Driver, tuner, team owner, innovator
“Big Jim” always said he could run as good as anyone with half the budget and spent more than 60 years as a driver and team owner proving the point. The former LA County fireman ruled his class at the 1963 and ’64 Winternationals in self-built altereds before becoming one of the top dragster and Funny Car pilots of the ‘60s and ‘70s. He took Top Fuel at the 1969 March Meet (formerly US Fuel & Gas Championships) over a field of 125. When his innovative Barracuda captured the 1972 Supernationals, it was the first and still-only Funny Car win by a rear-engined car. In the ‘90s, Dunn transitioned to team ownership, where his typically underfunded Funny Cars nevertheless won races and posted high finishes with drivers including Frank Pedregon and Al Hofmann. Dunn was #27 on the NHRA’s 2001 list of its Top 50 Drivers and named to the 2000 Car Craft Magazine All-Star Drag Racing Team. He was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2006.