the car junkie daily magazine.


Buddy Ingersoll, Drag Racing Turbo Pioneer Passes

Buddy Ingersoll, Drag Racing Turbo Pioneer Passes

A true innovator and pioneer in drag racing, Buddy Ingersoll passed away on Sunday. Among his accomplishments were an IHRA Modified Eliminator World Championship, volumes of innovations and pioneering work with respect to turbocharging and the drags, his now infamous turbo Buick Pro Stock car that was banned from IHRA after showing promise, and his wild turbocharged 2.3L Ford Pinto that was running 10s back in the late 1970s. He was truly a guy who did it his own way and like many pioneers in the sport, got his ass shot full of arrows a time or two. He was involved in Pro Stock racing for many years in a crew chief and consulting capacity for several different teams.

His greatest calling card leapt into the history books in 1986. By taking a rebodied Warren Johnson Oldsmobile Pro Stock car and implanting a Buick V6 engine that wore both single and dual turbos at different times in its life he created a car that would show fans that Pro Stock racing could be about a lot more than 5o0ci V8s in the NHRA and mountain motors in the IHRA. There is a misconception that this car was banned from NHRA competition after racing strongly there. This is wrong. The car ran in IHRA for a lot of the 1986 season showing flashes of performance here and there. When Ingersoll made the final round at the 1986 IHRA Fall Nationals, the proverbial dookie hit the fan. His ticket was punched for IHRA competition when sponsors and racers freaked out, the NHRA was never, ever going to let the car run in their Pro Stock division, so it went to Comp Eliminator and IHRA’s Modified Eliminator (which was a mirror of Competition Eliminator).

His awesome Pinto which completely laid waste to indexes left and right through the middle and late 1970s was running down in the 10.30s when he retired it. That was with a 2.3L four banger, 26lbs of boost, and a 6.50 rear gear. We sure wish we could have heard that little bastard tripping the lights at the top end!

As a former world champion and a recognized mechanical bad ass in the sport of drag racing, the sport is lesser for the loss of Buddy Ingersoll. We don’t know who to credit for saying it, but there is no quicker way to earn instant immortality in racing than to design something so killer that it gets banned before every actually winning a race.

Godspeed Buddy Ingersoll….go whip some mountain motor ass at the big strip in the sky.


  • Share This
  • Pinterest
  • 0

11 thoughts on “Buddy Ingersoll, Drag Racing Turbo Pioneer Passes

  1. Maxcackle

    One of my heroes. I was at Bristol when he twisted PS’s panties into knots. Absolutely makes my list of favorite racing(drag racing, is there any other kind?)memories. As I set here and watch Troy Coughlin’s turbo PM car at Gainesville wheelstand 600′ down track, it puts how far ahead of the curve Buddy was in perspective. Godspeed

  2. Bill Fry

    Oh yes! That “quiet as a mouse” V-6 Buick would really fly. His innovations made for some exciting drag racing!

  3. Greg

    There was an incident where Buddy broke on the burnout. He put the car in gear and used the starter to stage the car. His opponent, freaking out over having to face Buddy, and unaware a non running car was staged, red lighted away the win.

    1. Rick Tygett

      Gary you are right Buddy was an inspirational racer. The Turbo Pinto is not lost. I have the Pinto that Buddy raced and have just finished completely restoring it. A great piece of history.

  4. zombie289

    Remember reading about the buick in an old drag mag when I was a kid and being totally awstruck…. RIP…

  5. nitrous?TURBO!

    Please go to youtube and type in ‘buick pro stock’.
    You’ll see Buddy matched against Bob Glidden in the IHRA Finals at Thunder Valley,Tenn..

    He’s featured in some short discussion and interview.

    Buddy Ingersoll made them stand up at attention with a turbocharged 268 cubic inch block.
    Great write-up in Super Stock and Drag Illustrated in a spring or summer issue, 1986 or 1987.
    Thanks, Buddy Ingersoll.

  6. Rocky Spano

    Buddy you will be missed by our club the CENTRAL FLORIDA GRAND NATIONAL AND TTYPE CLUB you were contacted by me many years ago I wanted you to come and visit our big show and monthly meet but I never checked back at the site to see if you replied and that cost the club because I just learned you did reply I am sorry for that I saved an article I read about you and this race against Bob G that was AWESOME and we have shared the youtube of that race all thru our Buick world rest in peace my friend your name will never be forgotten. Rocky Spano VP of CFGNT.com

  7. Paul Beam

    Buddy is my mom’s uncle and it makes me feel real good so many of you looked up to him. Thanks!! I never got into watching racing and didn’t get to know him as much as I wish I had.

  8. Bow Tie Guy

    Another true innovator had passed on to that big 1320 (It sure isn’t 1000 feet) in the sky. I never saw Buddy run but that Pinto reminds me of a one time raced four cylinder Fiero that appeared at Sanair, Quebec back in the 80s It had to be spinning at 10 grand and I think it, too, ran 10s. Wonder where it ever went?

Comments are closed.