The Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ field kicked off the first round of eliminations as Mo-Kan winner Nancy Matter came to the line in her Dale Pulde tuned fuel flopper lined up against Ronny Young in the famed “Blue Max” guided by tuner Dennis Piranio. Matter blasted off the line with a .029 reaction time and used a 4.21 at 189 mph to take a massive holeshot win over Young’s 3.92 at 172 mph. Nick Poloson’s 4.04 at 185 mph defeated Amarillo ‘B’ field winner Chuck Loftin and most recent ‘A’ field winner Brandon Lewis clicked off a 4.08 at 184 mph to defeat Keith Jackson’s “High Heaven” Colorado based entry. Ken Singleton and Kebin Kinsley were the final pair of first round ‘A’ field action as Singleton just made the call with just seconds to spare after a mad thrash back in the pits where cylinder head damage nearly forced them out of competition. “All clear on the top end, fire em’ up!” was the call from race director Bubba Corzine as the cars came to life. In the quickest and fastest side by side race of the event, Singleton used a .019 reaction time and 3.86 at 194 mph to nose out Kebin Kinsley’s 3.80 at 202 mph, low elapsed time and top speed of the meet. What a drag race!
Nick Poloson vs Chuck Loftin
AlkyDigger ‘B’ field first round came to life with Eric Eoff’s “Shazam!” nitro burning Corvette lined up with top qualifier Clay Cunningham. A -.007 reaction time ended the weekend for team “Still Crazy” who’s 4.19 was low elapsed time of the round, but it was Eoff advancing with a 4.62 at 159 mph. Dave Gallegos posted a 4.47 at 165 mph to defeat Robert Slaughter and Tod Barker’s “Back in Black” flamed alcohol Hemi powered Corvette laid down a 4.33 at 169 mph to defeat Fred Farndon. Jordan Ballew entered the round number two in points behind Singleton and had just watched him advance on a holeshot as Ballew’s famous dry hops were underway while his opponent Jeff Cameron prepared to stage. At the drop of amber, Cameron’s -.044 light ended his weekend while Ballew posted a winning 4.81 at 145 mph to move into the semi-finals.
First Round Elimination Results:
Rodak's Custom Coffee 'A' Field -
(W) Matter (.029 rt) 4.21 @ 189 -vs- (L) Young (.330 rt) 3.92 @ 172
(W) Poloson (.112 rt) 4.04 @ 185 -vs- (L) Loftin (.082 rt) 4.41 @ 162
(W) Lewis (.122 rt) 4.08 @ 184 -vs- (L) Jackson (.080 rt) 4.22 @ 176
(W) Singleton (.019 rt) 3.86 @ 194 -vs- (L) Kinsley (.128 rt) 3.80 @ 202
AlkyDigger 'B' Field -
(W) Eoff (.416 rt) 4.62 @ 159 -vs- (L) Cunningham (-.007 rt) 4.19 @ 156
(W) Gallegos (.247 rt) 4.47 @ 165 -vs- (L) Slaughter (.173 rt) 6.87 @ 74
(W) Barker (.114 rt) 4.33 @ 169 -vs- (L) Farndon (.137 rt) 7.92 @ 57
(W) Ballew (-.040 rt) 4.81 @ 145 -vs- (L) Cameron (-.044 rt) 4.70 @ 147
Nancy Matter vs Ronny Young
A prompt between round service and it was back to the lanes for the semi-final participants as the first pair of Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ field competitors pulled into the waterbox. In a re-match of the Amarillo semis, Brandon Lewis and Nick Poloson fired up in an all nitro affair. Tuner Guy Tipton guided Lewis back into the desired position after the burnout and team “Bucket List” made their final adjustments in the opposite side as the cars pulled into the stage position, nitro fumes pumping thick in the stagnant Lufkin air. With nearly identical reaction times, it was all up to horsepower as the cars thundered down the track tricking header flames from the pipes. At the stripe, Lewis’ 4.02 at 173 mph took the win over Poloson’s 4.16 at 175 mph. This marked the fourth straight ‘A’ field semi-final finish for Poloson, while Lewis was headed to his second final round in a row and hoped to become this year’s first repeat winner.
(L) Brandon Lewis - (R) Ronny Young
A battle between Ken Singleton and Nancy Matter would determine Lewis’ opponent as this time Matter made the call to the lanes with just seconds to spare. Matter, winner at Mo-Kan Dragway back in April, was ready to put the “Guardian” Chris Kyle Foundation Firebird back in the money round but faced a tough customer Ken Singleton who came into Lufkin with back to back runner up finishes. At the flash of amber, Singleton took a slight starting line advantage and never trailed as his 3.87 at 193 mph nosed out Matter’s solid 4.06 at 187 mph. It was Lewis and Singleton final round bound in Lufkin, an ‘A’ field final round re-match of the previous event just a month ago in Amarillo.
Dave Gallegos and Eric Eoff’s flip top fuelers came to life as the AlkyDigger ‘B’ field semi-finals got underway. Gallegos’ “Nitro Clown” from St. Mary’s, Kansas was steadily improving in performance and a 4.40 at 168 mph put the all black Camaro into the final over Eoff’s 4.91 at 152 mph. At the stripe, Gallegos’ car erupted in white smoke with clear engine damage at the top end. Could he make it back for the final round, only time would tell, as Tod Barker and Jordan Ballew fired up in the final pair of the semis. Yet again, Ballew had just seen Singleton advance and the points were precious heading into this one. Ballew showed his focus as he blasted off the line with a massive starting line advantage, but ran out of ponies as Barker’s 4.37 at 167 mph drove around Ballew’s 4.91 at 141 mph as Tod Barker and the Oklahoma based “Back in Black” team were headed to their first ever Chaos final round to take on Gallegos.
Semi-Final Elimination Results:
Rodak's Custom Coffee 'A' Field -
(W) Lewis (.093 rt) 4.02 @ 173 -vs- (L) Poloson (.092 rt) 4.16 @ 175
(W) Singleton (.118 rt) 3.87 @ 193 -vs- (L) Matter (.139 rt) 4.06 @ 187
AlkyDigger 'B' Field -
(W) Gallegos (.196 rt) 4.40 @ 168 -vs- (L) Eoff (.554 rt) 4.91 @ 152
(W) Barker (.169 rt) 4.37 @ 167 -vs- (L) Ballew (.030 rt) 4.91 @ 141
In an unexpected turn of events back in the pit area, Barker gave word to Chaos officials that he was unable to make the call with a broken oil pump, when all indications prior suggested Gallegos was the one in jeopardy with the massive smoke show at the top end on his previous run. With Barker out, the thrash was on in the “Nitro Clown” pits to replace pistons and make the car simply able to fire and take the tree, which would anticlimactically earn them their first Chaos event win. Meanwhile, ‘A’ field finalists Lewis and Singleton were in a smooth between round service as the heavyweights prepared for their final round re-match. With a majority of the overflow crowd still in the house, the call went out for all finalists to return to the lanes to put this one in the books.
"B" Field Runner Up - Tod Barker
"B" Field Winner - Dave Gallegos
Gallegos and company were able to piece together their engine and bring it to life with the simple task of staging and taking the green. Although it wasn’t a side by side wicked fight to the end, a win for team “Nitro Clown” was a deserving reward for the hard working crew and budget racer from Kansas. Congratulations to Dave Gallegos on a wild first career win in Funny Car Chaos!
The last race of the night, two of the top performing cars on the property, two of the top four in points, two hungry teams ready for a trip to the winners circle, it was go time for the Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ field final round. In a shocking turn of events, Singleton’s “High Risk” entry went dead silent after the burnout and just seconds later Ken came popping out of the escape hatch and climbed over the wall, clearly aware his day was done. As Lewis was guided back in his burnout tracks, the team had already started their celebration as they knew this one was in the bag. Surely hopped up for the last dance, knowing Singleton had the performance advantage on paper with a string of 3.80 range passes, Lewis’ car launched hard off the line and near the 330’ mark went up in smoke. No doubt tough to visually Dragway in Havana, IL for “Chaos in the Cornfield 2.0” in just three weeks, July 26-27th. We’ll see you at the CHAOS! For more information visit www.funnycarchaos.com. swallow for Singleton, but an added sting set in when the team realized their engine damage was quite severe as a connecting rod stuck out the side of the engine block. Not the way Singleton and company planned to end their day, but none the less, precious points earned in their fight for the inaugural Funny Car Chaos Championship.
"A" Field Runner Up - Ken Singleton
"A" Field Winner - Brandon Lewis
Meanwhile, team “Attitude Adjuster” were all smiles in celebration as they became the first re-peat winners of the 2019 season! Brandon Lewis hoisted his trophy with his family by his side, including father Dave who had recently gone through successful major surgery. Lewis made news in the off-season with his switch from Pro Mod to Funny Car with the purchase of the John Hale racing operation and something tells us they are happy with their decision as the fun meter is certainly pegged back in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
After points tabulation following Lufkin, Brandon Lewis closed the gap by a few points and moved into second place behind Ken Singleton who now holds an 18 point lead. Jordan Ballew is solidly in the third spot with Clay Cunningham and Nick Poloson rounding out the top five. Only 11 points separate number five through number nine as the battle for a spot in the Top 5 year end payout is as hot as the battle at the top. These totals are before the ‘drop race’ as teams will count the best six of seven event totals towards their final standings.
The Funny Car Chaos series would like to thank Best of Texas BBQ Sauce, Red Line Shirt Club, Dooley & Sons Hot Rod Shop, Sam Tech Automotive School, Taylor Motorsports Products, S&W Race Cars, AlkyDigger, Rodak’s Custom Coffee, Tony Lewis Collision & Paint, Decades of Wheels, Littlefield Blowers, VP Racing Fuels, Meyer Enterprises, Still Crazy Racing, Precision Reprographics and the staff at Pine Valley Raceway for their support of this event. Hold your breath Chaos fans, the tour heads North in its return to Central Illinois.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - Words and photos by Funny Car Chaos Media
www.MaxCacklePhotos.com - Chris Graves; Wes Ramsey; Russell Brown, Ginger Snyder; Ken Bennett; Jeremy Redfern