Funny Car Chaos a Success at the Texas Motorplex
Photos/Story Phil Hutchison
Chalk up another win for Funny Car Chaos Creator/Promoter Chris Graves and his wife Tara after another super event at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis. Nearly 60 Funny Cars made qualifying runs over two days in an attempt to make the 32-car field.
Although Funny Cars were the stars at the largest gathering of “Floppers” in the world, Graves also had full field of AA/FAs, the Texas Drag Racing Association nostalgia series, along with the Dirty South Gassers, a Hot Rod bracket race, and a Jet Car show. All run on a wild Saturday night in Texas.
The fields were compromised of four eight car fields with the top eight in the “A”, the next eight in the “B” and so forth until all the fields are set.
Leading the “A” field was former NHRA driver Brad Tuttle driving his Nitro Bandit Mustang to a 3.329 @ 264.14 to pace the field.
Reigning Chaos Funny Car World Champ Ken Singleton qualified his “High Risk Racing” TA/FC in the #4 spot with a 3.662 but during Friday’s second session under the lights, Singleton was involved in a horrific fire after the blower popped during the run. Singleton exited the car under his own power and was airlifted to Parkland hospital in Dallas. Currently in the burn unit of the hospital, Singleton is incubated, sedated, and stable after suffering second and third-degree burns to his face, eyes, throat, hands, and back.
Tuttle, who had the quickest car throughout qualifying and eliminations, was slated to race the “Cone Hunter” Corvette of recent March Meet Nitro Pro Comp winner Lyle Greenberg in the finals. During the pre race warm-up the powerful Hemi in the Mustang had zero oil pressure ending Tuttle’s day. Greenberg took the solo shot for the win.
Winning the “B” part of the show was Donald Knoblauch driving the popular “Atomic Punk” Camaro. Knoblauch was up against the “Girl Watcher” Avenger of Mike Newkirk and ran a 3.874 in the win over the 4.108 of Newkirk.
Clay Cunningham won the “C” portion in his “Still Crazy” Dodge beating Dustin Bradford in his 1970 Challenger.
The “D” field which is made up of the final eight qualified cars, uses a unique index during eliminations that takes in account the average qualifying ETs along with a “fudge factor” to establish an index. Steve Timoszyk driving the “Detroit Tiger” Monza normally qualifies in one of the higher brackets, had nothing but troubles during all three qualifiers. Timoszyk only qualified in the #39 spot but got in the field as other higher qualified cars could not make the first round putting the “Tiger” in the show. Timoszyk made the best of his last minute addition, running the car as quick as needed without going below the 4.09 index.
In the finals against the Dodge “Nemesis” of Jade Cook, Timoszyk ran a 4.108 to beat the 4.292 of Cook.
After two rounds in a “Chicago” format to establish two Fuel Altereds finalists, Keith Zimmerer in his “Penny Pincher” car and veteran AA/FA driver Jimmy Jones in the “Texas Tremor” met in the money round. To keep costs down and to encourage racer turnout, a 3.80 ET is set as an index. Jones was second off the line and pushed his car a little to much breaking out with a 3.774 to Zimmerer’s winning 3.827.
If having the largest Funny Car show in the world, an historic all car photo shoot, nostalgia cars and gassers, plus a jet car show wasn’t enough, a wedding took place after Thursday’s group shot.
Long time “High Heaven” AA/FA and Funny Car driver Keith Jackson married his girlfriend Natalie with friends, fellow racers, and track owner Billy Meyer joining the couple on their special day.After the ceremony a huge BBQ was held in the pits and all the wedding guests and racers celebrated the happy couple’s joining in marriage.
The event at the Motorplex, the first of nine in the Chaos Championship series, moves to State Capitol Dragway in Baton Rouge in La. April 8-9 for round two.