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From the Beginning, “Big Al” Liebmann

By Al Heisley

Al Liebmann attended his first drag race at Englishtown in 1969. It was from that moment on that “Big Al” was addicted to the sport of drag racing; especially the nitro funny cars. Al couldn’t get enough of the extreme violence these monsters created. He was instantly in love with the screaming of their nitro engines. He was in awe of the burning fuel that ripped at his lungs and made his eyes water and shut tight. He loved the long smoky burnouts and the flames being pushed out of the exhaust. All of it, from that moment on, hooked Al Liebmann.

So, it began that Al started working his way onto nitro-teams in any capacity that he could. He was hungry to learn as much as he could so he did whatever was asked of him. Over the years he crewed on several notable entries including the Shady Glenn, Boston Shaker, Fireball Vega, the Chicago Patrol, and he spent more than 10 years with the legendary Gary Densham. He was involved in cars that were fielded by the legendary “T.V.” Tommy Ivo. Big Al also become an active partner of the Shady Glenn AA/FC team at one point. As a team member, Liebmann traveled to and raced at every major race track in North America; Gainesville, Lions, Englishtown, OCIR, Sanair, Epping, Denver, Chicago and many others.

Quarter-mile burnouts, dry hoops, explosions launching blowers 200 feet into the air, hydraulicing engines blowing heads off engines; Al was there for it all.

Al’s day jobs were also with big corporations. He understood sales and marketing so he could help with sponsoring, too. He landed communication company NEC AMERICA for Gary Denham and many other companies for other teams of which he had associations.  He’s currently the marketing partner and crews on Rocky Pirrone’s Frantic Ford & Super Camaro of Philadelphia.

Al says he discovered his “second childhood” when he became hooked on hot rodding in 1999. He quickly became involved with two high profile projects designed/produced by George Barris and Jerry Kind along with 7-8 other cars owned. Al is currently the proud owner of a 1932 traditional Ford 5W Coupe that traveled our west in the 70’s including going to Bonneville. A personal milestone was achieved when Al was chosen to attend the Grand National Roadster Show “Year of the Deuce” event in 2007 with one of his previous ’32 Ford 5 window coupe was chosen as a “Top-Ten” pick by Street Rodder Magazine in 2006.

During the day Mr. Liebmann works as a regional director for Red Box Recorders by trade and is a freelance photographer for www.hotrodhotline.com. As one can imagine, that leaves Al with precious little free time. Yet, somehow, he always manages to find the time to be around nitro funny cars.

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