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The latest update as of June 28, 2020

Pro Mod vs Fuel Altered Showdown

The event concluded under the lights at Xtreme Raceway Park last night with a final round for the ages. Occasional NHRA Big Show Top Fuel pilot Kebin Kinsley drove the Howard & Shane Farris-owned "War Wagon" to a jaw-dropping pass that clocked in at 3.44 - 230.77 for the win. His very worthy opponent, Frankie "Mad Man" Taylor didn't give up without a fight, as his best of the weekend 3.65 - 203 in his Xtreme Pro Mod showed that the Pro Mod vs Fuel Altered concept does work.

The pre-entry list of 24 cars (11 Fuel Altereds and 13 Pro Mods) dropped to 10 and 13 by the time qualifying started, and was whittled down to the quickest eight of each breed. While the bump spot for Pro Mod was 4.72, the Fuel Altered bubble was not that much quicker at 4.46 on the 1/8-th mile track. And the difference between the low qualifier in Pro Mod (Clyde Scott at 3.64) and Fuel Altered (Kebin Kinsley at 3.59) was very close. The 3-second zone was breached by a total of four Pro Mods and five Fuel Altereds also, showing the relative parity in the vastly different approaches to competition.

Until we've got some photos to fill in the storyline, the following report will have to suffice.... as soon as we write it. It's Sunday, the sun is out and the deck is beckoning. Hope you'll understand.

The Cliff House at Sunset Point, Spirit Bay, BC --- The Cliff House at Sunset Point, Spirit Bay, BC --- The Cliff House at Sunset Point, Spirit Bay, BC

8th annual Pro Mod vs Fuel Altered Showdown - Qualifying (final session)

With just 16 spots open for eliminations, eight for Pro Mod and eight for Fuel Altered, the final qualifying session promised some intense action. With the worst atmospheric conditions of the event, running at 5:00 pm in the hot late afternoon Texas sun, just getting some of those grossly overpowered cars down the track was going to be a challenge. Factor in the need of many racers to step up their performances to just qualify for elminations added an extra degree of difficulty to the task.

With 12 of the original 13 Pro Mod entrants still running (after Dennis Hendrix's nitrous boomer Friday night), the bubble belonged to Charlotte Schmidt's 4.94 clocking from Friday. On the Fuel Altered side, Kurt Duckworth held down the bump with a 4.46 pass, and only two cars sat below him on the list. Besides the need to simply qualify, racers also had to deal with unfavourable first round matchups unless they moved up the ladder, so the pressure was definitely on.

Starting with the fuel altereds, the two racers below the bump spot, Randy Meuller and Mark Billington both failed to improve on their Friday numbers so the AA/FA field remained intact. However, there was some serious shuffling of positions within the 8-car field. While Kurt Duckworth stayed at the #8 spot in his "Complete Chaos" entry, Friday's #7 man, Keith Zimmerer jumped up two spots with a much improved 3.848 - 192.47 pass. That pushed down John Umlauf (his earlier 3.96 dropped to #6) and Clint Cross in the Cross & Meyer "Crossways", as his earlier 4.02 dropped to #7 on the final list.

In the top half of the Fuel Altered camp, Allan Middendrof left before the tree came down in the final session, and his Friday 3.692 - 217.08 held on to the #3 spot. One notch below him, Raymond Dawson in the "High Octane" car, sat on his earlier 3.819 - 189.00 to remain in the #4 spot. At the top of the field, the number one and two runners from Friday, Jody Austin in the "Bushwhacker" and Kebin Kinsley in the "War Wagon" traded places. Austin failed to improve on his Friday top qualifying 3.598 - 201.43 pass, but Kinsley laid down a very big number, with an awesome 3.561 - 222.44 lighting up the scoreboards and serving notice to the other racers that the Farris and Kinsley team was ready to rumble.

On the Pro Mod side of the pits, there was no change in the top half of the field, with only the Texas "Mad Man", the inimitable Frankie Taylor improving slightly from a Friday best of 3.738 - 197.54 to a 3.723 - 201.25 that kept him solidly in the #2 position. Sitting atop the ladder was Friday's low qualifier, and homeown hero Clyde Scott, with his 3.646 - 207.56 that left him third on the combined list, trailing only the quickest two AA/FA's.

Further down the Pro Mod list, the #8 car of Dennis Hendrix was out of commission, and his replacement on the bubble (Charlotte Schmidt) failed to hold onto her position, being bumped by Mike Labatte's much improved 4.287 - 177.44 (from his earlier "best" of 5.290 - 94.70) in the "Nightmare" Camaro. Making an even bigger move, was Friday's #12 qualifier at 5.626 - 84.94 Aaron Philpot, in his beautiful early-model Corvette, who leaped all the way to #5 with an excellent 3.936 - 190.60. That moved Rick Cate down one spot to #6 as he failed to advance on his Friday 4.024 - 180.00, and Kevin Hargett was dropped down to #7, despite picking up half a tenth to a 4.114 - 194.47 in the KBR Racing Mustang.


Here's a couple of shots of John Robinson's absolutely awesome turbocharged/supercharged diesel dragster. Besides doing some hellacious burnouts, the car runs well too, going into the 4.20's on the 1/8-th mile track. Just a little bonus for the spectators.

8th annual Pro Mod vs Fuel Altered Showdown - Eliminations - Round One

Somewhat akin to the Funny Car Chaos dynamic, there would appear to be a great disparity between some of the competitors. With no rules, no limits, etc, you could end up with a blown alky big-block Chevy in an old chassis/body combination matched up against a late-model chassis with a nostalgia or altered body, running a dual-mag, big pump, blown fuel Hemi. Not exactly a fair match since all cars are running heads-up. The old analogy of bringing a knife to a gunfight seems apropos.

However, it's not quite as cut and dried as you might think. The big equalizer is track condition/preparation, and anyone expecting NHRA national event track prep is very definitely in the wrong place. While the tracks do their best - within reason - to provide a fair amount of traction, the simple fact is that the more power you generate, the more difficult it is to harness it. The lesser-powered cars are capable of laying down consistent - not fast, but consistent - elapsed times that can prove competitive in the long run.

One other equalizer in Funny Car Chaos racing is that two fields, an "A" (top 8 qualifiers) and a "B" (second eight qualifiers) are offered, both with a decent purse. That gives the slower cars a chance for a payday and does not automatically make them first-round "cannon fodder". However, the Showdown format matches the Pro Mods and Fuel Altereds in one 16-car field. First round pairings pit the quickest 8 cars of each breed, with the #1 Pro Mod facing the #8 Fuel Altered, and so on, with the #1 Fuel Altered facing the #8 Pro Mod. And that's where the eliminations story begins.


(LEFT) With all three flags proudly waving in the breeze, the national anthem signalled the beginning of the evening's entertainment.

(RIGHT) Following some serious crowd control problems on Friday night, a set of barriers were put in place to give the photographers enough room to operate. You can see the crowd was more than moderate and it was reported that spectators were lined up for a mile trying to enter the track as eliminations began.

(left lane) 
Mike Labatte - 'Nightmare' vs (right lane) Kebin Kinsley - 'War Wagon' --- Kebin 
Kinsley - 'War Wagon'

(LEFT) Eliminations kicked off with the quickest car in the show, Kebin Kinsley in the "War Wagon" (right lane) getting left on by opponent Mike Labatte in his "Nightmare" Firebird (left lane) by nearly two tenths (.008 to 1.98) but leaving him for dead by the time they passed the 60 ft clocks.

(RIGHT) Here's a closeup view of the "Wagon" as it blasts past our photographer enroute to a new low e.t. and top speed of the meet, 3.555 - 225.45 as he completely obliterated Labatte's very early shutoff 7.663 - 58.21 pass.

(left lane) 
Frankie Taylor - 'Mad Man' vs (right lane) Clint Cross - 'Crossways' --- Clint Cross - 

Raymond Dawson - 
'High Octane' --- Raymond Dawson - 
'High Octane'

Aaron Philpot --- Rick Cate - 
'Dangerous Toy'

Allan Middendorf - 
'American Outlaw' --- Brandon Pesz

(left lane) 
Brandon Pesz vs (right lane) John Umlauf - 'Mass Chaos' --- (left lane) 
Tony Strachan - 'Texas Beast' vs (right lane) Keith Zimmerer

Zimmerer --- (left lane) 
Clyde Scott vs (right lane) Kurt Duckworth 'Complete Chaos'

Duckworth 'Complete Chaos' --- (left lane) 
Jody Austin - 'Bushwhacker' vs (right lane) Kevin Hargett - 'KBR Racing'

8th annual Pro Mod vs Fuel Altered Showdown - Eliminations - Round Two

After a wild, and somewhat unpredictable first round that saw five of the eight Pro Mods victorious, the pairings for the second round (the semi-final) saw three races featuring a Pro Mod against a Fuel Altered, and one all-Pro Mod race. One question you might ask at this point is: how can the second round in a 16-car field be called the semi-final. That's because, in the interst of putting on a fast-moving and entertaining show with minimal downtime, the promoters incorporated a modified Chicago-style system. That means the quickest winning Pro Mod is matched up against the quickest winning Fuel Altered for the final round and the overall event victory.

Jody Austin - 
'Bushwhacker' --- (near lane) 
Kebin Kinsley - 'War Wagon' vs (far lane) Aaron Philpot

(near lane) 
Keith Zimmerer vs (far lane) Clyde Scott --- (near lane) 
Frankie Taylor - 'Mad Man' vs (far lane) Brandon Pesz

8th annual Pro Mod vs Fuel Altered Showdown - Eliminations - Final Round

(near lane) 
Kebin Kinsley - 'War Wagon' vs (far lane) Frankie Taylor - 'Mad Man' --- Scoreboards - 
(left lane) Frankie Taylor 3.65 - 203.80 vs (right lane) Kebin Kinsley 3.44 - 230.77

Circle - Kebin Kinsley - 'War Wagon' and crew - Winner --- Winners 
Circle - Frankie Taylor - 'Mad Man' and crew - Runner-up