Famous for his and partner Dode Martin’s string of successful Chrysler-powered dragsters, Nelson is arguably the person most responsible for the birth of the modern Funny Car.
He helped assemble the original “Dodge Charger” exhibition match racers, a pair of ’64 Polara 500s with 480plus cubes on gas with blowers, parachutes and 135 mph trap speeds. But it was the famed Dragmaster Dart that put Nelson and Martin at the top. With a 413-cid Dodge wedge engine, Nelson drove the Dragmaster to a spectacular Top Eliminator win at the 1962 Winternationals with an 8.71 at 170.13 mph against Tom McEwen in the final round. In the 50s and 60s Dragmaster became the country’s most prolific builder of chassis and their customers included Roland Leong, Danny Ongais, Pete Robinson, and Mickey Thompson.