~ Byron's Gasser Madness! ~

~ Rest in Peace ~

~ Leroy Chadderton ~

Courtesy of Phil Burgess.  First published on NHRA.com

Former fuel altered, Funny Car driver Chadderton dies: Leroy Chadderton, a well-known Southern California-based driver of fuel altereds and Funny Cars in the 1970s, died April 3 after a long battle with cancer and heart problems.

Chadderton wheeled, among his many rides, the Magnificent 7 and B&M Speed Center fuel altereds and the Hawaiian Funny Car.

Chadderton began racing at Colton Dragstrip in Southern California in 1958 with a D/Gas ’55 Chevy and later a Ford Model A, which later ran injected on nitro.

His first fuel altered, built with Al Hawkins, was a 354 Chrysler-powered Woody Gilmore-built ’23-T that he first campaigned in 1965. This car later became the Magnificent 7 car, so named because of the team’s quest to become the first in the seven-second zone. Chadderton achieved that goal in 1966 with a 7.96 at Lions Drag Strip and in 1969 became the first to record a six-second time in a fuel altered, a 6.89 in Saginaw, Mich.

Chadderton was part of a fuel altered tour through the late 1960s and early 1970s that also included Willie Borsch and Leon Fitzgerald.

Chadderton became the latest in a string of pilots in Roland Leong’s Hawaiian Funny Cars in 1972 following the departure of Bobby Rowe. The team set the NHRA national record for a short time at 6.66 and won the prestigious Popular Hot Rodding event. His ride in the Hawaiian ended when the entire operation was stolen from a hotel parking lot outside of Gary, Ind., and Leong did not have the funds to immediately replace it.

Chadderton joined forces with Glen Okazaki in 1974 for a short-lived run with a Vega Funny Car before it was parked. Chadderton, Okazaki, and Mikio Yoshioka opened Precision Products in Pomona, Calif., which later became Performance Machine.