Video: Mickey Thompson and Danny Ongais rule the 1969 funny car season

MT Mustang Danny OngaisIn this short film, we get a look inside the all-conquering Mickey Thompson funny car team of 1969. 



Mickey Thompson was more than the greatest hot rodder who ever lived. He was a fierce force of nature. In MCG’s years working at Hot Rod magazine, one of his favorite feature story projects was an in-depth biography of Mickey, “Life at 400 MPH,” that appeared in the December 2008 issue.  Studying Mickey’s life was better than any motivational seminar. He could do more in one of his absurd 20-hour workdays than most racers could accomplish in a month. “He went through life like a guy escaping a bank robbery,” said Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times. 

It’s impossible to list all of Thompson’s exploits, from Bonneville to Indianapolis, in a single story. Today we’re going to focus on one: his 1969 drag racing team that featured a pair of unbelievably quick Mustang funny cars. Ford Motor Co. provided the SOHC 427 engines, Pat Foster and John Buttera built the chassis, Foster and Danny Ongais drove the cars, and Thompson assembled and managed the operation—and often also drove the ramp truck, mixed the nitro, and tuned the motors, as this short video illustrates.

In many forms of motorsports, every so often a race car comes along that is so dominant, so superior, that it seems to be running in a different class. The blue ’69 Mustang driven by Danny Ongais was one such car. Many regard the design to be the first modern funny car. But in our eyes, the star of this little film is Mickey Thompson, a true American original.


4 thoughts on “Video: Mickey Thompson and Danny Ongais rule the 1969 funny car season

  1. Not being a drag racer I remember Mickeys HAS Indy car . That car was one of the most beautiful and innovative Indy cars for its time. You can see a version of the HAS Indy Car at the Indy Museum with other specials like the Lotus and even the Yunick Hurst Capsule Car. If you haven’t been to the museum I highly recommend it to any race fan .

  2. 40 years on and we have so called street cars that do those times, with over 200mph speeds.
    I am not sure though really if it is progress. The racing in that footage looked as interesting as modern.

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