Veteran nitro Funny Car Jeff Diehl keeps living his drag racing dream.

The “Surfer” as he’s known made his debut in 2006 and now in 2020, he’s still hard at work trying to achieve more success.

Diehl made his 2020 season debut at the Arizona Nationals last weekend. He qualified No. 16 and then upset No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan under bizarre circumstances. 

Hagan hit he last timing block at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix. By clipping the cone Hagan was disqualified giving Diehl the win even though he didn’t record an elapsed time.

Diehl’s day ended with a second-round loss to Ron Capps when he had a red-light start.

“I started with a new car and a new trailer to me,” Diehl said. “So, it has been a struggle this winter to get it all right. We basically went there (Phoenix) to shake the car down and we haven’t done anything yet. The car is definitely promising, and we got lucky in that round (against Hagan), just to get another test round in and the car seems to be leaving strong and hard and straight without really trying. 

We’re going to move on to the next one and we’re going to do a couple of things with the driver’s area, I need a little more room and keep testing. We can’t really afford to go out and make a bunch of laps before we go to a race, so we have to kind of do it there. We found a lot of problems that we found last year that we are sorting out right now. Stuff is starting to look normal on the data.”

Diehl said next on his 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Series schedule is the Denso Auto Parts NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 3-5 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He said he plans to compete in 10 to 15 races this season. Diehl has competed in 128 career NHRA national events, highlighted by two semifinal appearances.

Diehl runs everything with his Funny Car team, but he’s still receiving some help from Dom and Bobby Lagana,  Aaron Brooks and Top Fuel driver Scott Palmer. The Lagana brothers work for two-time reigning Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence.

“The Laganas are keeping their eye on what’s going on with the car and helping me get everything working properly and it is definitely showing that’s working,” Diehl said. “I’m still busy working on the car mechanically at all times and I always have been. By those guys coming over and looking at the runs and helping me overlay stuff, I have a lot of friends who know what’s going on trying to get my car to run. I have the right stuff, so it is time for us to get it done.

Racing is part of my living and I’m trying to take it to the level where I have the money to do the same thing those guys do because I can do it. I’ve pushed this so far and have so much invested that I really think I’m owed a chance to do it with the proper funding and the proper people around me just to do it right. I’m not complaining or anything, but I just keep pursuing getting the proper financial partner to help me break down the walls for a minute and get a couple of wins and that’s good enough for me.”







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