Steve Plueger, who served as one of John Force’s first crew chiefs and built his championship-winning chassis for decades, died March 22. He was 74.
Plueger also was a car owner on both the Mello Yello and NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series with a succession of drivers including Jeff Arend, Leah Pritchett, Dale Pulde, Gary Densham, Jack Wyatt, James Day, Ron Capps, his brother Jon Capps, John Hale, Bucky Austin, John Collins, Gerry Glenn, Fred Mooneyham, Todd Lesenko and “Lil’ John” Lombardo.
Dave Condit drove Plueger’s car to victory at the 1974 NHRA World Finals, but Plueger enjoyed his greatest success in the Heritage Series. Plueger won each of the first three official Heritage Series Nostalgia Funny Car championships, 2008-2010, with three different drivers: Bucky Austin, Garrett Bateman, and Leah Pritchett.
Plueger also was an innovator, developing a dry-sump oil pump for Funny Cars, specially designed to clear the top frame rails on modern-day Funny Cars and Pro Mods; was the first to fabricate side-by-side, matching, low-profile fuel and oil tanks; and the first to solidly-mount the rear end assembly for Funny Cars.
Source: NHRA | March 22, 2018