Jason Rupert, a multi-time champion behind the wheel of a nostalgia fuel Funny Car has been in drag racing long enough to understand when it’s time to close one chapter and open another.
Rupert believes the time is right to be done racing an AA/FC, and set his sights on racing the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. As a result, Rupert plans to be in an advisory role as a new driver takes over as the driver of his nitro-burning 1969 Camaro flopper.
Rupert revealed last fall he’d purchased the Big Show Funny Car operation from the estate of the late Steve Pleuger.
Decorated Nostalgia Eliminator – 1 competitor Jerry Espeseth made his first runs during Friday’s Q-1 session at the Bakersfield March Meet. He made a planned early shut-off during Thursday’s test session.
“I thought about that and you know not saying I’ll never drive the thing again but I’ve already made my decision to go the other way,” Rupert, a two-time winner at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, explained. “To be so successful after I broke my ankle and stuff like that, have my dad around on the last few races we ran, I think it’s a total perfect closure on that deal.
“Now that he’s gone, I think he was pretty happy because he was able to see it all. And I mean even the In N Out deal, you know the 70th deal, we got to run that deal which was a privilege. He got to see some of the local people at the Pomona deal.
“I’m still one hundred percent into [Big Show] deal but it’s taken some time and when the other deal’s done, it’s going to be as good as I can make it.”
Frank Rupert, Jason’s father, passed on January 4, 2019. The second-generation driver admits he’d already made his mind about parking the AA/FC car before losing his father.
“At first, he thought I was nuts,” Rupert said..” And then as time went on, he goes, ‘You know what? Don’t smoke the tires and don’t drop cylinders.’ And I looked at him, and I go, “How do you do that?”
“He looks at me and he goes, ‘I don’t know. You’ve got to figure that one out.”
And for Rupert on Sunday, he will be figuring the best way to close a chapter which has been so significant in his life.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019