One of the all-time greats in drag racing, ‘Big Jim’ Dunn who owns and operates Jim Dunn Racing’s Funny Car team, will not be participating in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series until at least Mid-August – according to a NHRA news release.
After a routine annual checkup, it was discovered that the 80 year old Hall of Famer from Southern California will have to have colon cancer surgery next week. He will miss at least the three race ‘Western Swing’ coming up, which means the entire Grime Boss Funny Car team will be sidelined. Doctors are saying the cancer was caught in the early stages so the prognosis for Dunn’s recovery and outcome are good.
Jim’s son, Jon Dunn who is the team manager said:
“We are grateful that this was discovered during his annual physical. Early diagnosis is crucial in his treatment and recovery. I can’t think of a single NHRA event Dad has missed, and know it won’t be long before he’s back.”
Big from the beginning
Originally a fireman – in which he would become a captain – Dunn was born in Artesia, California, and started racing in the mid-‘50s with and against other early legends of the sport including Art Chrisman, Emory Cook and fellow fireman Ronnie Hier to name a few. Going back as far as ‘Pappy’ Hart’s Santa Ana Drag Strip, Dunn is one of the few who has been a part of the NHRA and its drag racing history from its inception.
Jim won in every category there was including Top Fuel, Funny Car, Fuel Altereds and many more. He gained popularity with the documentary movie ‘Funny Car Summer’ in the ‘70s while driving a wildly renown rear-engine Cuda’ – likely the most successful rear-engine Funny Car ever. For many years he partnered with Long Beach engine and crankshaft builder Joe Reath (who passed away last year) and ran as Dunn & Reath. Dunn retired from driving in ’91 and has been a crew chief and owner since.
Another son of Jim Dunn’s is Mike Dunn who also was a successful driver in his own right, winning in both professional nitro classes. Mike has been the commentator on ESPN NHRA telecasts’ for over a decade.
Jim Dunn is well respected in the drag racing community and fans have been pouring in messages to the Dunn family including well-wishes on Grime Boss’ Facebook page.
Additional source: Eagle II Marketing