Bartone began his NHRA drag racing career in 1987 driving bracket and ET cars, receiving his Super Comp license in 1992. Over a three-decade career the New York based driver has amassed more than 50 Wally trophies (Wally Parks trophy) as a driver and equal that as an owner.
Bartone began his NHRA drag racing career in 1987. He cut his teeth driving bracket and ET cars, receiving his first NHRA Super Gas license in 1987. Over a three-decade career the New York based driver has amassed more than 50 Wally trophies (Wally Parks trophy) as a driver and equal that as an owner.
First taking the wheel at Westhampton Dragway in Long Island behind the wheel of his brother Michael’s blown ’62 Corvette, 10-second car, he progressed through ET/Bracket cars, to Super Gas, and into Super Comp. Competing in his first national event in Englishtown, New Jersey in Super Gas in the late 80s.
Bartone received his NHRA Alcohol license in 1991 at the wheel of his brother’s Jeff Rapp tuned Top Alcohol Dragster at Maple Grove Raceway and later qualified for his NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car tag.
The early 90s is where the legend begins. Bartone began to run Top Alcohol Funny Car and made a fateful hire. In 1992 Bartone met Steve Boggs at Sanair Raceway in Quebec and hired him as his crew chief/tuner. The duo has been working together, winning, and setting records ever since.
A standout in the Lucas Oil Series, the developmental league for NHRA pros, Bartone won 25 events, at one point winning 33 rounds straight, one world championship title in Top Alcohol Funny Car in 1996.
His first pro start was in 2001 driving for Jerry Toliver in Top Fuel, which was short-lived due to funding. In 2002 Bartone moved over to his brother’s A-Fuel Dragster and then raced with Jim Dunn Racing from 2004 to 2008.
In 2008, the New York based driver broke through in the professional ranks. Bartone powered his Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a 4.454-second pass at 238.17 mph to get the long-awaited win. That day he beat Ron Capps in the NHRA Funny Car category at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals in Kent, Washington. In addition to beating Capps on that faithful day in the final, Bartone outran Gary Scelzi, Mike Neff and Tony Pedregon in earlier rounds.
“This is what you dream about,'' Bartone said. “This is what you wait your whole career to do, is win in the pro ranks. It's the adage - you never say die, you never give up, you keep plugging and things like this happen.''
From 2008 to 2012 Bartone was a fixture among the top names in the sport like Force, Pedregon, Scelzi, Neff, etc. and beating them. During this period, he amassed 50 Wally trophies with teams like Rick Jackson Racing (2209-2014), and Jim Dunn Racing (2008).
Stepping out of the NHRA pro touring seat in 2008, Bartone joined Rick Jackson Racing Top Alcohol Fuel team and won their first race together. In 2014 Bartone formed Bartone Bros Racing while competing in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Championship in a Murph McKinney built car. No Nostalgia Top Fuel driver has ever been as dominant since the series began in 2009, winning championships in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Bartone won each of the four NHRA Heritage Racing Series Nostalgia Top Fuel events that final year including: Bakersfield, California; Boise, Idaho; Bowling Green, Kentucky; and Epping, New Hampshire. He also has set low E.T. and drove to top speed each event weekend.
As a team owner, Tony’s Bartone Bros Racing team currently competes in NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Championship with the Bartone Bros Racing Chevrolet Camaro. In 2017 Bartone and Boggs settled on Californian Bellemeur to drive. Since then, the team has won five championships and amassed 50 feature wins.
Today, Bartone continues as president of New York Paving as well as being team owner of Bartone Bros Racing that campaigns Sean Bellemeur in NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Funny Car. Bartone is also shepherding his son, Anthony, into professional racing in sports cars. Anthony has chosen a different path and drives a Bartone Bros Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 sports car in the SRO America World Challenge Championship.