Home Mark Oswald to be inducted into the Legends of Thunder Valley

Mark Oswald to be inducted into the Legends of Thunder Valley

Rod Mullins
Mark Oswald
Legend of Thunder Valley inductee Mark Oswald
(Rod Mullins photo)

Before Mark Oswald was a crew chief for three-time Top Fuel champion, Antron Brown, Oswald raced Thunder Valley and impressed the masses.

Going back to the past in the drag racing time machine, The Cincinnati, OH native competed from 1982 and 1988 and picked up five Funny Car wins,claiming two wins in 1983 and 1984, and wins in 1986 that propelled him the IHRA Funny Car Championships. In 1984, Oswald claimed the NHRA Funny Car Championship, becoming one of just a few drivers to achieve the sweep.

But Oswald’s greatest success came at Bristol and Thunder Valley.

“Mark raced to much success at Thunder Valley in the 1980’s,” according to Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Dragway. “Not only did he win a lot of races here, he also beat some of drag racing’s biggest names including Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Dale Pulde. His continued success at Bristol as Antron’s crew chief further cements him as a deserving honoree.”

“Bristol was always my favorite place track.  Living in Cincinnati, this was one of the first places we came to race when we started to go on the road,” replied Oswald, after being named to the Legends of Thunder Valley marquee, which is displayed above the grandstands at Bristol. “To be a legend here is really an honor.”

Oswald also treasures his experience at Thunder Valley.

Oswald picked up his first win at Bristol in 1977, racing to victory in the Pro Comp category.  Five years later, he reached the finals in Top Fuel behind the wheel of his own car.

Despite his retirement from driving, Oswald’s involvement in the sport is still felt. The Houma, LA resident has been paired with Antron Brown with Don Schumacher Racing and the combination has led to three Top Fuel world championships and a Bristol runner-up finish in 2011.

Oswald will be officially inducted into the Legends of Thunder Valley on Sunday prior to eliminations on the final day of the Fitzgerald USA Thunder Valley Nationals.

By Rod Mullins / Augusta Free Press

Rod Mullins

Rod Mullins

Rod Mullins covers NASCAR for AFP, and co-hosts the mid-week “Street Knowledge” focusing on NASCAR with AFP editor Chris Graham. A graduate of UVA-Wise, Rod began his career in journalism as a reporter for The Cumberland Times, later became the program director/news director/on-air morning show host for WNVA in Norton, Va., and in the early 1990s served as the sports information director at UVA-Wise and was the radio “Voice of the Highland Cavaliers” for football and basketball for seven seasons. In 1995, Rod transitioned to public education, where he has worked as a high school English, literature, and creative writing teacher and now serves as a school program coordinator in addition to serving as a mentor for the robotics team.