The Outlaw Fuel Altered Association, presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports and Lone Star Forklift, kicked off its 21st consecutive season of racing at Thunder Valley Raceway Park in Noble, Oklahoma on Saturday, April 15th. Fuel altered drivers and teams were chomping at the bit to hit the strip and pound the ground in Oklahoma as 14 cars made the tow for the season opener. Drama ensued right off the bat as defending series Champion Raymond Dawson and team "High Octane" were sidelined with oil pressure issues on the warm up, a surprising and unfortunate turn of events for the team looking to defend their title and three race win streak dating back to last season.
Qualifying got underway with the return of team "Shockwave" and Bobby Marriott who was making his first pass down the track since his spectacular incident last May. Marriott, behind the wheel of a totally brand new 1923 T bodied nitro burner, posted a clean 4.07 at 170 mph to prove he was back in the game. Eric Buchanan clicked off a 4.00 at 183 mph in Terry Darby's "Nitro Relapse" while Donny McSwain's 3.98 and Roger Lechtenburg's 3.94 took the quickset times of the session.
In the final qualifier, Marriott and company posted another solid pass with a 4.000 at 182 mph which qualified them number one in the 4.00 qualifying system. Yet all eyes were in the other lane with Mark Hunter in the new look "Jailbreak" entry tuned by Jim Wasson. Posting a 3.99 at 156 mph, Wasson & Hunter became the 27th member of the prestigious OFAA 3 Second Club with their first ever three second pass! Mary Reep was sidelined after qualifying with transmission issues in the "Grim Reeper" as was Tim Cruce who was making his first OFAA event appearance. With eleven cars in the hunt the pairings were set for first round of eliminations.
FINAL QUALIFYING ORDER:
1. Bobby Marriott (Pilot Point, TX) - 4.000 @ 182
2. Mark Hunter (Tyler, TX) - 4.001 (3.999) @ 156
3. Eric Buchanan (Justin, TX) - 4.005 @ 183
4. Donny McSwain (Rockwall, TX) - 4.013 (3.98) @ 173
5. Ken Singleton (Chickasha, OK) - 4.018 @ 185
6. Mary Reep (Austin, TX) - 4.02 @ 154
7. Roger Lechtenburg (Cedar Falls, IA) - 4.03 @ 189
8. Nick Poloson (San Antonio, TX) - 4.04 @ 147
9. Jimmy Jones (Cleburne, TX) - 4.078 @ 181
10. John Broussard (Lake Charles, LA) - 4.079 @ 172
11. Mark Billington (Prosper, TX) - 4.16 (3.83) @ 162
12. John Umlauf (Rolla, MO) - 4.55 @ 120
13. Tim Cruce (Ft. Worth, TX) - 5.55 @ 123
14. Raymond Dawson (Nevada, TX) - No Time
Nick Poloson and Mark Hunter were first out in round one competition. The OFAA race format takes the two quickest winners straight to the final, so a first round win light and solid numbers are a must if you want a shot to advance to the last dance. Poloson took the starting line advantage but both cars had issues as a 4.98 from Poloson took the win over Hunter's 9.21. Roger Lechtenburg and team "Nitro Madness" who made the trip from Iowa lined up next alongside top qualifier Bobby Marriott. In a great race, Lechtenburg's 3.92 at 187 mph narrowly edged out Marriott's 4.01 at 184 mph. Marriott and company were done for the day, but held their heads high in their first race back and first passes down the track in a brand new car resulting in three straight 4.00 range passes. Lechtenburg's 3.92 looked good and held a spot in the final round at the time, but how low could the competition go?
Donny McSwain was out next in the "Wild One" set to take on John Broussard's "Purple Haze" but after the burnout Broussard was shutoff giving McSwain a solo shot as he posted a stout 3.90 at 178 mph to take the round win. Ken Singleton in "High Risk" and Mark Billington in "Magic Dragon" fired up next, but both left before the tree was activated resulting in a no time for both entries. Eric Buchanan and multi-time OFAA Champion Jimmy Jones rolled through the water box as eliminations continued. Jones took a slight starting line advantage but Buchanan had the ponies to quickly drive around for the win, clicking off a 3.89 at 188 mph guaranteeing himself a spot in the final and bumping out Lechtenburg from a ticket to the final. With one car left, John Umlauf brought the "Wicked Wedge" nitro burner to life in a solo pass as his opponent Mary Reep was unable to make the call. Umlauf had struggled in qualifying and those bugs continued to haunt the Missouri based team as their 5.71 at 124 came up well short of a spot in the final. It was Buchanan's 3.89 and McSwain's 3.90 earning tickets to the final round in Oklahoma.