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Words by Dave Densmore

When Billy Condit, the oldest of the Condit Brothers, passed away earlier this year, John Force lost more than a cousin, he lost someone who inspired him to follow his dream of a career in drag racing.

That’s why the 13-time NHRA Funny Car Champion dedicated his February victory at Phoenix to Billy, his surviving brothers Stephen and David and their mother, “Aunt Bea” Condit, also known to a whole slew of racers simply as “Ma.”

The Condits finally got the trophy in a private meeting with Force during the Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I admired and looked up to Billy,” Force said.  “He was an individual who, in the early days, inspired me with the stories that he told about driving across the country, following the racing circuit.

“He’d tell me stories about all the race teams out there; how they partied and how they played and that was my early introduction to racing.  I knew when they were going back on tour and I knew when they came back in the winter, the stories would start again. 

“It was almost like he was a seaman who went off to sea and when he’d come back he’d have all these stories about the places he went and the people he met.   Racing was a different world back then and I lived for those stories.”

In the 1970s, the Condit Brothers embodied everything that Force aspired to be.  All three, Billy, Stephen and David, were actively involved in racing.  Billy and Stephen were accomplished mechanics and Dave Condit was the first in the family to win an NHRA national event.

Driving the Plueger and Gyger Ford Funny Car, he won the season-ending 1974 Supernationals at Ontario, CA, by beating the legendary Ed “the Ace” McCulloch in the final round.

Although they enjoyed considerable success on the match race circuit, both with their own car and those of others, the Condits never won another NHRA national event. Nevertheless, they remained active in the sport into the '80s along with Force’s late uncle, Gene Beaver.  Beaver made a name for himself with a series of “L.A. Hooker” Funny Cars, a take off on the “Chi-Town Hustler” name made famous by Force’s current crew chief, Austin Coil.


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