Long before John Force, Pennsylvania-native Russell James Liberman was Funny Car’s first great showman. Preferring match races to title runs in his (unusual for the time) Chevy Funny Cars, he captured only one NHRA event, the 1975 Summernationals. However, he won millions of fans for his speed, ubiquity — Liberman and other drivers he employed averaged 100+ events a year — and antics. Liberman would have curvaceous partner “Jungle Pam” Hardy linger lovingly at the starting line, then do fiery burnouts followed by 100-mph backups. Sometimes he did full-track wheelstands. Said Hardy, "All that showmanship was his true personality. He had that sort of flair even when we were at the house.” Enthralled kids made Revell model kits of his cars. “Go” went with the show: Liberman was the third AA/FC pedaler to record a sub-six-second pass. He was #17 on NHRA’s 2001 list of its 50 Greatest Drivers and one of the first FC stalwarts inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. He died in a head-on collision with a parked bus.