Image courtesy NHRA/National Dragster
This is a bit of news that flew under the media radar, but initially reported former NHRA announcer Bob Frey via his “Did You Know?” feature on Drag Race Central and confirmed by the team, longtime John Force Racing crew chief Bernie Fedderly called it a career last week, officially retiring from the Force organization.
Prior to his rightfully-earned departure, Fedderly was bestowed one of drag racing’s greatest honors, with election into the Drag Racing Hall of Fame, where he will be officially inducted this March.
Fedderly spent more than two decades with John Force Racing, where he served as the other half of the most formidable tuning duo in drag racing history with Austin Coil, wrenching Force to an unfathomable 15 NHRA Funny Car championships throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s. Fedderly was brought aboard Force’s Castrol GTX team largely for his mechanical aptitude to help assist Coil.
“It was obvious early-on that I had an aptitude for racing,” Fedderly was quoted in his Castrol USA bio. “Most of my friends wanted to drive. I just wanted to make cars run fast. So I had a lot of opportunities to gain experience.”
The Canadian Motorsports Hall of Famer, born in Edmonton, Alberta, has been involved in drag racing for some four decades, first making a name for himself on the national stage in 1980 when he won the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis with Terry Capp. Two years later, he signed on with iconic team owner Larry Miner and guided Gary Beck to the 1983 Top Fuel Championship and, later, Ed “The Ace” McCullough to a pair of narrow championship defeats — including a scant 43-point loss to Force in 1990.
Interestingly, Fedderly found himself on the flip-side of another ironic championship outcome in 1992, when he began the season with rookie driver Cruz Pedregon before departing mid-season to take the job with Force. Later that year, Pedregon went on a tear and upset Force for the Funny Car crown.
Fedderly won national events with six different drivers over his career, including Capp, Beck, McCullough, Pedregon, Force, and Mike Neff.