Semi-finals in the ‘A’ field got underway as Mark McElwee and Allan Middendorf inched their ground pounding, fume pumping, outlaw fuelers to the stage position. Off the line they launched with nearly identical reaction times as Middendorf began to pull ahead. The “American Outlaw” started making a steady drift to the left lane wall and it was hammer down for Middendorf as he drove it through the finish line, but tagged the wall just three feet before the stripe, disqualifying a 3.82 at a booming 198 mph and unfortunately taking a chunk out of the left front fender of the carbon fiber body. McElwee posted a clean 4.07 at 160 mph and after confirmation of the disqualification from Chaos staff, was final round bound in Havana.
Middendorf body after Semi Finals
Nancy Matter and Steve Timoszyk came to life next to see who would join McElwee in the last dance of the ‘A’ field. Another great race ensued as Timoszyk used a holeshot and a 4.16 at 171 to defeat Matter’s 4.14 at only 150 after she was forced to lift just shy of the finish line allowing the tiger to nip her at the stripe. So it was all Michigan in the final round as Timoszyk and McElwee returned to the pits to prepare for the money round.
Matter - Timoszyk Semi Finals
AlkyDigger ‘B’ field semis kicked off with Joey Haas and Tod Barker taking the line, both steadily improving on their numbers each round to this point. Barker is likely still kicking himself at this point as he reads this report from home in Oklahoma, but his -.115 reaction time wasted a career best 4.31 at 166 mph pass as Haas also laid down a career best in the “Nimrod” with a 4.53 at 154 mph to move into his second straight Havana final round. All is not lost, as Barker took home the Littlefield Blowers “Top Speed of Eliminations ‘B’ Field” bonus. Jeff Cameron and Mike Smith were up next. Cameron was a clear underdog on paper and gave it his best shot with a massive starting line advantage, but his 4.63 at 150 mph was no match for the “Nor’Easter” as Smith posted a 4.22 at 134 mph to move into the final round.
Rodak's Custom Coffee 'A' Field Semis -
(W) McElwee (.113 rt) 4.07 @ 160 -vs- (L) Middendorf (.125 rt) 3.82 @ 198 (Hit Wall)
(W) Timosyzk (.125 rt) 4.16 @ 171 -vs- (L) Matter (.180 rt) 4.14 @ 150
AlkyDigger 'B' Field Semis -
(W) Haas (.029 rt) 4.53 @ 154 -vs- (L) Barker (-.115 rt) 4.31 @ 166
(W) Smith (.203 rt) 4.22 @ 134 -vs- (L) Cameron (.041 rt) 4.63 @ 150
Two pairs remained, two winners to be named, two first time winners guaranteed, it was time to conclude an epic evening of drag racing at Central Illinois Dragway’s 50th Anniversary as Joey Haas and Mike Smith pulled to the waterbox as the ‘B’ field final was cleared to fire. Backing up from the burnouts, Haas and Smith guided their floppers into the desired position and pulled forward to stage. At the flash of amber, Haas ripped off the line with a huge gate job courtesy of his .016 reaction time and held the lead to mid-track. Smith was charging hard in the opposing lane and at the stripe had enough to drive around for the win with a 4.18 at 149 mph to Haas’ career best 4.50 at 153 mph. It was all smiles for car owner Bill Dee and company on the starting line as they claimed their first Chaos victory. Haas headed home to Tennessee with back to back ‘B’ field runner-ups in Havana and a pocket full of career best ET slips, not bad at all!
'B' Field Final
The ‘A’ field final round was underway as the wires were pulled and fumes filled the sky. McElwee was in his first final round appearance, while Timoszyk hoped to claim his first win after an ‘A’ field runner up in Havana last year. It was a win win for these teams, who are not only friends at the track, but family off the track. They pit together, they tune together, they race together and despite the outcome, they’d celebrate together. At the flash of amber, McElwee struck the tires as the “Detroit Tiger” team erupted in celebration on the starting line and Timoszyk posted his best pass of the weekend with a 4.05 at 171 mph to officially claim the team’s first Chaos victory and a cool $5,000 for their efforts! That leads us into a touching story that shows the true family aspect of the sport of drag racing and that resulted in a very touching moment in the winners circle, we’ll let Timoszyk narrate.
'A' Field Final
“So as we were leaving for Havana in 2018 one of our crew, Chuck Drath informed us he was in need of a kidney transplant and had been placed on the donor list and was unable to make the event. At the time Chuck had been with us for 5 years and never missed a race, test session, anything. He is one of the most dedicated guys I’ve ever met. So even though we were runner up, the accomplishment was not the same without Chuck there. Collectively the entire team decided to get tested to see if there was any matches. There ended up being several, Matthew Brehmer, our back up driver/fabricator ended up being the best match and made the decision to donate his kidney to Chuck. Matt’s been with the team for almost 10 years since he was 14 years old. He is the most selfless person I’ve ever met, and am proud to call him a friend,” said Timoszyk.
“In February the transplant took place and was a success. While in the hospital, Matt, Chuck, Buzz McElwee and myself were talking and Buzz called out that our two cars would make a Chaos final this year! It’s been 6 months and both Chuck and Matt are in great health, and we made that final against Buzz and Chuck was there to enjoy the victory this time!” concluded Timoszyk. What a moment for these die hard drag racers who literally would give an arm and a leg, or kidney, to help each other in a time of need.
FINAL ROUND ELIMINATIONS:
Rodak's Custom Coffee 'A' Field Finals -
(W) Timoszyk (083 rt) 4.05 @ 175 -vs- (L) McElwee (.113 rt) 9.85 @ 79
AlkyDigger 'B' Field Finals -
(W) Smith (.148 rt) 4.18 @ 149 -vs- (L) Haas (.016 rt) 4.50 @ 153
Rodak's Custom Coffee 'A' Field Event Winner
Steve Timoszyk "Detroit Tiger
Rodak's Custom Coffee 'A' Field Event Runner Up
Mark McElwee "Buzzy's Bomber"
AlkyDigger 'B' Field Event Winner
Mike Smith & Bill Dee "Nor'Easter"
AlkyDigger 'B' Field Event Runner Up
Joey Haas "Nimrod"
For track owner Frank Hutto and manager Jeff Lasecke their 50th Anniversary celebration couldn’t have been better with an absolutely jam packed crowd, fabulous weather and on track entertainment like never before. After Havana, the points race tightened up a bit with Singleton still holding the top spot, twenty six points ahead of second place Jordan Ballew. Brandon Lewis missed Havana, but remains third with Jeff Cameron and Tod Barker tied for fourth. The Best of Texas BBQ Sauce Championship Tour continues northward for its debut appearance at US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan presented by Powershield Coatings, September 6th & 7th. The title will be decided at the Funny Car Chaos Championship Finals at North Star Dragway in Denton, Texas on September 27th & 28th.
Congratulations to our winners from Central Illinois Dragway. Funny Car Chaos would like to thank Best of Texas BBQ Sauce, Red Line Shirt Club, AlkyDigger, Rodak’s Custom Coffee, S&W Performance Group, Taylor Motorsports Products, Decades of Wheels, Littlefield Blowers, VP Racing Fuels, Powershield Coatings, Dooley & Sons Hot Rod Shop, Meyer Enterprises, Still Crazy Racing and Just Dirty Racewear for their support of this event. For more information visit www.funnycarchaos.com. We’ll see you…at the CHAOS!
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - Funny Car Chaos Media
Photos by Russell Brown, Chris Graves, Ken Bennett, Wes Ramsey