Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Tribute Planned for Puppet at Manufacturers Cup

Published on October 18, 2010 by   ·   No Comments

October 18 2010 will go down in the motorcycle drag racing history books as yet another dark day marked by the loss of an icon. Sadly, we lost Jim “Puppet” DiTullio, the legendary chassis builder who hailed from the Buffalo NY region. Puppet first came to prominence in motorcycle drag racing during the early eighties by throwing status quo out the window, taking a clean sheet of paper to design, then fabricate, a frame build of his very own out of his Race Visions shop. These radical creations featured exaggerated rake, ground hugging frame rails, super low seat heights and wickedly long wheelie bars. These frames combined super light weight and outstanding rigidity – – two qualities that previously could not be said in the same breath! Finally, they were finished with absolutely stunning, hand formed aluminum bodies.
 
These early eighties marvels were built around the Kawasaki H2 power plant, setting countless IDBA sportsman class records by the likes of legendary racers like Dave Schultz, Paul Gast, Floyd Huntz, Jim Puglia, Pete Barnhart and many, many more. When it came time for some of these guys to transition into the Pro ranks, they made that move using a Race Vision chassis. Dave Schultz and Randy Anderson with H2’s, Paul Gast with his very first foray into racing with camshafts and valves all battled in the Pro Stock ranks on Puppet builds. Arguably Puppet’s finest hour in Pro Stock was when Pizza John Mafaro dominated NHRA Pro Stock in 1989, winning the Winston Championship that year on a Race Vision chassis.
 
All of this innovation and winning also caught the eye of one very heavy hitter in Top Fuel named Elmer Trett. When you’ve got numerous Top Fuel chassis builds, including a super exotic all titanium frame, for “the Godfather” of our sport on your resume like Pup did, there really is not much more that needs to be said……..
 
But, there was so much more. Well known in the “metric” drag bike arena, racers in the blossoming V-twin drag bike market also took notice. Once again, the leader of the pack, this time from the V-twin side turned to Buffalo in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. Jim “the judge” McClure had Puppet build a cutting edge V-twin Top Fueler that won right out of the box. Not only did it win right out of the box but it kept on winning, and winning. This prompted a wave of V-twin Top Fuel builds to follow.
 
Even in passing, Puppet owns both the speed and ET records in Top Fuel as you guessed it, Larry “Spiderman” McBride and Korry Hogan both rely on Puppet pipe as they battle at speeds in excess of 250 MPH on five second passes.    
 
A tribute fitting of this legend is planned for the Manufacturers Cup is planned. A memorial of sorts complete with photos and a guest book for all to sign will be in the Spiderman pit area all weekend long as well as moment of silence followed by a Top Fuel “idle parade lap” down the track to honor him one last time prior to final eliminations

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