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The latest update as of May 23, 2022

Funny Car Chaos - Penwell Knights Raceway


Qualifying Session #3

Going into the final qualifying session there was only one team sitting outside the Saturday night eliminations "show". Holding down that unenviable spot was the "High Heaven" group, with driver Keith Jackson feeling the pressure to make a pass better than #24 (Jody Austin)'s 6.817 to get into the bottom of the "C" field.

Danny Smith - 'Snafu' --- Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation'

(LEFT) Leading off the session was Danny Smith in his unlettered "Snafu" entry, hoping to hang onto his spot in the "A" field. Unfortunately he wasn't able to improve on his Friday best of 4.297 - 165.93, and saw himself fall into the top of the "B" field in the #9 position. Probably not a bad spot to be, instead of having to face Kirk Williams in aheads-up race in the first round.

(RIGHT) Further down the last was series veteran, Chuck Loftin in the "Motivation" Mustang. Languishing in the #18 position at 4.841, he needed to pick up nearly two tenths to move up into the "B" field and he managed that with a decent 4.679 - 154.53 pass. That left him at the bottom of the "B" field and facing Danny Smith in the first round of eliminations.

Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' --- Scott Pareso - 'Turbonator'

(LEFT) Warming up the tires before her last qualifying attempt, Jade Cook, was sitting in the middle of the "B" field in her bright yellow "Nemesis". She wasn't able to better her previous 4.359 - 156.14, but only dropped one spot from #11 to #12, and having to face Steve Vang in the opening round.

(RIGHT) Still working out the bugs on the "Turbonator" since making the switch from an Altered body to a Funny Car, Scott Pareso didn't run quicker than his Friday 4.769 - 124.76 best and dropped one spot from #17 to #18, near the top of the "C" field. That slotted him into a first round match against Clay Cunningham.

Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' --- Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender'

(LEFT) It was a case of one step forward and one step back for Jordan Ballew, as he improved (from a 4.677) to a 4.590 - 152.44 in his Camaro-bodied "Ballew Thunder", but dropped one spot from #14 to #15, pairing him up with the hard running Tom Furches 'Vette in the opening round of eliminations.

(RIGHT) One racer who didn't improve on his Friday 4.385 - 165.32 numbers, but didn't lose a position was Steve Vang in the "Wicked Weekender" entry. He stayed in the "lucky" #13 spot, pairing him with first round opponent Jade Cook.

Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick' --- Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick'

Here's two views of the newest car on the Funny Car Chaos circuit, as Matt Bynum lays down a burnout on the left, then launches hard on the right. The latest "Nitro Nick" Firebird ran well on the first day of qualifying with a 4.266 best, but really turned up the wick with a great 3.998 - 190.03 to climb two spots to #4 on the final list and lane choice in the first round against Smiley Cordero.

Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' --- Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven'

On the left, we've got Keith Jackson burning out with the "windshield washer" on, as a leaking hat nozzle line sprayed quite a bit of fuel even with the throttle only slightly open. It appears that the crew didn't notice it, or Jackson decided to make the pass in an attempt to get into the field, but on the launch (right photo), the leak continued until the blower backfired and sent the hood hatch flying (see below). The team was under pressure to get down the track as they failed to register an e.t. on Friday, and sat at the bottom (#25) of the qualifying list and out of show before this (ill-fated) pass.

Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven'

This is what happens when you try to make a pass with a badly leaking hat nozzle line (or two?). KA-BOOM goes the blower, and the hood burst hatch goes flying to.... "High Heaven". Despite the backfire, the car managed to cross the finish line with a 5.922 - 73.45, "good" enough for #23 on the list and a spot near the bottom of the "C" field.

Steve Griboski - 'Prairie Fire' --- Charles Ware - 'Juggling Rubies'

(LEFT) Coming into the last session with only a mediocre 5.153 - 90.40 on the boards, and a spot near the bottom of the list (#22), series newcomer Steve Griboski knew he had to step up in the Wayne Reinart-owned "Prairie Fire" entry. They picked up a little with a 5.011 - 105.83 clocking that moved them up one spot to #21 and a first round pairing with another FCC newcomer, Chance Biffle in the "Bad Intentions" entry.

(RIGHT) The sharp looking Dodge Omni-bodied "Juggling Rubies" car of Charles Ware hoped to at least hang on to his #10 qualifying position but wasn't able to better his Friday numbers of 4.354 - 159.63 and fell one spot to #11, pitting him against the nitro-burner of Nancy Matter in the opening round of eliminations.

Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' --- Alan Bradshaw - 'Back Attack'

(LEFT) Having a less than successful qualifying day on Friday, Clay Cunningham wanted to move up from the #24 spot on the list in his "Still Crazy" car. It wasn't to be however, as he couldn't muster an improvement on his earlier 6.267 - 81.70 and remained at the bottom of the "C" field. He got a slight reprieve as Mary Reep ("Grim Reeper") was broken and he ended up in the #7 spot in the "C" group.

(RIGHT) Looking good in his blown alky "Back Attack" was Alan Bradshaw in his first appearance on the circuit for 2022. He wasn't able to better his earlier 3.985 - 183.82 pass and dropped to #3 (from #2) on the final qualifying sheet. That gave him lane choice over Aaron Morrow in the first round.

Nancy Matter - 'Guardian --- Nancy Matter - 'Guardian

Still running her NHRA-legal Nostalgia Funny Car, even with a recently acquired "Big Show" car at home, Nancy Matter came into the final qualifer well down the list in her "Guardian" entry. She was able to knock more than two tenths off her best e.t. from first two sessions (4.681 - 143.08), moving up to the #14 position with a 4.468 - 158.67 to face Charles Ware in the first round of eliminations.

Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' --- Tom Furches - 'Made in America'

(LEFT) Putting down a hard burnout in the "American Dream" 'Cuda was Dustin Bradford. He came into the final session holding the #5 spot in the order with a 4.204 - 170.00, but couldn't better that time and fell two spots to #7 as qualifying ended. That paired him with a tough competitor in Jeff Cameron for the first round.

(RIGHT) Falling one spot also was Tom Furches in his "Made in America" entry, as despite a slightly improved 4.304- 150.70 effort (from an earlier best of 4.318 - 170.97), he dropped to #10 and having to face Jordan Ballew to start eliminations. However, he was holding lane choice.

Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk'

Making his fourth consecutive race on the FCC circuit, Washington state's Don "The Atomic Punk" Knoblauch was already in the "A" field, but wanted to knock some e.t. off his Friday best of 4.274 - 166.48. Even with help from NHRA nitro racer Jeff Diehl, he wasn't able to improve and fell one spot in the final order to #8 and a first round pairing with the quickest car in the field, Kirk Williams.

Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' --- Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop'

After a light tire-hazing burnout, Jeff Cameron blitzed the timers with a great 3.932 - 179.50 in the "Jake's Speed Shop" entry. His Friday best time of 4.170 - 147.93 showed lots of promise - with an early shutoff - but no one really expected to see that 3-second pass come up on the scoreboard. It only moved him up one notch to #2 however, but kept him on the opposite side of the ladder from low qualifier Kirk Williams.

Jeff Cameron - 'Back Up Boy'

Looking like a victim at a stag party, or someone who lost a very embarassing bet is the "Back-Up BOY" for Jeff Cameron. It was reported that he was leaving the team after this event and wanted to go out "with a bang". Looks like he managed to do just that. And that was a wrap for qualifying, with eliminations scheduled to begin in the late afternoon.