The Outlaw Fuel Altered Association packed the pits at Xtreme Raceway Park in Ferris, Texas to conclude the 2020 Good Vibrations Motorsports Championship season presented by Lone Star Forklift and Entech Oil. Entering the two day event, held Friday & Saturday, September 18th & 19th, Jody Austin held an eleven point lead over Aaron Morrow. Four time series Champion Jimmy Jones was just sixteen points back in third as a three way battle for the crown would ensue under the lights starting with Friday night qualifying and delivered lots of drama and header flames in Texas.
Highlighting the action on Friday night was a wild ride for Jimmy Jones in the “Texas Tremor” entry as the car left hard, then went into severe tire shake and darted across the centerline. Jones corrected the car and at that exact moment the left rear slick and wheel shot out from under the car as sparks flew and Jones battled to retain control of his now three wheel fuel altered. The chutes deployed and the car, without brakes, finally slid to a stop as Jones exited under his own power and walked away from the wild scene. Clearly, his hopes for a fifth OFAA series Championship were gone at this point but thankfully Jones escaped injury and will now focus on repairs for a return in 2021.
Aaron Morrow now stood as Austin’s only competition for the ring and also ran into issues as a broken lifter slowed his first qualifying pass to only a 4.40 and with major repairs necessary, the Terry Darby owned team skipped the second session to begin the maintenance necessary to make the first round of eliminations coming Saturday afternoon. Skipping that session cost them five valuable points.
Meanwhile, many teams strived under the lights and Raymond Dawson claimed the number one qualifying position with a 3.81 at 188 mph followed closely by a pair of 3.82s from Bobby Marriott and Mark Billington. Unfortunately, John Broussard and team “Purple Haze” who had just survived the aftermath of Hurricane Laura in their hometown of Lake Charles, Louisiana, experienced major engine damage and were sidelined for the remainder of the event. With Jones and Broussard out, the ten remaining cars were paired up and ready to battle on Saturday night at XRP.
Raymond Dawson - Number 1 Qualifier
It was a new day and the pressure was on team “Nitro Relapse” as driver Aaron Morrow and owner Terry Darby now knew they had to win the event, and Jody Austin would have to lose first round, for them to come from behind to claim the title. With the necessary repairs made after an afternoon thrash, Morrow made it to the line for first round against OFAA newcomer Keith Zimmerer. Zimmerer’s Will Hanna tuned screw blown entry had transmission issues and was forced to shutoff while Morrow ripped off a 3.77 at 193 mph to earn the round win. Mark Billington and Clint Cross brought their fuel burners to life and filled the starting line with heavy nitro fumes as Cross took a huge starting line advantage and posted his best pass of the year with a 3.94 at 186, but Billington had the ponies to drive around with a 3.80 at 162 mph.
Eliminations continued as Donny McSwain paired up with top qualifier Raymond Dawson and Dawson’s -.015 reaction time fouled out while McSwain posted an off pace but winning 4.34 at 154 mph. Bobby Marriott and Mark Hunter crept into the beams with their fuelers as Marriott’s 3.81 at 193 mph edged out a too quick Mark Hunter with a 3.64 at 189 mph pass that raised eyebrows. In the final pair, Jody Austin was in a win to clinch match-up with Rick Lewelling. Lewelling was entering his second OFAA event in the new “Midnight Special” nitro burner and posted a 4.10 at 144 mph but came up short to Austin’s 3.81 at 152 mph. With the win, Austin mathematically clinched the 2020 Good Vibrations Motorsports Outlaw Fuel Altered Championship!
2020 Season Champion - Jody Austin
FIRST ROUND RESULTS
(W) Morrow (.154 rt) 3.77 @ 193 -vs- (L) Zimmerer (No Time)
(W) Billington (.225 rt) 3.80 @ 162 -vs- (L) Cross (.086 rt) 3.94 @ 186
(W) McSwain (.086 rt) 4.34 @ 154 -vs- (L) Dawson (-.015 rt) 3.84 @ 187
(W) Marriott (.121 rt) 3.81 @ 193 -vs- (L) Hunter (.207 rt) 3.64 @ 189
(W) Austin (.154 rt) 3.81 @ 152 -vs- (L) Lewelling (.141 rt) 4.10 @ 144
The semi-finals brought back the five first round winners with Mark Billington earning the bye run based on his first round performance. Billington clicked off a 4.05 at 134 mph to earn the round win. Aaron Morrow and Bobby Marriott staged up next as Marriott’s too quick 3.77 at 193 mph fell to Morrow’s 3.85 at 184 mph lap. Morrow earned a spot in the final as one of the two quickest winners as Jody Austin and Donny McSwain fired up next. McSwain posted his best pass of the night with a 4.00 at 170 but Austin’s “BushWhacker” had the power with a 3.88 at 146 mph to take the win.
SEMI-FINAL ROUND RESULTS:
(W) Billington (.167 rt) 4.05 @ 134 -vs- (L) Bye Run
(W) Morrow (.154 rt) 3.85 @ 184 -vs- (L) Marriott (.146 rt) 3.77 @ 193
(W) Austin (.110 rt) 3.88 @ 146 -vs- (L) McSwain (.086 rt) 4.00 @ 170
Back in the pits, reports came in that the “Nitro Relapse” team of Darby & Morrow yet again suffered major engine damage and would be unable to make the call for the final round against Austin. Per OFAA rules, the next quickest winning alternate assumes that spot and thus Mark Billington would now face off with Jody Austin to put a cap on the final event of the season.
With high hopes of a side by side header flaming battle, all eyes were on the line as the ambers dropped on the final pair of the season. Surprisingly, Austin’s car went into immediate tire smoke and he had the best seat in the house to watch Billington eventually also run into issues, clicking it early to a 5.98 at 77 mph to Austin’s 7.98. Not the final we expected, but a win none the less for Billington and the well-earned, hard fought Championship title for Jody Austin and company. Congratulations to both teams on a solid outing to end the 2020 season in Texas.
FINAL ROUND RESULTS:
(W) Billington (.137 rt) 5.98 @ 77 -vs- (L) Austin (.280 rt) 7.98 @ 54
Event Winner - Mark Billington
That’s a wrap on 2020! The year of great challenges for everyone in the world, facing a global pandemic, economic uncertainty and political tension, yet for the members of the Outlaw Fuel Altereds and race fans who cheer them on it was another great season and Championship battle that came down to the final race of the year. A big thank you to Good Vibrations Motorsports, Lone Star Forklift, Entech Oil, Littlefield Blowers, Taylor Motorsports Products and Meyer Enterprises for their support of the OFAA 2020 campaign. Until next year folks, have a great off-season and we’ll see you in 2021!
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - Words by Chris Graves
Photos by Chris Graves and Wes Ramsey