The Outlaw Fuel Altered Association charged into Ardmore Dragway on Saturday, September 1st to headline their 13th Annual Reunion event on a hot late Summer afternoon in southern Oklahoma. Fresh and ready to put on a show, this marked the first OFAA points race since late May after back to back rain outs in June and July. With a points battle brewing between the top five in the Good Vibrations Motorsports / Lone Star Forklift points chase, the pressure was on as the remaining four events will prove critical to those in the hunt for the title.
(L) Bobby Marriott - (R) Aaron Morrow
Fourteen fuel altereds were on the property and ready to put the thunder in the pipes as qualifying got underway. After two sessions, Mark Hunter and team "Jailbreak" led by Jim "Beaver" Wasson and company held the top spot to claim their first ever number one qualifying effort. Aaron Morrow, Nick Poloson, Bobby Marriott and Mark Billington rounded out the top five qualifiers. Ironically, none of these top five qualifiers were in the top five in points heading into this event. Severe tire shake plagued the "Wild One" team of Donny McSwain as the crew discovered a cracked frame rail after their first pass which sidelined them for the rest of the event. Tim Cruce made his OFAA debut in the "Cruce Missle" entry and will be getting more seat time looking for a full season campaign in 2019.
- FINAL QUALIFYING ORDER -
1. Mark Hunter (Lindale, TX) - 4.009 (3.990) @ 167
2. Aaron Morrow (Garland, TX) - 4.01 @ 161
3. Nick Poloson (San Antonio, TX) - 4.021 (3.978) @ 181
4. Bobby Marriott (Pilot Point, TX) - 4.03 @ 176
5. Mark Billington (Prosper, TX) - 4.05 @ 139
6. Mary Reep (Austin, TX) - 4.09 @ 152
7. Ken Singleton (Chickasha, OK) - 4.12 @ 161
8. John Broussard (Lake Charles, LA) - 4.13 @ 155
9. Donny McSwain (Rockwall, TX) - 4.19 @ 166
10. Jody Austin (Ponder, TX) - 4.25 @ 134
11. Jimmy Jones (Cleburne, TX) - 4.25 @ 173
12. Clint Cross (Athens, TX) - 4.72 @ 115
13. Donnie Massey (Little Elm, TX) - 5.01 @ 105
14. Tim Cruce (Ft. Worth, TX) - 5.34 @ 133
Pairings were set as the first round was on tap with a points critical pair kicking off the action as Bobby Marriott's "Shockwave" and points leader Ken Singleton's "High Risk" came to the line. This was a big one for Singleton who was looking to maximize his points earning potential. Despite a massive holeshot, Singleton's 4.17 at 181 mph was no match for Marriott's 3.93 at 182 mph as Marriott took the nod. Next up top qualifier Mark Hunter lined up with fellow nitro burner Aaron Morrow. At half-track the "Nitro Relapse" entry erupted in smoke and the resulting oil down told the tale as massive engine damage slowed the car to a 4.10 at 143 mph while Hunter ripped off a career best 3.89 at 172 mph to make a statement to the competition.
John Broussard's "Purple Haze" rolled through next alongside Jimmy Jones as this pair of heavy hitting alcohol entries revved em' up and crept into the beams. Jones blew the tires off immediately while Broussard cruised to a winning 4.02 at 176 mph, an important win for Broussard who entered this event second in points. Mark Billington was up next in Raymond Austin's "Magic Dragon" fresh off their win at the Pro Mod -vs- Fuel Altered Showdown this summer in Texas. Billington lined up with defending series Champion Nick Poloson in the Tom Wood tuned "Sundown" Fiat. The nitro fumes were thick as the cars blasted off the line, but this one was all Billington with a winning 3.87 at 174 mph to Poloson's 4.13 at 160 mph.
In the OFAA Chicago-style format, the two quickest winners from the first round advanced straight to the final and with two pairs remaining, Mark Hunter's 3.89 and Mark Billington's 3.87 held final round spots and hoped their runs would hold up with some stiff competition coming up. Jody Austin's "BushWhacker" and Clint Cross in the Allen Meyer tuned "Crossways" came to life as Austin's 3.94 at 166 mph took the round win over a tire shaking 4.57 at 112 for Cross. In the final pair, Mary Reep's "Grim Reeper" clocked a 3.92 at 183 mph in a winning round over Donnie Massey's off pace 4.85 in "Showtime" as Hunter and Billington were final round bound. One thing was for sure, we'd have a "Mark" in the winners circle in Ardmore!
- FIRST ROUND RESULTS -
(W) Bobby Marriott (.156 rt) 3.93 @ 182 -vs- (L) Ken Singleton (.023 rt) 4.17 @ 181
(W) Mark Hunter (.214 rt) 3.89 @ 172 -vs- (L) Aaron Morrow (.320 rt) 4.10 @ 143
(W) John Broussard (.078 rt) 4.02 @ 176 -vs- (L) Jimmy Jones (.111 rt) 10.29 @ 41
(W) Mark Billington (.105 rt) 3.87 @ 174 -vs- (L) Nick Poloson (.036 rt) 4.13 @ 160
(W) Jody Austin (.147 rt) 3.94 @ 166 -vs- (L) Clint Cross (.127 rt) 4.57 @ 112
(W) Mary Reep (.337 rt) 3.92 @ 183 -vs- (L) Donnie Massey (.145 rt) 4.85 @ 113
As the final rounds were shaping up in the additional classes being held at the Ardmore Dragway Reunion it was time to put a cap on Outlaw Fuel Altered action with team "Jailbreak" and team "Magic Dragon" making their final preparations. Hunter and company were in their first career OFAA final round while Billington was looking for his first win of the season. The cars came to life as nitro fumes and the sweet sound of nitro cacklin' from the pipes filled the nights sky. Flames belching from the pipes set the stage for an awesome final round as all eyes were on the starting line as crew chiefs walked away and sent their drivers into the beams. The ambers dropped and they were off with nearly identical reaction times and header flames high as the cars were glued together side by side. It was a nail biter as the cars neared the finish line, but at the stripe Mark Hunter and team "Jailbreak" took the win light with a career best 3.86 at 190 mph to Billington's very close 3.90 at 161 mph. The starting line erupted in celebration as Jim Wasson and company celebrated their first ever Outlaw Fuel Altered victory in their third season of competition.
- FINAL ROUND RESULTS -
(W) Mark Hunter (.141 rt) 3.86 @ 190 -vs- (L) Mark Billington (.142 rt) 3.90 @ 161
The winners circle was filled with smiles and congratulations from fellow competitors as the team's celebration continued. Congratulations to Mark Hunter, Jim Wasson and the entire "Jailbreak" team a dominating performance in Ardmore. Top qualifier, career best numbers and a big win made for one memorable weekend for this hard working team. With their victory, Hunter and company jumped into third place in points and well into Championship contention.
Mark Hunter - Winner
With only 20 points separating the top seven in points standings, the 2018 OFAA Championship hunt is hot and the remaining three races will be stout. John Broussard took over the top spot in the standings as consistency is paying off for the "Purple Haze" team who lead the standings despite zero final round appearances this season. Ken Singleton moved down to second place just two points behind the leader. Back to back weekends of competition are up next as the series heads to San Antonio on September 22nd and Evadale Raceway on September 29th before closing the season at Xtreme Raceway Park on October 13th. Thanks to Good Vibrations Motorsports and Lone Star Forklift for their support of the series this year and to the Carrell family and staff at Ardmore Dragway for a great day of racing.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - Report: Chris Graves
Photos: Max Cackle Photos.com, Wes Ramsey, Steve Scott