Joe Morrison behind the wheel during licensing runs. (Joe Morrison Photo)

Joe Morrison Set For NHRA Funny Car Debut

FLEMINGTON, N.J. — For NHRA drag racer Joe Morrison, there is only one thing cooler than the legendary pound of ice cream in Norwalk, Ohio — and that’s driving a nitromethane powered Funny Car.

At this year’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Morrison’s cool meter is about to jump off the charts.

The longtime Nostalgia Funny Car and Fuel Altered pilot will make his competitive debut in the ultra-competitive NHRA Nitro Funny Car division, driving for legendary Funny Car driver, owner and tuner Paul Smith at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park this weekend.

Morrison, who last competed in NHRA Top Fuel in 2022, wrapped up his NHRA license cross-grade process in July of last year with Smith at Virginia Motorsports Park. This expanded his diverse NHRA competition license to an impressive 11th active class, ranging from Top Fuel & Nitro Funny Car to Super Comp and Super Gas.

However, the exclusive 1B FC grade is one that Morrison has been hunting for since he fell in love with the nitro floppers while attending events at Englishtown Raceway Park in his youth.

“I’ve wanted to drive a NHRA Nitro Funny Car since the 1970’s, watching legends like Jungle Jim, Snake, Mongoose and of course Paul Smith at E-Town,” Morrison said. “To make my competitive debut driving for Paul Smith not only is exceptionally humbling, but it just feels right.

“Many experienced nitro pilots have gotten their feet wet with Paul Smith for a reason and I’m happy to join that list.”

After making his NHRA Top Fuel Dragster debut in 2020 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Morrison entered 17 NHRA National events during a part-time campaign over a period of three years.

While driving the Kings of the Sport was exciting, educational and humbling, it was a steppingstone for 20-year nostalgia drag racer, known for his expertise wheeling AA/Fuel Altered and Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars.

“It’s been my goal to compete in the NHRA Nitro Funny Car division,” Morrison said. “However, these things are wild, quick, and unpredictable. It made sense to start my accelerated learning curve in Top Fuel, and those 17-events were exceptionally educational.

“Funny Car licensing last year in Virginia was great,” Morrison continued. “Working with the entire Smith family was seamless and professional. Paul gave me a great car to drive during the licensing process. I honestly think he could get a funny car down a dirt road if he wanted.”