Singleton Shines to Clinch Inaugural Funny Car Chaos Championship September 27th & 28th – North Star Dragway – Denton, Texas
The epic conclusion to the 2019 Best of Texas BBQ Sauce Funny Car Chaos Championship tour presented by Red Line Shirt Club unfolded in spectacular fashion at North Star Dragway in Denton, Texas. The event, presented by Entech Oil & Lubricants, was held September 27th & 28th and welcomed the largest car count in series history with thirty cars from nine different states converging on the birthplace of the series to crown an inaugural series Champion. Teams from California and North Dakota to Michigan all came for a piece of the Chaos fun in this final points race of the year.
Four racers stood a firm mathematical shot at the title as Ken Singleton's alcohol burning "High Risk" team came in atop the standings followed closely by Jordan Ballew, Allan Middendorf and Brandon Lewis. The competition was stiff, as nitro and alcohol burning funny cars of all kinds were ready for their shot at over $35,000 in event and Championship payouts. The pressure was on and the anticipation was overwhelming. This event followed the normal sixteen car 'A' & 'B' field format, but also included an all run 'C' field shootout available for any entry qualifying outside the quick sixteen. Racers and fans were welcomed by a sunny and warm, but thankfully dry weather forecast, and it was time to tango in Texas as Friday night welcomed two rounds of qualifying under the lights that brought record setting performances.
Ballew Pits Ray Stringer Warm-Up
Prior to qualifying, a special awards ceremony was held during the drivers meeting that honored several racers including Fred Farndon who was awarded a "Lifetime Achievement" award recognizing his many decades of years in the sport, Tod Barker who was named series "Rookie of the Year", Robert Slaughter who was named "Most Dedicated Chaos'er" and Jeff Cameron who was recognized as Funny Car Chaos "Racer of the Year" by the series director Chris Graves.
Fred Farndon - Lifetime Achievement Ashley Maynard - Most Valuable BUG
With the fans finding their seats in the stands and tailgaters set up for the weekend it was time to kick off qualifying as the staging lanes filled with flip top floppers. After two wild rounds of side by side action, Allan Middendorf led the field with a new series elapsed time record of 3.574 at 222 mph in the “American Outlaw” entry tuned by Jake Sanders. Middendorf had a big task at hand to catch Ken Singleton in the standings. Series records are worth 10 points each, so if he could leave the event with both ends of his own records, it would be very helpful in his Championship effort.
Middendorf's 3.57 - Friday Night
Mark Billington’s “Sons of Thunder” Texas based Top Alcohol Funny Car clicked off a 3.80 at 199 mph to slide into the number two spot in a stacked field of three second performers. Ken Singleton’s 3.836 at 199 earned him the number three spot and Chuck Loftin posted a career best 3.837 at 191 in the “Motivation” nitro burner to take a spot in the top half of the Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ Field. Six other cars dipped into the three second zone as the bump spot for the ‘A’ field was already the quickest in history with Jim Chase’ 3.875 holding onto number eight.
Brandon Lewis’ “Attitude Adjuster” tuned by Guy Tipton finished Friday at the top of the AlkyDigger ‘B’ Field standings with a 3.91 at 194 mph, followed by Mark McElwee’s 3.98 at 187 and Steve Timoszyk’s 4.06 at 175 in the “Detroit Tiger” from Michigan. Andy Mears’ “Dragon Slayer” posted a career best 4.46 at 155 mph to secure the number eight spot in the ‘B’ field after Friday night qualifying. Teams returned to the pits ready for service in what would be a thrilling final qualifying session on Saturday afternoon to set the final quick sixteen. A thrash unfolded in Singleton’s “High Risk” pits as a motor swap was required, a service that was completed around 4am
Brandon Lewis - Saturday morning
Saturday welcomed more warm, sunny and humid weather for the Chaos racers and fans. A pre-race parade showcased all thirty entries prior to their final qualifying session. The pressure was on as teams had one last chance to bump themselves into the ‘A’ and ‘B’ fields, while all remaining competitors would compose the bonus Sam Tech ‘C’ field. Let the bumping begin!
The first pair out featured a stellar shot fired by Brandon Lewis as he catapulted to the number two spot with a 3.72 at 201 mph. Next up Tera Graves, driving Keith Jackson’s “High Heaven” nitro burner from Colorado, clicked off a 4.04 at 178 mph to secure her spot in the ‘B’ field. That’s when things took a turn for the worse, as Allan Middendorf and Mike Buchanan staged up in the next pair.
Middendorf blistered the North Star Dragway eighth mile, gunning for the series mile per hour record, which he achieved with an incredible 227 mph blast. Unfortunately, a parachute failure gave Middendorf all he could handle at the top end and despite his best efforts to slow the “American Outlaw” he soon realized the sand trap was his only viable option. Into the net he went, thankfully the custom designed system at North Star Dragway did its job and the safety equipment on board kept Middendorf from sustaining any serious injury as he jolted to a wild stop with sand and dirt flying into the air. Middendorf climbed out under his own power and was quickly cleared by on site EMTs, but his race day was clearly done and thus, his hopes of a Funny Car Chaos Championship.
“We needed to re-set our speed record to gain as many points as possible, the chutes didn’t come out and I was hard on the brake. The car was bouncing and I knew the net was coming quick so I let off the brake and tried to turn into the net at an angle to save the chassis if possible. I’m all good, may be a little sore tomorrow, but we’ll head back to Indiana and regroup in preparation for a full season Chaos effort in 2020,” said Middendorf.
After repair to the top end safety net, it was time to resume racing and Doug Schneider raised eyebrows in his Colorado based Top Alcohol Funny Car with a 3.79 at 195 mph to move into the ‘A’ Field at number three. John Umlauf Jr wheeled the Missouri based “Mass Chaos” nitro burner to a 3.98 at 202 mph earning him the number two spot in the ‘B’ Field. Clay Cunningham made a big move from number twenty six to number seven in the ‘B’ Field with a 4.19 at 171 mph in the “Still Crazy” alcohol burning Dodge Daytona. Tod Barker’s 4.31 from Friday night help up as the bump for the quick sixteen in the quickest fields in Funny Car Chaos history. Ronny Young and the “Blue Max” held the bump spot in the ‘A’ Field with a 3.87 at 176 mph. With Middendorf out and word from the pits that Kebin Kinsley and the Farris owned “War Wagon” also out with mechanical issues, alternates were inserted as Ray Stringer and Nick Johnson found their spots on the appropriate ladders. WHEW! That was some exciting qualifying action and now it was time to play for keeps.
Kebin Kinsley - War Wagon
Championship contender Jordan Ballew’s best of a 4.74 at 147 mph came up short of a spot in the quick sixteen, but team “Ballew Thunder” would be a player in the ‘C’ Field Shootout along with Jeff Cameron, Matt Nissen, Mike Buchanan and Joacim Ljungberg. Ljungberg hails from Sweeden and bases his team in California as the “Raw Valley Motorsports” team made the long haul to Texas to join the fun at Funny Car Chaos.
FINAL QUALIFYING ORDER:
1. Allan Middendorf (Columbia, IL) – 3.57 @ 227
2. Brandon Lewis (Tulsa, OK) – 3.72 @ 201
3. Doug Schneider (Milliken, CO) – 3.79 @ 195
4. Mark Billington (Prosper, TX) – 3.80 @ 199
5. Ken Singleton (Chickasha, OK) – 3.836 @ 199
6. Chuck Loftin (Seguin, TX) – 3.837 @ 191
7. Kebin Kinsley (Arlington, TX) – 3.85 @ 197
8. Ronnie Young (Wylie, TX) – 3.871 @ 176
9. Jim Chase (Bismarck, ND) – 3.875 @ 186
10. John Umlauf Jr (Rolla, MO) – 3.980 @ 202
11. Mark McElwee (Visalia, MI) – 3.984 @ 187
12. Nick Poloson (San Antonio, TX) – 4.02 @ 182
13. Steve Timoszyk (Detroit, MI) – 4.03 @ 177
14. Tera Graves (Princeton, TX) – 4.04 @ 178
15. Clay Cunningham (Dumas, TX) – 4.19 @ 171
16. Tod Barker (Marlow, OK) – 4.31 @ 167
17. Ray Stringer (Alamogordo, NM) – 4.43 @ 169
18. Nick Johnson (Orleans, NE) – 4.45 @ 155
19. Andy Mears (Lubbock, TX) – 4.46 @ 155
20. Jeff Cameron (Magnolia, TX) – 4.50 @ 154
21. Fred Farndon (Edmond, OK) – 4.53 @ 143
22. Joacim Ljungberg (Vallakra, SWE) – 4.54 @ 158
23. Matt Nissen (Alma, NE) – 4.56 @ 154
24. Jordan Ballew (Bartlesville, OK) – 4.74 @ 147
25. Dustin Bradford (San Antonio, TX) – 4.82 @ 149