race reports

Funny Car Chaos at Denton, Texas

Singleton & Jackson Conquer at Finale

Results by FC Chaos Media

Photos by Jamie Shores-Fraijo, Wes Ramsey, Steve Scott and Russell Brown

John Hale’s “One Bad Texan” (near lane) takes on the “American Outlaw” of  Allan Middendorf. 


The fourth and final event of the 2018 Funny Car Chaos season welcomed the outlaw funny car frenzy back to North Star Dragway in Denton, TX, where it all began less than one year ago. With 30 teams pre-entered from Bismarck, ND, to Reno, NV, and everywhere in-between this season finale presented by Red Line Shirt Club would be the largest field yet and biggest Texas funny car show in decades.


The chaos lived up to its name in an epic two-day battle (Sept. 14-15) with Mother Nature and, despite numerous showers coupled with humidity off the charts, the chaos erupted in true form as eager racers were finally able to take it to the track.


With no rules regarding engine combination or body style, an incredibly wide range of flip top floppers were in attendance as all thirty entries found their place in the pits. A pre-race kickoff party Thursday night pegged the fun meter as teams moved into Friday ready to battle for a spot in the 24-car qualified field, which would be split into an eight-car 'A' field and 16-car Chicago style 'B' field.


During the drivers meeting, big news came that FC Chaos plans to host seven to eight events in 2019 and the new year will welcome a Championship points tour, presented by John Hale’s Best of Texas BBQ Sauce. Chaos staff also confirmed the return to this year's host tracks including Mo-Kan Dragway, Amarillo Dragway, Central Illinois Dragway and, of course, North Star Dragway next season.

A handful of special recognition awards were presented as Jordan Ballew and the Oklahoma-based "Ballew Thunder" team took top honors as 'Racer of the Year'. Ballew and family are the only team to attend all five FC Chaos events thus far and plan a full season assault in the 2019 points season.


Late afternoon showers on Friday scrapped the planned test session and after a valiant effort to dry the drenched asphalt at the top end, with a storm system just a few miles away, the call was made to cancel Friday's racing completely. With thirty funny cars in the staging lanes, it was a tough but wise decision as safety is the top priority and just fifteen minutes after the call, the storm rolled in as teams were able to reach the safety of their pit areas just in time.


Clouds parted on Saturday morning and Chaos racers and fans thankfully were welcomed with very humid yet sunny skies. Staff bumped up the run times to get the show underway and complete at least two of the three scheduled qualifiers. The crowd went wild as the first pair of funny cars came to life and the thunder from the pipes sent goose bumps down the arms of eager attendees ready for outlaw funny car action.

Staying true to form, a chaotic session unfolded as Allan Middendorf debuted the "American Outlaw" tuned by Jake Sanders and ripped off a ground shaking 3.72 at 192 mph but grazed the wall just feet before the finish line disqualifying his effort.


Ronny Young in the "Blue Max" tuned by Dennis Piranio blasted to a 3.78 at 177 mph but suffered massive engine damage sidelining the local icon after just one pass.

The number one qualifier after the first session was Chris Morel in the "Little City Cuda" who laid down a nice 3.86 at 204 mph.


Two-time 'A' field winner this year Ken Singleton wheeled the "High Risk" TA/FC to the number two spot with a 3.88 at 196 mph and Jim Chase's "Wicked Quick" 1957 Chevy rounded out the quick three with a 4.03 at 182 mph. John Hale, Kebin Kinsley, Mike Newkirk, Nick Poloson and Ray Stringer all secured their spot in the 'A' field as well.


'A' Field Final Qualifying Order:

1. Chris Morel (Reno, Nevada) - 3.86 @ 204

2. Ken Singleton (Chickasha, Oklahoma) - 3.88 @ 196

3. Jim Chase (Bismarck, North Dakota) - 4.03 @ 182

4. John Hale (Addison, Texas) - 4.04 @ 193

5. Kebin Kinsley (Arlington, Texas) - 4.06 @ 187

6. Mike Newkirk (Great Bend, Kansas) - 4.102 @ 166

7. Nick Poloson (San Antonio, Texas) - 4.108 @ 180

8. Ray Stringer (Alamogordo, New Mexico) - 4.33 @ 170


Just minutes before the call back to the lanes for the final qualifier, rain returned to North Star Dragway, but thankfully not the torrential downpour seen on Friday night. Fighting humidity that could choke a Texas sized mosquito, a massive task was at hand to again return the asphalt top end to a dry and safe racing condition. With the help of Ray Kelley's "Game X-Change" jet dragster and tireless effort by NSD track staff, Chaos officials could see the light as asphalt was finally drying as the sun tucked behind the Texas skyline and the radar looked clear for the remainder of the evening. With time lost due to the drying effort, the field was set based on the first round of qualifying and the call went out for eliminations to get underway.

Ray Kelley’s jet dragster did double duty entertaining the crowd and drying off the track. He match raced with John Robinson’s diesel dragster. 


A surprisingly strong crowd found their seats and filled the stands as all eyes were on the starting line as the first pair came to life. An eruption of celebration from the fans showed their appreciation for all the efforts being made to continue this event and those diehard fans certainly got their monies worth as Chaos was officially underway with the 'A' field kicking off the action.

Ya gotta love Ray Stringer’s car name. 


John Hale's "One Bad Texan" was up first in a winning effort as his 3.96 at 195 mph defeated a solid 4.36 at 168 run from fellow nitro burner Ray Stringer. Top qualifier Chris Morel clicked off low elapsed time of the round with a stout 3.75 at 208 mph to defeat Kebin Kinsley's off-pace 6.87.

Nick Poloson wheeled the Gary Doak-owned "Bucket List" to a 4.60 at 154 mph in a pedal-fest with Jim Chase who eventually crossed the centerline. 


Closing the 'A' field was Ken Singleton who's 3.90 at 196 held off Mike Newkirk's 4.14 at 174 mph. Three nitro burners and a two-time event winning alcohol entry were set for the semis of the Dooley & Sons Hot Rod Shop 'A' field.


In the Rodak's Custom Coffee 'B' field, the quickest four winners would advance to the semi-finals of this Chicago-style round. Fifteen cars occupied the 16-car ladder as carnage of various types sidelined several heavy hitters prior to eliminations. Leading the quickest four winners was Keith Jackson's "High Heaven" with a 4.13 at 178 mph in a winning effort over Mike Buchanan.

Mark Billington let the ‘B’ field.


'B' Field Final Qualifying Order:

1. Mark Billington (Prosper, Texas) - 4.36 @ 174

2. Andy Mears (Lubbock, Texas) - 4.541 @ 151

3. Nancy Matter (Lewisville, Texas) - 4.543 @ 129

4. Jordan Ballew (Bartlesville, Oklahoma) - 4.59 @ 151

5. Matt Nissen (Alma, Nebraska) - 4.75 @ 122

6. Keith Jackson (Lakewood, Colorado) - 4.76 @ 169

7. Nick Johnson (Orleans, Nebraska) - 4.86 @ 141

8. Jeff Cameron (Magnolia, Texas) - 4.98 @ 122

9. Daniel Butherus (Wichita, Kansas) - 5.72 @ 120

10. Larry Bradford (San Antonio, Texas) - 6.59 @ 82

11. Steve Northrop (Las Cruces, New Mexico) - 7.17 @ 94

12. Rick Krafft (Lowell, Arkansas) - 11.61 @ 43

13. Mike Buchanan (Wichita, Kansas) - 20.78 @ 10

14. Fred Farndon (Edmond, Oklahoma) - No Time (Cones)

15. Allan Middendorf (Columbia, Illinois) - No Time (Wall)

Nick Johnson posted a 4.86 at 146 mph in the "Prairie Fire" to defeat a tire smoking Fred Farndon.


Jordan Ballew's 4.65 at 150 mph took the win over Steve Northrop's injected funny car to earn a spot in the semis and Andy Mears' 4.60 at 150 mph scored a semi-final ticket in a close match up with Daniel Butherus.

A big tip of the cap goes out to all the members of the Dirty South Gassers who filled the between round action with their heads up, old school match racing machines. It takes a special kind of racer to hang in there through the thick and thin and the DSG racers did just that, delivering some exciting racing in their time on the track.


It was semi-final round time in Texas as the 'A' field returned to the lanes and suited up for a battle of heavyweights. Again, John Hale was first through the water box alongside Chris Morel in a nitro filled affair. Morel took a significant starting line advantage but shook the tires around 100 feet and Hale clicked off a 3.97 at 192 mph to move into his first Funny Car Chaos final round. His opponent would be winner of the next pair which featured Ken Singleton up against Nick Poloson. Eager beavers they were, as both drivers went red, but Poloson's was worse as the win went to Ken Singleton who tripped the clocks with a strong 3.90 at 195 mph to Poloson's 4.04 at 195 mph.

The "High Risk" team was final round bound and looked to claim their third 'A' field victory in their three FC Chaos entries this season. Nothing short of impressive, this team now had a chance to go undefeated in 2018 Chaos competition but had a hungry opponent in John Hale to handle first.


The 'B' field semis was a trip back in time as three of these four funny cars were finalists at the inaugural event last year. Action got underway with Keith Jackson staging up against Jordan Ballew. Ballew, the 2017 'B' field runner up, had his hands full with Jackson's nitro burner and despite the starting line advantage, Ballew's 4.74 at 146 mph was no match for Jackson's 4.21 at 176. Jackson and company scored the runner up finish at this event last year in the 'A' field and had all targets set on a 'B' field win to close off the season.

The next pair welcomed Nick Johnson to the line to face off with the "Dragon Slayer" of Andy Mears (above), the 'B' field winner from 2017. With a wicked .004 reaction time coupled with a 4.55 at 152 mph, Mears charged into the final defeating Johnson's 4.93 at 141 mph. It was Hale -vs- Singleton in 'A' and Mears -vs- Jackson in 'B' as teams returned to the pits for their final round service.


Just past the tick of midnight, after flame filled and diesel smoke chaos from the match race between Ray Kelley's jet dragster and John Robinson's turbo diesel dragster, it was time to crown winners and put Funny Car Chaos 2018 in the books. With top prize money on the line and bragging rights for the rest of the year up for grabs, anticipation mounted as drivers suited up for the last dance.


'B' field finalists Andy Mears and Keith Jackson were up first as Mears looked to defend his win from 2017 and Jackson hoped to cap off the season with his first FC Chaos win. Nitro -vs- Alcohol, 1957 Chevy -vs- 1978 Challenger, the cars came to life with the command to 'fire em' up' came from staging lane director Bubba Corzine. Mears went into the beams first as Jackson followed suit. A brief staging battle ensued before Jackson put it on the 'high side' and was first to light the bottom bulb, followed by Mears. Ambers dropped and green lights a pair as Mears took a healthy advantage off the line. Side by side they charged and it was a dead heat as the cars passed the 330' marker. At that point the nitro power from Jackson soon showed its strength as he took the lead and got the win light with a 4.18 at 177 to Mears' 4.52 at 153 mph. Mears posted his best run of the weekend but came up just short at the stripe as Jackson and company celebrated their first Funny Car Chaos win which made an exhausting weekend worth the effort.

The team was able to celebrate with family and crew in the winner’s circle which also included his father and accomplished drag racer Les Jackson. Congratulations to both teams on a job well done!


Finally, the time came for the final pair of the night. A classic Funny Car Chaos match up as John Hale's nitro burning 1969 Camaro bodied entry lined up with red hot Ken Singleton's 2006 Monte Carlo bodied blown alcohol machine. Singleton has been a busy boy not only winning the 'A' field at Mo-Kan Dragway and Amarillo Dragway, but also leading the Outlaw Fuel Altered Association points for a majority of the season in this same car that doubles as an altered in OFAA competition. Hale had nothing to lose and aimed to cap off Chaos 2018 with a $5,000 win on home turf for the Best of Texas BBQ Sauce team while Singleton could ink a very impressive undefeated record on the season and score his third 5K win of the year at the Chaos.


With burnouts complete, crew chiefs made their final adjustments and gave their drivers the thumbs up as the cars rolled into the pre-stage beams. Hale was last to stage and at the flash of amber Singleton blasted off the line first as both cars were hooked up and charging hard. Side by side and straight down the groove they ripped through the traps at 190+ mph as Singleton's win light lit up the scoreboards with a 3.93 at 195 mph to Hale's extremely close 3.94 at 193 mph. What a spectacular final round drag race to cap off the weekend! For Hale, all smiles as the team put together four consistent and damage free runs to earn a solid runner-up finish in a stellar field of competitors. For Singleton, what can you say? A simply dominant performance from start to finish this season in FC Chaos competition as the team clinched their third 'A' field win and preserved their undefeated record in a $15,000 winning season for the team from Chickasha, Oklahoma. Singleton and company indicated in the winners circle they plan a full season assault on the competition in the 2019 points season which looks to be very exciting!


A Texas sized thank you goes out to the FC Chaos staff, North Star Dragway staff, all the Funny Car teams, Dirty South Gasser teams and of course the fans of Chaos who stuck it out to complete the final event of the season. Once the weather gave us a break, Chaos yet again delivered nail biting funny car excitement like none other.


Additional thanks are certainly due to all the supporters of this event including Red Line Shirt Club, Best of Texas BBQ Sauce, Dooley & Sons Hot Rod Shop, Rodak's Custom Coffee, Mears Mazda Volvo, DJ Safety, S&W Race Cars, Tony Lewis Collision & Paint, DJ's Floater Service, Meyer Enterprises, Precision Reprographics, North Texas Diesel, Racers Igniting Hope, 2 Brothers Landscaping, Horny Toad Café & Bar, Seismic Activity Motorsports, Visual Effects, Kustom Metal Kraft, Weeaks Racing and One Wild Ride Safety Equipment.


That's a wrap for Funny Car Chaos 2018. We'd like to thank each and every racer involved in making funny car racing great again! An incredible total of 46 funny car teams participated in the Chaos this year, an incredible feat for this new series that turns one year old at the end of September. With seven to eight events on tap across the South and Midwest, we look forward to a busy off-season in preparation for what should be a memorable and thrilling 2019 season.  



official DRO sponsors

 © 1999-2018 - Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source LLC - 607 Seib Drive, O'Fallon, MO 63366 Phone: 636.272.6301 - Privacy Policy

fficial ponsors