McSwain Masters Wild Season Opener
Marriott & Smith Walk Away From Top End Crash
North Star Dragway - Denton, TX - May 8th, 2016
Report: Chris Graves
The Outlaw Fuel Altered Association kicked off its special 20th Anniversary season at North Star Dragway in Denton, Texas on Saturday, May 7th. Sunny skies and temperatures in the 80's welcomed a full field of these wicked machines in what would be one of the most thrilling events in recent history. Defending series Champion Jimmy Jones was in the house, but some fierce competition joined him in the hunt for the first win of the season. With new title sponsorship from Lone Star Forklift, the OFAA's 20th season will be a memorable one as action got underway with eager spectators lined up past the finish line and both grandstands at maximum capacity.
The first qualifying session was a showcase of horsepower as teams dipped into the three second zone on the regular, led by Ken Singleton's "High Risk" with a 3.84 blast at 177 mph. Bobby Marriott's "Shockwave" blistered the strip with a 3.89 at 193 mph and the Darby & Buchanan "Nitro Relapse" entry posted a solid 3.94 at 190 mph. Jimmy Jones' 3.95 secured his spot in the field and Donny McSwain, Nick Poloson and Donnie Massey joined the company with 3.99's. Fifteen cars made passes in less than thirty minutes as the action was non-stop and teams returned to the pits to prepare for the final qualifying session.
As the sun set over the North Texas skyline, the call went out to fire the first pair of the final qualifying session. At rapid pace, fuel altereds lined up and blasted down the eighth mile and Eric Buchanan held low elapsed time of the round with a 3.81 at 187 mph as Doyle Smith and Bobby Marriott brought their nitro burners to life. This is when things got very scary at North Star Dragway.
At the flash of amber, the cars were off the line together and charging hard. Just as the cars neared the 330' foot mark, Marriott's engine let go and erupted into flames with oil spewing under the rear slicks and Marriott battling for control. The car made an abrupt move to the centerline and into Smith's lane as Marriott, now covered in oil and fire, was still fighting to keep control and somehow still got the chutes out and fuel shutoff before being impacted from the rear by Smith's entry. This wild impact sent both cars bouncing across the top end as the left rear slick exploded on Marriott's car shortly after both cars crossed the finish line in the same lane, Smith's scoreboard posting a 4.11 elapsed time at 126 mph.
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