The Red Line Shirt Club Funny Car Chaos Championship tour presented by Entech Oil and Mears Mazda Volvo was able to resume its 2020 season at Iowa’s Eddyville Raceway Park on May 29-30th. After sneaking in the season opener in mid-March, the series was forced to re-schedule several events due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With funny car teams across the country itching to race, a stout twenty five car field with teams from twelve states converged on Eddyville, Iowa for two days of ground pounding heads up flip top action.
Per the Iowa governor’s orders, no ‘spectators’ were allowed in the property, a mandate that was set to expire June 1st, just two days after the event’s completion. But, an unlimited number of ‘crew’ were permitted in the pits, which allowed a respectable amount of hard core ‘crew’ to become part of the Funny Car Chaos ‘survey team’ working to observe the event and report back to the series in an effort to improve upon future events.
This event also marked the first time for a Funny Car Chaos pay-per-view service allowing people who were unable to attend the event to experience the show from the safety of their own homes. It was also the first time for live stream provider BangShift.com to provide a multi-camera broadcast with Chad Reynolds hosting the event and Les Mayhew of Nitro America fame capturing the action from the starting line.
Ken Singleton and Steve Vang entered the event, both making the tow from Oklahoma, with targets on their backs as winners of the season opener held in Texas. Chaos regulars chasing every possible point towards the 2020 title were joined by many first time series participants from the mid-west. Chris Foster, Kyle Smith and Robbie Massey were in attendance in their big show legal TA/FC cars, joined by Jeff Krug and Justin Herbst’s alcohol powered entries. Three nitro teams made their Chaos debut with Levi Keenen’s Tom Motry tuned “Illinois Thunder” entry, Mark Howard’s “Rednecks N’ Fuel” big show style fuel burner driven by Top Fuel pilot Terry Totten and Jim Hidy’s “Fuelish Intentions”.
Eddyville Raceway Park owner Gerald Kramer and Chaos series director Chris Graves had to get creative in this one of a kind event structure and a massive effort was put forth to make this race a reality. It was an effort well worth it, as racers and ‘crew’ members were treated to a spectacular showing by the funny cars under stellar weather conditions. The fun meter was pegged, the pits were filled with people who were finally able to do what they love, drag race, and one awesome drag race it was!
Friday night hosted two rounds of qualifying and for about half of the field, this was their first time to hit the track in the 2020 season. Chaos was missing its touring announcer David Rattan to illness, so the familiar voice of Bob Unkefer came into call the action for the weekend. Keith Jackson rounded out the Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ field with a 4.20 at 165 mph charge, but his story wasn’t over at the finish line. After debuting a brand new 1970 Camaro bodied “High Heaven” with a jaw dropping custom paint job, Jackson had major issues at the top end after his parachute lever bracket failed sending him through the shutdown with no chutes. Off the end of the track Jackson went and deep into the corn field. This marks the second trip into a cornfield for Jackson in Chaos competition after a very similar scenario in 2018 in Illinois.
Thankfully for Jackson and the team, much due to a stellar driving effort, Jackson climbed out of the car completely uninjured and to the surprise of everyone on the property, the one year old chassis and brand new body were minimally damaged. After a thrash back in the pits and some fabrication assistance from fellow fuel flopper pilot Jack Wyatt, team “High Heaven” was able to return to competition and race in Saturday’s main event.
Keith Jackson in the corn field
Jeff Krug had an oil filter failure early in the second qualifying session which resulted in a massive oil down, thus the remainder of the session was run in left lane singles. Ken Singleton raised eyebrows with a top qualifying effort of 3.75 at 20 4 mph. Chris Foster’s 3.90 at 174 and Steve Timoszyk’s career best 3.91 at 182 mph held on for the top three spots after Friday. John Umlauf’s “Mass Chaos” nitro burning Monza clicked off a 4.38 to earn the top qualifying spot in the Alkydigger ‘B’ field and the bump spot was Dustin Bradford’s 4.59 with one qualifying session remaining on Saturday afternoon.
Kyle Smith and ChuckLoftin Round 1
Parts attrition took its toll on a few teams who were out of competition early including Howard & Totten’s big show style entry along with Harrigan & King’s “Fools Gold” entry, Scott Cousimano’s “Nitro Mafia” and Jim Hidy’s Iowa based fueler. Saturday afternoon’s final qualifying session welcomed sunshine and a stellar race track for teams looking to step up and that they did.
Jim Chase’s “Wicked Quick” alcohol burning 1957 Chevy from Bismarck, North Dakota had posted a cone slaying 3.90 on Friday night, but the centerline foul disqualified the run. Not to worry, Chase blasted to a stellar 3.82 at 192 mph to jump to the number two spot in the ‘A’ field. Chuck Loftin’s “Motivation” nitro burning Mustang from Texas made a big move into the ‘A’ field with a 3.93 at 190 mph effort and Chris Schneider wheeled John Troxel’s Missouri based “Brutus” to a career best 4.33 at 162 mph to lead the ‘B’ field qualifiers into eliminations after inserting alternates for sidelined qualifiers.
Jeff Cameron’s “Magnolia Missile” joined the growing list of career best times with a 4.41 at 156 mph and Nick Johnson rounded out the ‘B’ field in Wayne Reinart’s “Prairie Fire” with a 4.66 at 154 mph as the final alternate. Johnson bumped into the field after Chris Foster discovered mechanical issues that were not repairable at the track, an unfortunate result for a first time Chaos team that everyone on the property expected to be a top contender. Jeff Krug also made an early exit due to breakage after a career best 4.12 at 176 mph had earned him a spot in the elite ‘A’ field. The pairings were set and it was time to play for keeps in Iowa.
Chris King - broke
Robbie Massey Round 1- tire shake
Chris Foster - broke
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