The fourth of seven events on the 2015 Painless Performance Products Outlaw Fuel Altered Association tour brought the series to Mo-Kan Dragway in Asbury, Missouri to headline the 50th Annual Labor Day Classic. This special two day event is the biggest feature at the facility each year attracting thousands of fans to the historic drag strip. The wild and crazy OFAA racers were making their twelfth consecutive appearance in Missouri over Labor Day weekend with a full field of blown altereds ready for action.
Saturday night hosted two heads up qualifying rounds as thirteen cars did battle for a spot in the twelve car field. With air temperatures in the 90's and humidity over 50% the crew chiefs made their final adjustments as the call went out to bring them to the lanes as the fans found a spot in the stands eager for some nitro fumes. Upon the conclusion of two qualifying rounds, Eric Buchanan sat atop the standings with a 4.01 (3.98) elapsed time at 183 mph in the new look "Nitro Relapse" entry owned and tuned by Terry Darby. Points leader Jimmy Jones secured the number two spot with a 4.04 at 154 mph in the "Texas Tremor" and Mark Bowman posted a 4.09 at 127 mph in "Blown Income" to qualify third. Donnie Massey, Terry Brian and Bobby Marriott rounded out the top half of the field as the teams returned to the pits to prepare for the first round eliminations set for Sunday evening. Brett Henry was unable to complete a run in the "Iron Mistress" entry and got no time, while Doyle Smith battled the centerline in both his qualifying runs in "Chemical Reaction" but was able to nab the final qualifying position heading into Sunday.
FINAL QUALIFYING ORDER:
1. Eric Buchanan (Justin, TX) - 4.01 (3.98) @ 183
2. Jimmy Jones (Cleburne, TX) - 4.04 @ 154
3. Mark Bowman (Oklahoma City, OK) - 4.09 @ 127
4. Donnie Massey (Little Elm, TX) - 4.11 @ 178
5. Terry Brian (New London, TX) - 4.13 (3.86) @ 190
6. Bobby Marriott (Pilot Point, TX) - 4.23 @ 163
7. Anthony Whitfield (Elk City, KS) - 4.30 @ 164
8. Jim Phillips (Evansville, IN) - 4.57 @ 125
9. Raymond Dawson (Nevada, TX) - 5.03 @ 98
10. Jeff Woolard (Paola, KS) - 5.27 @ 114
11. John Umlauf (Rolla, MO) - 5.50 @ 107
12. Doyle Smith (Paris, TX) - 4.61 @ 117 (Foul - Centerline)
13. Brett Henry (Wichita, KS) - No Time
Jeff Woolard - John Umlauf
Sunday brought hot and humid conditions similar to what the teams faced in qualifying on Saturday. With three rounds on tap, racing got started a little earlier with air temperatures pushing 100 degrees and a track temperature of 135 degrees. In this twelve car field, the quickest four winners would advance to the semi-finals and so on until a winner was crowned. Teams were not only searching for the win light, but also looking to lay down a strong elapsed time to earn a spot in the next round.
Action got underway with Terry Brian's "Nitro Warrior" set to do battle with John Umlauf as Umlauf hoped for a strong outing at his hometown race. The starting line advantage went to Umlauf but Brian had closed the gap by half-track and took a commanding lead as he went through the finish line to a stellar 3.85 at 192 mph, low elapsed time and top speed to this point. Top qualifier Eric Buchanan was up next alongside the "Mighty Mouse" entry of Anthony Whitfield. Whitfield took a healthy starting line advantage but his 4.36 at 164 came up just short as Buchanan drove around for the win with a 4.11 at 177, lifting a little early with a broken fuel line. Jimmy Jones and Jim Phillips brought their screaming blown alcohol machines to the line in the next pair as Phillips was making his second OFAA event appearance all the way from Indiana. Phillips was amped up for his battle with Jones and jumped the tree with a -.115 reaction time and had the best seat in the house to watch Jones blast to a 3.99 at 180 mph to take the win.
Anthony Whitfield - Jim Phillips
As the first round continued, Mark Bowman fired up set to take on Raymond Dawson in the "High Octane" entry in another hard hitting blown alcohol pairing. This was a great side by side bout as Bowman's 4.09 at 176 narrowly defeated Dawson's 4.12 at 169 mph. Dawson finally laid down a solid pass after fighting burst panels and throttle cables in qualifying, but came up just short at the stripe. Bobby Marriott and Doyle Smith brought their nitro burners to the line but Smith encountered mechanical problems and was forced to shut off. Meanwhile, Marriott blasted to his best pass of the weekend with a 4.11 at 177 mph in "Shockwave" to earn the round win, but didn't quite have the performance to earn a spot in the semi-finals as they continued to fine tune a new fuel system. With one pair in the water box, Donnie Massey and Jeff Woolard brought their machines to life. Massey had to not only win the round, but run quicker than Eric Buchanan's 4.111 to earn a spot in the semis. This one was over from the flash of amber as Massey blasted off the line first and never trailed, posting a strong 3.99 at 182 to boot top qualifier Buchanan from the semis. Massey, Jones, Brian and Bowman were semi-final round bound at Mo-Kan.
FIRST ROUND RESULTS:
(W) Terry Brian (.168 rt) 3.85 @ 192 vs. (L) John Umlauf (.086 rt) 5.04 @ 124
(W) Eric Buchanan (.139 rt) 4.111 @ 177 vs. (L) Anthony Whitfield (.059 rt) 4.36 @ 164
(W) Jimmy Jones (.136 rt) 3.99 @ 180 vs. (L) Jim Phillips (-.115 rt) 4.50 @ 153
(W) Mark Bowman (.098 rt) 4.09 @ 176 vs. (L) Raymond Dawson (.156 rt) 4.12 @ 169
(W) Bobby Marriott (.394 rt) 4.114 @ 177 vs. (L) Doyle Smith (No Time)
(W) Donnie Massey (.122 rt) 3.99 @ 182 vs. (L) Jeff Woolard (.365 rt) 5.14 @ 137
Terry Brian - Eric Buchanan
Mark Bowman - Bobby Marriott
Jimmy Jones and Terry Brian blazed the hides side by side to kick off the semi-final round as this one was set up to be an excellent race on paper. Brian had the horsepower advantage but knew Jones could jump up at any time and dip into the 3.80s. Off the line, Jones took the early lead and held a wheel on Brian at half-track. As they blasted through the finish line, Jones lit the scoreboards with a 3.95 at 182 to take the win over Brian's quicker but loosing 3.93 at 188 mph as .039 of a second separated the two at the stripe. Jones was heading to the last dance to take on the winner between the next pair, Donnie Massey vs. Mark Bowman. Bowman had been fighting an unknown vibration in the "Blown Income" entry and after the burnout, that vibration got worse and he was forced to shut-off to prevent further damage. On a solo shot, Massey thundered to a stellar 3.89 at 186 mph to move into the finals against Jones.
(W) Jimmy Jones (.054 rt) 3.95 @ 182 vs. (L) Terry Brian (.119 rt) 3.93 @ 188
(W) Donnie Massey (.393 rt) 3.89 @ 186 vs. (L) Mark Bowman (No Time)
Jimmy Jones - Donnie Massey
A classic blown alcohol vs. blown nitro match up was on tap in the final round at Mo-Kan Dragway with points leader Jimmy Jones ready to dance with Donnie Massey to crown an event champion. The crew chiefs pulled their drivers to the beams and at the flash of amber, Jones took the early lead. At half-track the cars were glued together side by side and charging hard with Massey shooting header flames high in the sky. Massey made a move at the top end and pulled ahead to take the win with an impressive 3.86 at 185 mph to Jones' close 3.94 at 184 mph in a great side by side final round. The margin of victory just .004 of a second at the stripe.
FINAL ROUND RESULTS:
(W) Donnie Massey (.112 rt) 3.86 @ 185 vs. (L) Jimmy Jones (.043 rt) 3.94 @ 184
Winner - Donnie Massey and team
This marked the first win of the season for Donnie Massey and team "Showtime" and moved them into second place in the points standings behind Jimmy Jones who now holds a thirty point lead. The OFAA series has three points races remaining with the next stop set for San Antonio Raceway as a part of the IHRA Nitro Jam series in another special two day event on September 25th & 26th. The OFAA series would like to thank Painless Performance Products, Good Vibrations Motorsports and Competition Sales of Dallas for their support of the 2015 racing season. For more information, visit www.ofaa.net.