2010 Hall of Fame


Bunny Burkett

Bunny Burkett is one of drag racing's most popular stars. She has etched her name not only into the record books, but also into the hearts of thousands of racing fans, and especially those at Maryland International Raceway. While racing fans line up to greet Bunny at every event from Maine to Florida, MIR is proud to call itself Bunny’s home track. For four decades, Burkett has been among the most respected and beloved competitors in drag racing. Despite a modest budget throughout her career, Bunny was the first woman ever to win both IHRA and NHRA National Events, and in 1986, was crowned the IHRA World Champion. Bunny has raced in Stock Eliminator, Pro Stock, Funny Car, and even Top Fuel, and in every class, she and her team have displayed gritty determination and winning performances on the track, while treating each and every fan like a king or queen back in the pits. It is not uncommon to see families with three generations of racing fans showing up together to visit with Bunny at the track year after year.

Despite Bunny’s successes, her career has been far from easy. In September 1995, Bunny experienced a nearly fatal accident while racing at another facility. She was forced off the track at over 200 mph, and traveled through a ditch and into the woods, suffering multiple broken bones and crushed vertebrae. Bunny was in intensive care for over a week. According to doctors, she had little hope for walking again, and NO hope for resuming her driving career. However, Bunny’s determination and competitive spirit led to a remarkable recovery and her return to the competition. Of course, she chose MIR, where she competed in a match race, driving Beth Royster’s Junior Dragster! Bunny soon returned to funny cars, much to the delight of her fans. A little known fact is that not only was Bunny competing and winning in Funny Car events at MIR and up and down the East Coast, but she was the promoter and manager of those shows through her War on Wheels circuit. Bunny’s most recent contribution to MIR is a special one, indeed – her world championship winning funny car is now proudly displayed on the roof of MIR’s Hot RodZ Diner concession stand! Bunny Burkett is a special part of drag racing history and MIR is proud to announce her as part of its inaugural Legends class.


I have lost a true friend...

In my 30 years at the helm of Maryland International Raceway, I have had the privilege of working with many great racers... many with big personalities, incredible driving skills, and impressive racing accomplishments. However, none had the spirit, heart and caring for others as my friend, Bunny.

She was a serious racer for sure, but she was also an incredible ambassador to the sport of Drag Racing that we all love. The thing I will remember most about Bunny was the one-on-one time she spent with her fans at the back of her trailer on every race day. She made sure everyone that wanted an autograph or photo or simple "hello" was given the opportunity before she would leave for the evening. There are literally thousands of photos of children with Bunny all around this country. For the lucky ones, they have a photo in her car or with her helmet on, that have provided special memories for them. My daughter, Ashley, has one from when she was about 8 years old.

My heart aches and I will truly miss my dear friend. We will be planning a celebration of life with Bunny’s family, friends and fans once this world gets back to normal and we can all come together again. In the meantime, I have put together some photos to share with everyone of Bunny at the track she called her "home track", Maryland International Raceway. Until then, be safe and be kind to others as my friend, Bunny, was to all.

~ Royce      

Click photo below for slideshow


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