Growing up in Southern California, the birthplace of Top Fuel racing, Bob Vandergriff Jr. was surrounded by racing since he was a baby. His father, Bob Vandergriff Sr. was the Advertising Director for the NHRA’s National Dragster publication before purchasing industry legend Hedman Hedders® in 1978.
Vandergriff attended the University of Utah, where he majored in business. After graduation, he began his career in the business world, first serving as the National Advertising Director for Super Chevy Magazine and then relocating to Georgia, where he served as Vice President of the Atlanta Dragway. Here, Vandergriff got his first taste of racing down the quarter mile, entering his 15-second, 80 mph company car in one of the track’s bracket races. Vandergriff lasted five rounds, eventually losing in the semi-finals. He was hooked.
With the need for speed firmly in place, Vandergriff began working toward his goal of one day driving a Top Fuel dragster. His search eventually lead to signing a major sponsorship agreement with Fruit of the Loom® four weeks before the season-opening Winternationals in 1994.
With a contract in hand, Vandergriff decided it was time to see if he could actually drive one of the 7000 hp beasts. The month-long odyssey began with a trip through Frank Hawley’s drag race school, followed immediately by licensing runs in a borrowed Top Fuel dragster. When asked about his first time in the car, Vandergriff admitted, “It scared me to death. But, I was so far along in the process, I had to continue.” Vandergriff completed his licensing requirements in his own dragster, just three days before the season began.
The 1994 season proved to be a valuable learning experience and the up-and-down season culminated in Vandergriff being named the NHRA Rookie of the Year. The next few seasons provided many firsts for Vandergriff, including: first final round appearance in 1995, first number one qualifying position in 1996 and in 1997 starting a string of NHRA Top Ten finishes which continued through the 2000 season. In 2011, Bob won the Texas Fall Nationals in Dallas, Texas. With this first win under his belt, Bob sets his sights for multiple wins in 2012.
- Wife: Marissa
- Daughters: Ashley and Sydney; Sons: Bob III and Luke
- Height/weight: 6′ 0″, 205 lbs.
- Hobbies: Golf
- Notable: Earned business administration degree at the University of Utah; All-state football and basketball
player at La Habra High School in Southern California; Scratch golfer who enjoys playing with PGA Tour friends
Bob May, Troy Matteson and Jay Don Blake; Owns Vandergriff Motorsports Apparel
- 2013: Raced to third career victory at Houston; Posted a runner-up finish at Denver; Qualified for the Countdown to the Championship for the third time; Qualified for all 24 events
- 2012: Raced to second career victory with win at Las Vegas 2; posted semi finishes at Houston and Pomona 2; qualified a season-best third at Pomona 1; qualified for the Countdown playoffs for the second time; qualified for all 23 events
- 2011: Raced to first career victory at Dallas after 13 final rounds without a win; Qualified a season-high second at Denver; Posted career-best performances for time and speed
- 2010: Qualified for all 12 races he entered; Qualified a season-best fifth at Bristol and Norwalk
- 2009: Qualfied for all five events attended; Advanced to second round in Atlanta and Memphis
- 2008: Raced to a semifinal finish at his hometown event in Atlanta
- 2007: Just missed making the inaugural Countdown to 1 field, finishing fifth in the NHRA POWERade point standings behind five runner-up finishes; Clocked career-best performances for time and speed
- 2006: Returned to competition full time for the first time since 2000; Introduced UPS as major sponsor of his Top Fuel dragster
- 2004: Earned runner-up finish at Reading, his first final round appearance since 2000
- 2000: Finished in the top 10 for the fourth consecutive season; Runner-up at Phoenix
- 1999: Recorded career-best speed at Englishtown; Was runner-up to John Force at NHRA All-Star event in Bristol featuring unique format of Top Fuel vs. Funny Car; Qualified No. 1 at two events
- 1998: Qualified for all 22 national events; Posted a runner-up finish at Columbus
- 1997: Advanced to two final rounds en route to career-best points finish
- 1996: Earned first career No. 1 qualifying position (Seattle)
- 1995: Made first career final round appearance (Indianapolis)
- 1994: Named NHRA Rookie of the Year