesha to Dulles International Airport before the sun broke the horizon on Saturday morning, with the lights of Milwaukee below.
Bill, Joy, Rodney, Dan and Stella on the Dulles airfield.
Maryland International Raceway greets us after a 90 minute drive.
Unaware that Joy would be on hand, Kelly was pleasantly surprised when she emerged from the Suburban.
Bunny’s Boys prepare the funny car for its match with Rocky Pirrone’s Screamin’ Eagle Firebird. Bear Pritchett, always ready with a smile and a story, sees to it that everyone does their job. Matt Stambaugh warms the blown Hemi before taking to the track. Then Kelly takes a seat. We think she likes it!
Now it was time to race. While Bob Dill oversaw preparations of both Dan and Kelly’s cars, Rodney prepared Dan while Kelly had Bunny seeing to her.
This guy makes things happen! Thanks Dan.
In the first of three matches, Kelly laid down a hellacious burnout. Then at the flash of green she and the Cotton Pony were out of the gate first, with Dan trailing. A little past 660′ Dan and the Sam Brown Colt had closed the gap and powered across the finish line first with a 7.72 ET at 176.5 MPH to Kelly’s 8.25 at 162.3.
Taking a cue from Kelly, Matt laid down an a trail of smoke to half track in the funny car. When the tree came down, Stambaugh left on Pirrone, who then gave chase. Matt crossed the stripe first with a straight and true 6.12 ET at 225.25 MPH to Pirrone’s 6.72 at 214.2 MPH.
Bunny accompanied both Kelly and Dan to the starting line on each match. Bear did as well in Rounds 2 and 3, helping Bob to guide Kelly back to stage. Very cool! Then the race was on, with Kelly again getting a great light and a significant lead. Not for long though as Dan’s Colt chased her down and turned on the win light with a 7.67 ET at 180.12(!) MPH. Kelly crossed the finish line with a 8.27 at 162.24.
We love women that race!
In the second of their two matches, Matt Stambaugh had the Bunny Burkett Corvette flying. He ran a 6.19 at 224.6 to Pirrone’s stout 6.48/221.56 MPH back half effort.
It wouldn’t be a Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock race without Rodney Daniels. Here he watches Dan lay down some smoke and rubber on MDIR’s hallowed grounds.
In the third of three matches between Kelly and Dan, it was all Pink Pinto most of the way down the track. But just before the finish line, Manesis went around Dill. Dan’s numbers, 7.79 ET at 179.35 to Kelly’s 8.27 at 162.08.
With that, it was time to prepare for our long journey home. But not before reflecting on a few items. The love displayed toward Carol “Bunny” Burkett by her fans, the staff at Maryland International Raceway, her crew, and her fellow racers is profound and moving. We are proud to be a part of Bunny and Moe Burkett’s extended racing family. We hope to see Bunny and The Boys soon.
We would also like share our thanks and gratitude to Royce Miller and the staff at Maryland International Raceway. Your professionalism is notable, and your facility is top notch. We’d also like to extend our sincere thanks to the racers and fans that call this track “Home”, for welcoming us as one of your own.
Next up for the entire Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association is our final race of the 2017 season, the Nitrous Street Car Brawl at Great Lakes Dragaway on Saturday September 23. We invite you to come out to Union Grove, WI to see some great racing and to support a fantastic race facility.
Visit the Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association webpage to view our full schedule, news, driver profiles, galleries and more. And please visit and “Like” our Facebook Page for chat and the latest information.
Story and Photos by Bill Swanson