Dave Richards’ Toyota Funny Car Completes 3-car SCAG Racing Team

Dave Richards is the third member of the SCAG Racing team - Anne Proffit photo
Dave Richards is the third member of the SCAG Racing team – Anne Proffit photo

NHRA fans paying attention to pit slots at last week’s PRO Superstar Shootout on the Bradenton Motorsports Park dragstrip might have noticed the SCAG Racing trucks of Daniel Wilkerson (Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car), Justin Ashley’s Top Fuel rig and Dave Richards’ new full-season Toyota Funny Car were all parked together, comfortably close to the start line as the first pit slots in the long row of professional Top Fuel and Funny Car racers.

Richards, who has raced part-time in NHRA over the past few years, with brother Paul at his side as the naming owner of his team – Paul Richards Racing – didn’t have the best race weekend in Bradenton. Like many top-level racers, his Versatran/BlueBird Funny Car was relegated to competing against a dragster in the dragster vs flopper competition for those that didn’t qualify for one of the eight slots on the race ladder that paid $250,000 to the winners in Top Fuel and Funny Car.

Richards was out after the first round of competition, but when he gets to Gainesville Raceway in just a couple of weeks for the 55th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, he’ll sport a new team name. Earlier this year, it was announced that Paul Richards Racing had signed a sponsorship agreement with Versatran, which is the parent company of SCAG Power Equipment. Now it’s been announced that SCAG has acquired Paul Richards Racing, making it the third member of the 2024 SCAG Racing NHRA team.

Starting at Gainesville, the first salvo in the Mission Foods NHRA Drag Racing Series, the team will race under the SCAG Racing banner. It’s a best-case scenario, according to Dave Richards. “When Randy (Gloede, president and CEO) and SCAG approached us with the deal, we knew we couldn’t pass it up,” Richards said. “With Versatran and BlueBird, they were already making sure we could race a full season and now there’s a sense of stability. My brother Paul and I can’t thank the SCAG team enough for investing in this team, trusting us to represent Versatran, BlueBird and SCAG, and believing we deserve to be out there.”

While he’ll continue to be team manager for his brother’s squad, “It has been a real journey as the owner of Paul Richards Racing since 2007,” Paul Richards mused “I have loved every minute of it, and this is just the next step, the next chapter in what I feel is only going to benefit the team in every aspect. I have no doubt,” he said, “that Dave and this Versatran/BlueBird Funny Car team will have success moving forward under SCAG Racing.”

Having teammates is something new for Dave and Paul Richards, who have gone about their racing singularly since forming their team in 2007. “That’s a huge benefit, sharing information, brainstorming solutions. We’re looking forward to that,” Dave Richards said. While he realizes he and his team are embarking on a steep learning curve, “Racing week to week will give us a chance to fix the problems, learn and grow. We’ll only get better as the season goes, who knows? We might give some of the heavy hitters a run for their money!”

Dave Richards made his professional debut in 2013 at the NHRA New England Nationals, held at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H. In that race, he qualified 16th to make the show – unusual for a single car first-timer – yet fell to 16-time champion and Funny Car legend John Force. Since that time, Richards has competed in a total of 52 national events, qualified for 43 races and had a total of six quarterfinal results.

The three-car SCAG Racing team kicks off their 2024 season at the first 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series race of the year, the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, held March 8-10 at Gainesville Raceway.

About Anne Proffit 1248 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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