The Outlaw Fuel Altereds held their fourth points race of the season at Ardmore Dragway on Saturday, September 3rd as the headliners of the 11th Annual Hot Rod Reunion. With just three races remaining in the season, the pressure was on the top runners as every point would prove crucial to the Lone Star Forklift points Championship chase. Entering the event, Nick Poloson and team "Sundown" held a fifteen point lead over Donny McSwain with Raymond Dawson rounding out the top three. A fierce field of eleven fuel altereds were in the house hungry for horsepower as the call went out for the first of two qualifying sessions under pleasant mid 90's temperatures and partly cloudy skies.
Clint Cross Warm Up - Fire It Up
In the first pair of round one qualifying, Raymond Dawson blasted to a 3.99 at 178 mph in the Danny Wright tuned "High Octane" entry alongside Mary Reep's 3.92 at 165 mph. Eric Buchanan posted a stout 3.85 for the quickest run of the session. Jimmy Jones' "Texas Tremor" and Ken Singleton's "High Risk" laid down side by side 4.04's to close the session as the teams returned to the pits to make adjustments for their final qualifying session.
Donny McSwain and team "Wild One" tuned by Kenny Trumble improved to a 4.05 at 154 mph in the second session which held up for the number five qualifying position. Points leader Nick Poloson's best of a 4.13 at 168 mph secured the number seven spot. Dawson's 3.99 held strong as the top qualifier in the 4.00 qualifying system and he would lead the field into eliminations. The top five qualifiers were separated by just .07 of a second as it was time to play for keeps and rack up some points as pairings were set for first round.
FINAL QUALIFYING ORDER:
1. Raymond Dawson (Nevada, TX) - 4.009 (3.990) @ 178
2. Ken Singleton (Chickasha, OK) - 4.043 @ 157
3. Jimmy Jones (Cleburne, TX) - 4.046 @ 154
4. Mary Reep (Austin, TX) - 4.048 (3.952) @ 163
5. Donny McSwain (Rockwall, TX) - 4.07 @ 151
6. Mark Bowman (Oklahoma City, OK) - 4.11 @ 176
7. Nick Poloson (Bulverde, TX) - 4.13 @ 168
8. Eric Buchanan (Justin, TX) - 4.143 (3.856) @ 191
9. Mark Billington (Prosper, TX) - 4.18 @ 137
10. Mark Hunter (Tyler, TX) - 4.73 @ 128
11. Clint Cross (Crossroads, TX) - No Time
The first round of eliminations got underway with Nick Poloson and Ken Singleton bringing their hot rods to the line. In this first round, the two quickest winners would advance to the final round, putting emphasis on both win lights and the time slip. Singleton revved up his blown alcohol entry and blasted off the line first and never looked back, taking out Poloson with a 4.10 at 166 to Poloson's off pace 5.22 at 101 mph, which opened the door for McSwain and Dawson to make a move with the points leader on the trailer early.
Dawson was out next alongside Mark Bowman. Bowman had troubles off the line and his 4.90 was no match for Dawson's nice 3.96 at 173 mph. Next up Mary Reep came to the line in the "Grim Reeper" with our most recent winner Mark Billington and the "Magic Dragon" nitro burner in the opposing lane. Reep blasted off the line with a .017 reaction time and posted a strong 3.94 at 176 mph to take out Billington's 3.97 at 184 mph. Eric Buchanan was up next in the Terry Darby tuned "Nitro Relapse" that had run 3.85 in qualifying, ready to take on multi-time series Champion Jimmy Jones. Jones took a slight starting line advantage but Buchanan drove around him with a 3.98 at 187 mph to take the win over Jones' 4.15 at 162.
Jimmy Jones - Eric Buchanan
With just one pair left, Dawson's 3.96 and Reep's 3.94 held the tickets to the final round but number two in points Donny McSwain was up next along-side Mark Hunter. If McSwain could get the win and run better than 3.967 he would bump Dawson from the final and have a great opportunity to run Poloson down in the standings. At the flash of amber, McSwain was off the line first and charging hard, taking the stripe with the win and a 3.97 at 174 mph, missing the final round by .012 of a second. Dawson and Reep were final round bound, both in their first final of the year.