Larry Minor has often been called a “gearhead” but it is simply a fact of life for him. As a teenager, Larry was very interested in cars of all kinds, how to make them faster, and quicker. His first car was a 1956 Ford which he liked but it wasn’t fast enough so before long it was being modified. Larry’s first true racing experience was in 1959 when he started racing a Jeep on the various sand dunes of Southern California. When the Jeep’s engine expired, he replaced it with a small block Chevy V8 that was quickly modified, and his off-road racing career was born.
After attending the 1977 NHRA World Finals at Orange County International Raceway, Larry was hooked and promptly formed Larry Minor Racing which fielded an AA/Fuel Dragster for the 1978 season. With Larry Bowers at the wheel, LMR debuted the car in January 1978 however, the car was badly damaged on its maiden run delaying the team’s entry into open competition. By late 1978 Larry had the car rebuilt and with Larry Dixon at the wheel was runner up at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN. In 1979 the team posted another runner up at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and won the NHRA Division 7 Top Fuel Championship.
In 1980 Gary Beck took over the driver’s seat and the team won its first NHRA National event, the NHRA Cajun Nationals in Baton Rouge, LA. In 1981 they won the NHRA Spring Nationals in Columbus, OH, The Southern Nationals in Commerce, GA, the NHRA Cajun Nationals in Baton Rouge, LA, and the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN. They finished number two in the NHRA Top Fuel Winston World Championship points race. They also, that year, notched a win at the IHRA Summer Nationals in Bristol, TN. In 1982 LMR won the IHRA Pro-Am Nationals in Rockingham, NC, and finished number three in the IHRA World Championship points. LMR would also finish number four in the NHRA World Championship points race in 1982.
The team had a banner year in 1983, posting wins at the NHRA Gator Nationals in Gainesville, FL, the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, GA, the Cajun Nationals in Baton Rouge, LA, the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN and the NHRA Golden Gate Nationals in Fremont, CA; this success earned the team the NHRA Winston World Championship. They also posted 17 of the 18 quickest runs ever made up to that time. Along the way, they also won the IHRA Spring Nationals in Bristol, TN. In 1984 the LMR team posted wins at the NHRA Cajun Nationals in Baton Rouge, LA, the NHRA Spring Nationals in Columbus, OH, NJ, and the NHRA Grandnationals in Molson, Canada finishing number two in the NHRA Winston World Championship points race. 1985 found LMR in the winner’s circle at the NHRA World Finals in Pomona, CA, and in 1986 they won the NHRA Gator Nationals in Gainesville, FL, the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, GA, and the NHRA Mile High Nationals in Denver, CO.
In 1984 LMR received sponsorship from Miller Brewing and Oldsmobile for an AA/Fuel Funny Car team and entered the Funny Car wars with a blown Chrysler powered Oldsmobile with Ed McCulloch doing the driving. In 1990 LMR posted their first Funny Car NHRA U.S. Nationals win. The 1992 season opened with Cruz Pedregon at the wheel of the Funny Car and McDonalds as its prime sponsor. By the close of the 1992 season they had posted wins at the NHRA Spring Nationals in Columbus, OH, the NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, KS, the NHRA North Star Nationals in Brainerd, MI, the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN earning them the Funny Car Winston World Championship. The LMR Funny Car Team would go on to post wins at eight more NHRA National Events.
It should also be noted that Larry is no slouch as a driver and has found his way behind the wheel of every type of race car he has fielded. In 1983 he was the record holder in AA/Fuel Dragster with a 5.25 ET. In addition to fielding some of the most visible race teams of the 1980s and 1990s, Larry also brought something to the table; that was nearly unheard of at the time. Larry brought some big-time major non-automotive sponsors to the program. As already noted, in 1984 Larry brought Miller Brewing into the sponsorship role and in 1992 he enticed McDonald’s to become a major sponsor on both the dragster and funny car.
While he has retired from active participation in drag racing, Larry is still very involved in the world of sand drags and not only fields winning cars there today. He also has one of the most recognized car/chassis names in that world. With all of the accolades garnered in drag racing over the years, it would be unfair to not note that he has posted wins in the Mexican 1000 two times, the Baja 500, the Mint 400, and is a member of the Off-Road Racing Hall of Fame.