The fourth and final event of the 2018 Funny Car Chaos season welcomed the outlaw funny car frenzy back to North Star Dragway in Denton, Texas where it all began less than one year ago. With 30 teams pre-entered from Bismarck, North Dakota to Reno, Nevada and everywhere in-between this season finale presented by Red Line Shirt Club would be the largest field yet and biggest Texas funny car show in decades. The chaos lived up to its name in an epic two day battle with mother nature and despite numerous showers coupled with humidity off the charts, the chaos erupted in true form as eager racers were finally able to take it to the track.
With no rules in regards to engine combination or body style, an incredibly wide range of flip top floppers were in attendance as all thirty entries found their place in the pits. A pre-race kickoff party Thursday night pegged the fun meter as teams moved into Friday ready to battle for a spot in the 24 car qualified field, which would be split into an 8 car 'A' field and 16 car Chicago style 'B' field. During the drivers meeting, big news came that FC Chaos plans to host 7 to 8 events in 2019 and the new year will welcome a Championship points tour, presented by Best of Texas BBQ Sauce. Chaos staff also confirmed the return to this year's host tracks including Mo-Kan Dragway, Amarillo Dragway, Central Illinois Dragway and of course North Star Dragway next season. A handful of special recognition awards were presented as Jordan Ballew and the Oklahoma based "Ballew Thunder" team took top honors as 'Racer of the Year'. Ballew and family are the only team in the world to attend all five FC Chaos events thus far and plan a full season assault in the 2019 points season. With news of continued chaos next year, it was time to focus on the task at hand as teams return to the pits to prepare for two rounds of heads up qualifying under the lights in Texas.
Late afternoon showers on Friday scrapped the planned test session and after a valiant effort to dry the drenched asphalt at the top end, with a storm system just a few miles away, the call was made to cancel Friday's racing completely. With thirty funny cars in the staging lanes, it was a tough but wise decision as safety is the top priority and just fifteen minutes after the call, the storm rolled in as teams were able to reach the safety of their pit areas just in time.
Clouds parted on Saturday morning and Chaos racers and fans were thankfully welcomed with very humid yet sunny skies. Staff bumped up the run times to get the show underway and hopefully complete at least two of the three scheduled qualifiers. The crowd went wild as the first pair of funny cars came to life and the thunder from the pipes sent goose bumps down the arms of eager attendees ready for outlaw funny car action. Staying true to form, a chaotic session unfolded as Allan Middendorf debuted the "American Outlaw" tuned by Jake Sanders and ripped off a ground shaking 3.72 at 192 mph but grazed the wall just feet before the finish line disqualifying his effort. Ronny Young in the "Blue Max" tuned by Dennis Piranio blasted to a 3.78 at 177 mph but suffered massive engine damage sidelining the local icon after just one pass. Thus, your number one qualifier after the first session was Chris Morel in the "Little City Cuda" who laid down a nice 3.86 at 204 mph. Two time 'A' field winner this year Ken Singleton wheeled the "High Risk" TA/FC to the number two spot with a 3.88 at 196 mph and Jim Chase' "Wicked Quick" 1957 Chevy rounded out the quick three with a 4.03 at 182 mph. John Hale, Kebin Kinsley, Mike Newkirk, Nick Poloson and Ray Stringer all secured their spot in the 'A' field as well.
Just minutes before the call back to the lanes for the final qualifier, rain returned to North Star Dragway, but thankfully not the torrential downpour seen on Friday night. Fighting humidity that could choke a Texas sized mosquito, a massive task was at hand to again return the asphalt top end to a dry and safe racing condition. With the help of Ray Kelley's "Game X-Change" jet dragster and tireless effort by NSD track staff, Chaos officials could see the light as asphalt was finally drying as the sun tucked behind the Texas skyline and the radar looked clear for the remainder of the evening. With time lost due to the drying effort, the field was set based on the first round of qualifying and the call went out for eliminations to get underway!
A surprisingly strong crowd found their seats and filled the stands as all eyes were on the starting line as the first pair came to life. An eruption of celebration from the fans showed their appreciation for all the efforts being made to continue this event and those diehard fans certainly got their monies worth as Chaos was officially underway with the 'A' field kicking off the action. John Hale's "One Bad Texan" was up first in a winning effort as his 3.96 at 195 mph defeated a solid 4.36 at 168 run from fellow nitro burner Ray Stringer. Top qualifier Chris Morel clicked off low elapsed time of the round with a stout 3.75 at 208 mph to defeat Kebin Kinsley's off-pace 6.87. Nick Poloson wheeled the Gary Doak owned "Bucket List" to a 4.60 at 154 mph in a pedal-fest with Jim Chase who eventually crossed the centerline. Closing the 'A' field was Ken Singleton who's 3.90 at 196 held off Mike Newkirk's 4.14 at 174 mph. Three nitro burners and a two time event winning alcohol entry were set for the semis of the Dooley & Sons Hot Rod Shop 'A' field.
In the Rodak's Custom Coffee 'B' field, the quickest four winners would advance to the semi-finals of this Chicago style round. Fifteen cars occupied the sixteen car ladder as carnage of various types sidelined several heavy hitters prior to eliminations. Leading the quickest four winners was Keith Jackson's "High Heaven" with a 4.13 at 178 mph in a winning effort over Mike Buchanan. Nick Johnson posted a 4.86 at 146 mph in the "Prairie Fire" to defeat a tire smoking Fred Farndon. Jordan Ballew's 4.65 at 150 mph took the win over Steve Northrop's injected funny car to earn a spot in the semis and Andy Mears' 4.60 at 150 mph scored a semi-final ticket in a close match up with Daniel Butherus.
A big tip of the cap goes out to all the members of the Dirty South Gassers who filled the between round action with their heads up old school match racing machines. It takes a special kind of racer to hang in there through the thick and thin and the DSG racers did just that, delivering some exciting racing in their time on the track.