Skip to content


September 7, 2010

Did you see the cover of this week’s National Dragster?? –MF.

NHRA’s cover description: “Leah Pruett-LeDuc, Adam Sorokin, and Mendy Fry are among the stars and the Beach City Corvette among the cars featured in our special nostalgia racing issue. (Marc Gewertz and Tim Sutton photos)”

Inside of National Dragster’s Nostalgia Racing Special: “NHRA Historical Services, Adam Sorokin, Leah Pruett-LeDuc, Mendy Fry, Roland Leong, tribute Funny Cars, Donnie Couch’s West Coast Funny Car Factory, the AA/FC Challenge presented by Lucas Oil, the Paso Posse, and Sportsman stars of the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series.”

Bad ass!


March 5, 2010

If one is a Nitro Funny Car racer, this weekend’s March Meet is the tournament where one makes a statement — and a proclamation of legend.

Famoso Raceway’s 52nd March Meet has all the markings of being an epochal event, if not just historic. For the first time in drag racing since the AHRA/PRO National Challenge at Tulsa International Raceway in August, 1973, nearly two score of honest-to-goodness blown-on-nitro AA/Funny Cars will attempt to qualify for a spot in a 32-car eliminator.

For Funny Car driver “Nitro Kitty” Mendy Fry, however, merely filing an entry for the race was daunting enough. During her end-of-year racing hiatus, Frau Fry suddenly parted ways with her last team. Similarly, Donnie Couch, her on-again/off-again partner-in-grime (and West Coast Funny Car Factory founder) was himself between projects, kicking the proverbial can against the shop doors, waiting for an opportunity to present itself.

None did. Until racecar owner Gary Messenger offered up his dormant (and for sale) Future Flash ’73 Charger, a machine that both Couch and Fry competed with in 2008. A deal was struck: Install a short block, acquire a bunch of odds’n’ends and nitro-strength hardware, buy a drum of fuel and cases of oil, borrow a trailer and get thee to Bakersfield.

Thus Donnie and Mendy got proactive over the winter, calling in a myriad of favors for donated expendables for their borrowed flopper, now rechristened the West Coast Funny Car Factory/Nitro Kitty Charger. Because of these efforts, this weekend Messenger’s machine will enter the copious cavalcade of fuel coupes jousting for entry in what has the potential to be the mother of all Funny Car races, with Couch turning the wrenches and Fry swapping pedals.


Among those ponying up parts, pieces and petroleum products for this bi-partisan, joint effort of Nitro Kitty Racing, Donnie Couch’s West Coast Funny Car Factory and Gary Messenger Ltd.: Hyevon Choppers, Lucas Oil, SCE Gaskets, Molinari, M/T Tires, Justice Bros., Burning Motorhome Promotions and MCC Construction.

Advisory March Meet Nitro Funny Car Schedule: 1st round of Qualifying: Friday, March 5th, 2 PM. 2nd round of qualifying, Saturday, March 6th, Noon. 1st Round Eliminations: Saturday, 3 pm. Further eliminations, Sunday, March 7th, 11 AM.

Follow the entire event via online streaming at . Track NKR’s efforts at .

“Chicks Rule!” Garage Mag: “Here’s Looking at You, Nitro Kitty”

February 9, 2010

Garage Magazine "Chicks Rule" Issue

Hot off the presses! The “Chicks Rule” issue of Garage Magazine (out now!) features an eight-page spread on Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car coquette “Nitro Kitty” Mendy Fry. The detailed article chronicles the arc of Fry’s career — the highlights, the explosions, the wild rides, the unexpected wins and some moments best forgotten — and gives a glimpse of things to come as Fry enters the 2010 NHRA Heritage Series Tournament at the helm of Gary Messenger and Donnie Couch’s West Coast Funny Car Factory Nitro Kitty Charger.

Nitro Kitty as photographed by Tim Sutton

Besides the story on Mendy (penned by John Burns, and illustrated by Tim Sutton’s stellar photography), the new Garage is rife with estrogen-addled bios on burlesque queens, vampish tattoo artists and a woman wing-walker!

extract of Garage Magazine Mendy Fry feature

Bring your copy to the March Meet at Famoso Raceway next month and get it personalized. -30-


January 15, 2010

The West Coast Funny Car Factory's 'Nitro Kitty Charger'

Greetings everyone! Mendy Fry here. First off, a belated Happy New Year to everybody! As we make our way into the 2010 racing season, I want to share my official story for the year ahead:

Right after the 2009 California Hot Rod Reunion, the team owner of McCain’s Bomb Squad parked the race car, citing the uncertainty surrounding a pending trademark infringement lawsuit. Ironically, although the legal brouhaha still hasn’t been settled, they have already hired another driver. (Honestly… you do the math!) As part of that equation, factor in that I’m happy for that team’s new bomber pilot, 2008 AA/Fuel Dragster champ Troy Green, and hope he does well over there.

In November, my old team owner Gary Messenger let ace-tuner Donnie Couch put the Future Flash Funny Car back together so we could make exhibition passes at the NHRA World Finals in Pomona. In the pits there, Gary let tire-kickers know the car is for sale, but until money changes hands, Messenger said Donnie and I can run the car in 2010 out of Couch’s “West Coast Funny Car Factory,” as long as we are the ones paying for its day-to-day operation. So, we’re working on gathering sponsors. (And a motor!)

Even though it is not a done deal, right now there’s a great buzz around the concept of running the Future Flash with Donnie tuning. But you know how those deals go sometimes… If it doesn’t come together, I’d definitely consider driving for someone else, but I have to admit — I hope you all don’t take this the wrong way, because this is REALLY going to sound stuck up — I’m not going to drive an uncompetitive car, just to drive. I’d rather sit it out. Beyond that, I’m pretty sure I’m over racing in Nostalgia Top Fuel also. That class is just struggling to survive. Yeah, they’re a kick in the pants to drive, but I’d like to stick with (wo)man-handling Nitro Funny Cars in NHRA’s Heritage Series.

To that end, beyond the possibility of resurrecting the old Future Flash — which has been renamed the Nitro Kitty Charger — a couple of pretty cool and competitive teams have put out feelers about my driving for them this year, all of which makes the 2010 season seem pretty exciting.

What else? Jesse James’ GARAGE Magazine is doing a full-length feature on moi, entitled “Here’s Looking at You, Nitro Kitty: Mendy Fry is One Cool Cat.” Look for it next month! And this month I’m in National Dragster’s Suzy’s Scrapbook column….

So that’s it. That’s my story. Hopefully I’ll be running something other than my mouth at the March Meet…. -MF-

West Coast Funny Car Factory

Tonight! Mendy Fry Guests On Speed Scene Racing Live

December 1, 2009

“Nitro Kitty” Mendy Fry and West Coast Funny Car Factory CEO Donnie Couch are tonight’s guests on the Speed Scene Racing live radio talk show.

To watch the live podcast, point your browser to at 6 pm PST. Moreover, call in 1-800-809-0802, get on the air and join in the bench racing! Among tonight’s topics up for discussion: Mendy’s 2009 season in review (including what it is like to race  Nitro Funny Cars  in the NHRA Heritage Series with luminaries like Roland Leong and Donnie Couch), as well as a glimpse into her racing plans for 2010, including discussions with NHRA and IHRA Top Fuel teams.

"Nitro Kitty" Mendy Fry on Speed Scene Live

Live! From "Speed Scene Live"!

NHRA Pomona Finals: 6.05 @ 237 mph.

November 15, 2009

Above is footage of the first pass back with the old gang of Messenger and Couch: We clocked a 6.05@237 mph yesterday at Pomona. Unfortunately, upon gettng off the throttle, a connecting rod _disconnected_. So ends the weekend’s exhibition at the NHRA AutoClub Finals for the Nitro Kitty Charger.


November 11, 2009

Getting fitted for the Nitro Kitty Charger (nee Future Flash)

Pomona, CA, 11-11-2009 — This weekend at the Pomona Fairplex, the past, present and future (flash) will converge for Nitro Funny Car driver Mendy Fry. How so? On Saturday and Sunday at the National Hot Rod Association’s season-ending Auto Club Finals, Fry will once again shoe Gary Messenger’s resplendent-yet-potent, gorgeous black-and-gold 1973 Dodge AA/Funny Car, a machine rich in drag strip history, whose lineage is traced to renowned and notorious drag racers such as Gene Snow, Brent Fanning and Roland Leong. Ironically, the entry also has ties to Fry herself, as this is the same racer that she earned her Nitro Funny Car license in, and then campaigned with tuner Donnie Couch to a runner-up finish at the 2008 Las Vegas Speed Spectacular.

At that event the machine was known as the “Future Flash,” and was Fry and Couch’s swan song appearance with the car, but this weekend this same entry will be re-christened the “Nitro Kitty Charger,” in reference to both Fry’s return and her popular racing brand. In preparation for its imminent reappearance, the race car was recently updated and retrofitted for Fry at Donnie’s fabled West Coast Funny Car Factory, and will be tuned by Couch. Thus this weekend reunites Messenger, Couch and Fry, but because the team is still sorting out financing and partnerships for its participation in the 2010 NHRA Heritage Series, as of now the car is provisionally — and cheekily — titled the “Messenger, Fry, Couch & YourNameHere’s ‘Nitro Kitty Charger.’”


The unlettered Nitro Kitty Charger body

The “Nitro Kitty Charger’s” quarter-mile exhibitions at Pomona this weekend is part of an effort coordinated by NHRA Heritage Series majordomo Steve Gibbs, and is designed to draw attention to that program’s events, which include remarkably popular vintage-themed drag races from Bakersfield to Boise. To that end, among those joining Fry for this weekend’s fiery and ferocious festivities will be the AA/Funny Cars of Josh Crawford, the “Pisano & Matusbara” Nitro Vega and the “Lil’ Nate” Barracuda owned by Howard Bugg, as well as a pair of AA/Fuel dragsters.

Besides the yeoman work of Couch and his West Coast Funny Car Factory workers to put this effort together in time for its assault on Pomona, the “Nitro Kitty Charger” would not be making laps without the support of Fry’s associate sponsors, Justice Brothers, Lucas Oil,
Hyevon Choppers, Jeg’s High Performance, Mickey Thompson Tires and SCE Gaskets. As an exclamation of her appreciation, as the final touches were applied to the Funny Car, Mendy exulted: “I’m so happy to be back in my pretty car.” -30-

Donnie Couch

West Coast Funny Car Factory maven Donnie Couch preps the Nitro Kitty Charger's mill.

(photos courtesy of Burning Motorhome)