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Coverage from the first UNITED NITRO FUNNY CARS event of the 2018 season

NOTE: Click on the thumbnails to display the full-size images

Photos are provided courtesy of Bob Snyder, our ace photographer in the Southwestern U.S.A. Check out more of his work on his Bob Snyder Drag Photos website.

The two-day event started with a single qualifying session on Friday evening. Just a coincidence that it happened to fall on Friday the 13th. With eleven cars on hand the fireworks under the night sky promised to be intense. And they certainly were.

Mark Sanders 'Mr. Explosive' --- Tim Boychuk 'Happy Hour'

Mark Sanders (far lane) vs Tim Boychuk (near lane)

Leading off were Mark "Mr. Explosive" Sanders (far lane) against Canada's Tim Boychuk (near lane) in his "Happy Hour" entry. Breaking out of the gate first was Boychuk with an early shut-off 5.810 at only 224.10 mph to take the stripe ahead of a solid but slower 5.904 coupled with a 207.91 mph trap speed for Sanders. Mr. Explosive upped the ante on Saturday with a much better 5.844 - 240.21 to take the #4 spot on the final qualifying list.

Steven Densham 'Teachers Pet' --- Steven Densham 'Teachers Pet' (far lane) vs Wally Giavia 'G-Men' (near lane)

Next up was a bit of a "David vs Goliath" (or, if you prefer, Steven vs Wally) battle, with the would-be giant killer Wally Giavia in the "G-Men" Dodge Omni (near lane) against the very fast "Teachers Pet" Camaro of Steven Densham. It was no contest as Giavia's 7.162 -132.11 was train-lengthed by Densham's strong 5.851 at a relatively big speed of 241.67 mph. On Saturday, Giavia improved to a 6.317 - 170.23 but was still well behind the pack, finishing up last on the 10-car list.

Billy Morris 'Problem Child' (near lane) vs Bobby Cottrell 'Bardahl Special' (far lane)

This year's March Meet champion in the Bucky Austin owned and tuned "Bardahl Special" (far lane), blasted out low e.t. of the night with a very strong 5.698 at 247.34 mph to easily outdistance Billy Morris in his "Shakedown" Camaro which came up well short at 6.502 - 151.07. Morris sorted out his problems (somewhat) on Saturday with a decent 6.047 - 220.37 to take the #9 position in the qualifying order.

Jason Rupert 'Rolling Thunder' --- Jason Rupert 'Rolling Thunder' (far lane) vs Matt Bynum 'Nitro Nick' (near lane)

Multi-time series champion (NHRA Heritage and IHRA Nitro Jam) Jason Rupert in the "Littlefield & Rupert" "Rolling Thunder" Camaro put up the best speed of the night at 250.27 mph, coupled with a 5.845 e.t. to outrun Matt Bynum in the "Nitro Nick" Camaro, which cleared the traps at an early shutoff 5.970 - 209.92. Bynum did come back on Saturday afternoon with an excellent 5.825 - 249.49 pass to move ahead of Rupert on the qualifying sheet and take the #3 spot.

Bill Windham 'Shakedown' --- Bill Windham 'Shakedown' (near lane) vs Geoff Monise 'Quarter Pounder' (far lane)

The final pairing of the evening saw Bill Windham in the "Shakedown" Camaro run strong until the 1000 ft mark, before shutting off to a 6.172 - 183.84 to fall behind Geoff Monise in the Van Gundy & Clark "Quarter Pounder" Monza's solid 5.929 - 242.19 pass. It was a close matchup until Windham gave up the chase, letting Monise turn on the winlight.

Following the single qualifying session on Friday night, a wide variety of cars - including the feature UNFC Nitro Funny Cars, tore up the track in the warm afternoon air.

Lyle Greenberg - TA/FC - 'Cone Hunter' --- Lyle Greenberg - TA/FC - 'Cone Hunter'

James Maher BB/FC --- Hunter Jones TA/FC

Ray Stringer TA/FC --- Ray Stringer TA/FC

Jim Maroney - 'Candies & Highes' AA/FC --- Jim Maroney - 'Candies & Hughes' AA/FC

Rick Nasby AA/FA - 'Full Metal Jacket' --- Western Fuel Altereds

Western Fuel Altereds --- Western Fuel Altereds

Kevin Boyer TFH --- Doorslammer Wagon

JD St Cyr - 'Fassl-Pierce' tribute FC --- James Maher BB/FC 'Junior Vibes'

After all the smoke cleared on Saturday afternoon, this was the final qualifying list for the United Nitro Funny Cars

Final Qualifying

Steven Densham (near lane) vs Matt Bynum (far lane) --- Steven Densham (near lane) vs Matt Bynum (far lane)

With the preliminaries out of the way, the main event took center-stage, with second-generation nitro racer, Steven Densham facing off against one of Connie Kalitta's crewmen (Matt Bynum) in the "Nitro Nick" kicking off the first round of eliminations.

Geoff Monise 'Quarter Pounder' --- Geoff Monise (Near lane) vs Tim Boychuk (far lane)

Bobby Cottrell 'Bardahl Special' --- Bill Windham (near lane) vs Bobby Cottrell (far lane)

Jason Rupert (near lane) vs Mark Sanders (far lane)

Ed Middlebrook - AA/FA - 'Myth Racing' --- Assassin (near lane) vs Full Metal Jacket (far lane)

Tim Boychuk 'Happy Hour' AA/FC

Bobby Cottrell 'Bardahl Special' --- Jason Rupert (near lane) vs Bobby Cottrell (far lane)

Hunter Jones TA/FC --- Kevin Knowles AA/FA

Jerry Hall 'Instant Rush' AA/FA --- Rick Nasby - 'Full Metal Jacket' AA/FA

Kevin Boyer - 'ACE Racing' TF/H --- 'Little Red Fire Truck' wheelstander

Tim Boychuk (near lane) vs Bobby Cottrell (far lane)

The final race of the evening pitted the #1 and #2 qualifiers, Tim Boychuk (near lane) faced off against Bobby Cottrell (far lane). The outcome was never in doubt as Cottrell left first, by a .093 to .131 margin, then disappeared into the night with a very strong 5.665 - 241.92 blast, as Boychuk ran into trouble early and shut off to a disappointing 8.352 - 103.61 time. Both drivers got their season's off to a good start, as the points standings posted below illustrate.

Points Standings