The fourth event of the 2019 Best of Texas BBQ Sauce Funny Car Chaos Championship tour presented by Red Line Shirt Club marked the debut of the series at Pine Valley Raceway in Lufkin, Texas on July 5th & 6th. This event marked not only a memorable celebration of American freedom for the racing fans of East Texas, but also a celebration of grassroots American funny car racing! Eighteen cars were on hand to entertain the capacity crowd in this event presented by Dooley & Sons Hot Rod Shop. Ken Singleton came in atop the points standings with Jordan Ballew, Brandon Lewis and Clay Cunningham nipping at his heels as the inaugural Championship battle was heating up just as fast as the Texas summer temperatures.
Pine Valley Raceway opened its doors in 2004 and is the premier drag racing facility in East Texas located just under two hours Northeast of Houston. For over a decade, the IHRA sanctioned facility was used primarily for bracket racing and locals were buzzing in anticipation of the Funny Car Chaos event which many long time track employees claim brought the biggest crowd ever through the gates. Spectators were parked clear to the elapsed time booth and tailgaters were set up past the ¼ mile markers, ready for heads up funny car racing under warm, humid, partly cloudy skies that would be capped off by between round entertainment from the Dirty South Gassers, Ray Kelley’s “Game Xchange” jet dragster, index racing and a fireworks show on Saturday night.
Dirty South Gassers
Gassers and BUGS
Ray Kelley Jet
Thursday was spent putting final touches on the facility and track surface as teams steadily poured through the front gate and found their parking spots. Over 100 racers were on the property by Friday afternoon as day one of the festivities hosted two sessions of funny car qualifying under the lights along with test and tune. Funny car racers had full bellies after a very accommodating pre-party held Thursday night in the pits of Jeff Cameron courtesy of the Burnout BBQ Brigade. With the drivers meeting complete and the sun starting to set behind the Texas skyline, it was finally time to fire up the floppers and let them battle for position in the quick sixteen.
After Friday’s sessions, Ken Singleton led the sheets with 3.84 at 197 mph blast in the “High Risk” alcohol burning Monte Carlo from Oklahoma. Nick Poloson wheeled the Gary Doak owned “Bucket List” nitro burner to a 4.08 at 180 mph and most recent ‘A’ field winner Brandon Lewis’ 4.09 at 174 earned him the number three spot heading into the final qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Nancy Matter and Ronny Young rounded out the top five in the Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ field while Jeff Cameron held the number one spot in the AlkyDigger ‘B’ field with a 4.63 at 150 mph. With two of three sessions complete, teams returned to the pits to service their machines as a wild final qualifying session was on tap for Saturday.
All eyes were on number four in points Clay Cunningham and the “Still Crazy” alcohol burning Dodge Daytona from Dumas, Texas as battery issues plagued both his two qualifying attempts on Friday and he came into the final session with no time recorded. Finally it appeared the gremlins were gone as Cunningham laid down a 4.53 at 124 mph to bump himself into the top qualifying spot of the AlkyDigger ‘B’ field. Larry Bradford was the last car to run in the final qualifier in the “American Dream” from San Antonio and was outside looking in until his 4.69 at 154 mph moved him solidly into the program, bumping out Robert Slaughter’s “Smokey Bear” from Waco. A downer for Slaughter, but it was short lived, as Bradford returned to the pits to discover breakage that put an end to his weekend and Slaughter was inserted back into the field as first alternate. The field was now set, it was time to pair up and play for keeps as the fans continued to find their seats and favorite spots on the fence, ready for some wild elimination rounds in Lufkin.
Rodak's Custom Roasted Coffee & BBQ Grills 'A' Field:
1. Ken Singleton (Chickasha, OK) - 3.84 @ 197
2. Nick Poloson (San Antonio, TX) - 4.08 @ 180
3. Brandon Lewis (Tulsa, OK) - 4.09 @ 174
4. Nancy Matter (Lewisville, TX) - 4.11 @ 180
5. Ronny Young (Wylie, TX) - 4.15 @ 146
6. Keith Jackson (Lakewood, CO) 4.20 @ 174
7. Chuck Loftin (Seguin, TX) - 4.2882 @ 168
8. Kebin Kinsley (Arlington, TX) - 4.2886 @ 137
Alkydigger 'B' Field:
1. Clay Cunningham (Dumas, TX) - 4.52 @ 124
2. Jeff Cameron (Magnolia, TX) - 4.63 @ 150
3. Tod Barker (Marlow, OK) - 4.67 @ 129
4. Larry Bradford (San Antonio, TX) - 4.691 @ 149
5. Dave Gallegos (St. Mary's, KS) - 4.698 @ 154
6. Fred Farndon (Edmond, OK) - 4.72 @ 116
7. Jordan Ballew (Bartlesville, OK) - 4.80 @ 144
8. Eric Eoff (San Antonio, TX) - 5.10 @ 108
9. Robert Slaughter (Waco, TX) - 5.99 @ 84
10. Damon Kuhn (Houston, TX) - No Time