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Buddy Hull excited and ready for first career Funny Car start in Gainesville

Everything’s changed for newlywed and newly minted Funny Car driver Buddy Hull, but the one that hasn't changed is the desire to put his right foot down on the dragstrip behind the wheel of a nitro-burning race car.
06 Mar 2024
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Buddy Hull

Everything’s changed for Buddy Hull, other than the desire to put his right foot down on the dragstrip behind the wheel of a nitro-burning race car.

The 43-year-old transplanted Texan will make the switch this year from Top Fuel to Funny Car and will enter the new season and the next chapter of his racing career as a married man, having married his longtime love, Madi Smith, at the end of February.

Hull will kick off his season this week at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, making his debut as a driver for Jim Dunn Racing after three partial seasons in Top Fuel. Hull earned his crossover license in early February, and he and the Jim Dunn Racing team have spent the offseason testing the car and building up a team camaraderie.

For the first race of the season, Hull will be sporting a Vertex Roofers and General Contractors design on his Funny Car, honoring the Dallas-based company that he owns and was his first sponsor to start his professional racing career. In addition to Vertex, other supporters of the car include new sponsor, Solid Start/True Brand Products, as well as sponsors Lescure Mechanical Services, Mooneyes, Crow Safety, Blaze Exhaust Probes, KGC Construction, Powerbuilt Tools, and Wiley X.

Although he’s been to historic Gainesville Raceway many times, this will be hi first time competing in one of NHRA’s most legendary events.
“Outside of Indy and Pomona, what is more historic than the Gatornationals?” he asked. “I have been to the race a few times. Every time I have been, I have just thought about how badly I want to drive a race car at this race. To finally get that opportunity to race at the Gatornationals is something that I have dreamed of. It is truly a dream come true. It took a lot of hard work to get here. I am going to focus and do my job as a driver, because we want nothing more than to put this Vertex Funny Car in the winner’s circle in Gainesville. We are ready to show off what this Jim Dunning Racing team is made of.”

“Obviously, there is a lot of pressure when you make big changes like this. But pressure makes diamonds,” said Hull. “I am super excited to have that pressure to be the very best Funny Car driver I can be for Jim Dunn Racing. This whole offseason my war cry to myself has been 'I have to be the best race car driver I have ever been in 2024 and beyond.' I want to represent Jim Dunn Racing the very best I can at every race all season.”

One thing that Hull is especially looking forward to is the chance to race the sport’s all-time winningest driver, 16-time NHRA Funny Car world champ John Force.

“I can't wait to race John Force. I grew up a John Force fan,” said Hull. “I watched him set his Funny Car on fire too many times to count. John has treated me well since I became a professional driver, and we have bought a ton of race-car parts from John Force Racing. He has been very helpful to me. I appreciate the support, but I also want to beat him.

“I am incredibly thankful for all of our sponsors, new and old, who have put so much faith into me as a driver. Their support is a huge driving factor in what pushes me to want to be successful. What I love about this sport is the amazing community of people. And I am excited to bring even more people into the fold this season, to see what drag racing is all about, and why it’s the best sport in the world.”

“I am ready for this to be my year, racing for an elite team, with the love of my life by my side,” said Hull. “I have worked so hard to have this opportunity, and I’m blessed to be doing this with the very best people surrounding me. I want to win not just for me, but for this team and for my new family. Let’s do this.”