Jim Baker's Then and Now

The Western Fuel Altereds

The Western Fuel Altereds, a group started by Phoenix, Arizona, racer Jim Maroney in 2010, has gained considerable momentum and popularity at many Southwestern drag strips in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. After taking a partial hiatus during 2018, the group seems stronger than ever and is set to kick off their current campaign as part of a very exciting show with the United Nitro Funny Cars at the Tucson Dragway Reunion April 12-13.


At present, Jim Maroney has moved up to racing Big Show Top Fuel cars and the ownership of the WFA business is now with Rich Nasby, a recently retired US Army Warrant Officer/Instructor Pilot and a WFA competitor since 2016.

This seems a correct ‘fit’ to this writer as Old Tucson Dragway manager Bob Huff called upon the Fuel Altered cars of the west for monthly shows ‘back in the day’. Folks like Dave Hough’s “Nanook” and Al Arriaga’s “Mob” were feature headliners.


Present stars include 2016 Series Champion Mitch Bowen driving “The Rust Bucket” and 2017 Champ Gregg Holman driving the “Carbon Copy.”

At Tucson, under the lights, 2016 Champ Mitch Bowen driving “Rust Bucket” challenged Jerry Hall, from Sierra Vista, at the wheel of the colorful “Instant Rush” Chevrolet-powered roadster.


The key of the WFA is the philosophy shared by their membership that they must keep their racing package affordable and competitive for the racers. To this end they have relaxed many rules and restrictions in favor of allowing a sub 7-second index to level the field and control the cost and technology in the cars with an additional benefit being that more non-members’ cars will be in compliance with WFA rules and eligible to race with them and join the group. WFA membership is VERY affordable and members enjoy free entry car/driver + 4 crew at every race; plus payouts include qualifying rounds.


For the benefit of tracks and fans, they offer multiple racing formats. In addition to the traditional elimination format, they have a “Shootout” format with an all-run first round. Then by E.T. everyone is paired for round two. The two quickest winners from round two advance to the final. New for 2019 is the “Everyone runs every round” format that will still crown a winner and runner up in third round, yet allow drivers more seat time, fans more side-by-side racing action, and crew chiefs more data and tuning experience. Both the “Shootout” and “Everyone runs, every round” format makes a lucrative show for the track operator by providing more exciting racing action for the fans, with greater opportunity to win for the racer, than traditional eliminations format.


New for 2019, the WFA is branching out in search of new challenges and excitement. Though WFA cars are set up for quarter-mile racing, this year they’ll be racing against other special classes like Pro Mods. For their July 5-6 Albuquerque race, the WFA will race against the “Real Outlaw Door Slammers”, a New Mexico based, eighth-mile Pro Mod group. They will be running a first to the finish, no index race to the eighth mile on July 5th and a traditional quarter-mile WFA vs WFA race on July 6th. The RODS will run their regular format on July 6th as well. Fans shouldn’t short themselves by buying only a one-day ticket, THIS WILL BE A THRILLING TWO-DAY EVENT!


The races booked by the organization are spread out for the benefit of their ‘weekend warrior’ members who all have other obligations. They generally like to book about 6-8 races per year, at one per month intervals.


If you would like more information or to participate with or book the WFA group, contact Rich Nasby via email at: rjnasah64@hotmail.com

At Tucson Dragway, 2017, popular Sheldon Lofgreen drove the only ‘twin turbo’ car to victory. While this car was on the ‘fringe’ of previous WFA rules, it is now completely legal. It is owned by Arizona pioneer Art Nolte who developed the turbo concept back in the ‘70s. Rich Nasby’s “Full Metal Jacket” is shown in the RH lane.

Local driver Pat Neal made it to the final at another of the Tucson races. Neal is a multi-time winner during recent WFA action.

Two of the veterans of the WFA group are Kevin Knowles (near lane) and Brian Ashworth driving the red “Twilight Zone” Roadster, owned by series supporter, Chris Thomson.

Well-traveled Ed Middlebrook from Prescott, AZ, gets around a lot racing his Fiat Topolino Coupe. We have a burnout pic from Salt Lake City, Utah, and saw him in person in 2016 at Eddyville, Iowa.

Mitch Bowen, the 2016 WFA Champ, was in the hunt to defend his crown after capturing the second race of the season May 27, 2017, at Albuquerque, NM.  The team comes from the northern Arizona town of Flagstaff.

The 2017 Champion was Gregg Holman driving the Chevrolet-powered “Carbon Copy” roadster. Greg ran well at Tucson and was runner-up at Albuquerque, in May 2017, then won the Firecracker Nationals there on July 4th weekend. Not one to sit idle, Gregg & Co. went to Phil Painter’s MCATS in Las Vegas and was the #2 qualifier in the Quick 16. Then came a red bulb.

We have observed this group several times at Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Phoenix and Tucson, and they always put on an exciting show. The variety of roadsters, coupes and sedans make the show exciting for fans. So too are the power plant, power adder and fuel selections; Chrysler Hemi or Chevrolet Big Block are most common, Screw or Roots superchargers of any size, twin turbo, centrifugal supercharger (Pro-Chargers), with methanol or nitromethane. All cars must be pre-1948 bodies, forced induction (no nitrous oxide) V-8’s, 140” max wheelbase.

Exciting action and putting on a quality show are the objective of the WFA. The colorful, short wheelbase cars make an all-out assault on the quarter mile with smoke filled, side-by-side, heads-up action as in the days of true drag racing!


But that was THEN and the following is NOW:


At Bill Goosic’s annual shin-dig, several WFA cars were on display and ‘cackling’. Everyone we talked to said they were planning on racing at the Tucson Dragway Reunion, April 12-13.

Art Nolte owns and Sheldon Lofgreen drives this twin turbo-charged Chrysler powered engineering marvel. Sheldon has won twice lately at Tucson Dragway and will be trying for a third win April 12-13.

We certainly look forward to seeing the WFA again in Tucson, and wonder about a future match up with the Southwest Fuel Altereds from Texas? Perhaps at El Paso or even Barona, CA.


Until Next Time, Be On Time! 




official DRO sponsors

 © 1999-2019 - Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source LLC - 607 Seib Drive, O'Fallon, MO 63366 Phone: 636.272.6301 - Privacy Policy

fficial ponsors