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The latest update as of May 24, 2022

Funny Car Chaos - Penwell Knights Raceway


"A" Field - Round One Eliminations

With the fields set, and just one substitution made at the bottom of the "C" field, (Mary Reep) broke in the "Grim Reeper" and was replaced by Jody Austin in the "Bushwhacker") the first round of eliminations started in the late afternoon.

Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' --- Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' (near lane) 
vs Alan Bradshaw - 'Back Attack' (far lane)

Laying down a hard burnout in the Darby & Morrow "Nitro Relapse" car was Aaron Morrow (left) as he prepared to face #3 qualifier Alan Bradshaw in his slick new "Back Attack" blown alcohol entry. When the ambers flashed, Bradshaw was long gone in the far lane with an .027 to .191 holeshot, while Morrow tried to play catch-up . It was to no avail as Bradshaw won at both ends of the track, stopping the timers at 4.066 - 183.15 to trainlength Morrow's trailing 4.615 - 116.22 losing effort.

Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick' --- Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick' (near lane) vs 
Smiley Cordero - 'Maximum Overdrive' (far lane)

Debuting a shiny new '77 Firebird, Matt Bynum burned out in the Bynum & (Randy) Lucchetti "Nitro Nick". With tuning assistance from Del Worsham they were competitive right off the trailer and took out first round opponent Smiley Cordero (far lane) in the "Maximum Overdrive" Camaro. Cordero left first with an almost psychic .003 light to Bynum's very good .065. We don't have the incrementals, but Cordero's ?4.135 - 173.28 must have held the lead for at least 300' before Bynum's better 4.014 - 191.73 took a car length victory at the stripe.

Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' --- Kirk Williams - '200 Proof'

It's a pair of burnout shots next, as #8 qualifier Don Knoblauch hazed the hides in the "Atomic Punk" Camaro (left), while top qualifier Kirk Williams in the "200 Proof" entry lit up the tires on the right.

Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (near lane) 
vs Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' (far lane) --- Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop'

(LEFT) It didn't take long for Williams (near lane) to put some distance between himself and Knoblauch (far lane) as he left on the "Punk" by a bunch (.110 to .263 r.t.'s) and ran away to a very convincing first round win with low e.t. of the round (and top speed of the meet) at 3.861 - 196.34 over Knobluach's 4.531 - 127.15, and a matchup with Bynum in the semi-final.

(RIGHT The final pairing of the round saw Jeff Cameron in the "Jake's Speed Shop" car burning out in the near lane, while his scheduled opponent, Dustin Bradford in the "American Dream" (not shown) is presumably doing the same in the far lane. Bradford left first by a .038 to .112 margin, but Cameron turned on the power with a 4.322 - 160.43 to easily cover Bradford's fading 4.623 - 107.73 effort.

"B" Field - Round One Eliminations

--- Chris Graves - Founder of Funny Car Chaos --- Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender'

(LEFT) This is the guy who has made it all happen in FUNNY CAR CHAOS, Chris Graves, who, with his wife Tera, has turned an idea into a successful enterprise. In the process, they've helped dozens of racers find venues that allow them to compete without the pressure of racing against the professional teams on the NHRA "Big Show" and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series circuits. That's not to say that the FCC teams are anything less than professional in appearance and performance, but they've managed to keep the fun factor at a high level and put on very entertaining shows for the spectators. What it boils down to is keeping to the age-old "run what ya brung" adage, which still works in 2022.

(RIGHT) Series regular Steve Vang in the "Wicked Weekender" entry burns out before his first round match to start the "B" field eliminations.

Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' --- Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (near lane) vs 
Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender' (far lane)

Vang's opponent was last year's Rookie of The Year, Jade Cook, in her very familiar "Nemesis" nitrous entry. As she did so many times last year, it was another winlight for her as she dispatched Vang and moved on to the second round. She left first with a brilliant .005 reaction time, against Vang's very good .039 light, and from there to the finish line they ran nearly side-by-side with Cook's 4.340 - 158.84 just edging out Vang's nearly identical 4.341 - 162.81 losing effort. It was her third first round win in four races this year as she moved back into the Top Ten with the win.

Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' --- Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' (near lane) 
vs Danny Smith - 'Snafu' (far lane)

Still running his tried-and-true Billy Meyer tribute car, "Motivation", nitro-burning Texan Chuck Loftin, laid down a hard burnout before facing Danny Smith (far lane). After appearing in two events last season, Smith brought out a new-look "SNAFU" to start his 2022 campaign. In this match he took his first round win on the FCC circuit with a solid and consistent 4.304 - 159.52 to easily cover Loftin's 4.842 - 132.28, and move on to the semi-final round to face Jade Cook.

Tom Furches - 'Made in America' (near lane) 
vs Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane) --- Charles Ware - 'Juggling Rubies' (near lane) 
vs Nancy Matter - 'Guardian' (far lane)

(LEFT) As the round continued, last year's #5 finisher in the FCC points standings, Tom Furches brought the "Made in America" Corvette (near lane) up against the early Camaro ("Ballew Thunder"), driven by Jordan Ballew (far lane). Ballew cut a great .008 light to take an early lead over Furches' .068 reaction, but at the finish line it was Furches turning on the winlight with a 4.181 - 169.11 over Ballew's 4.526 - 152.91, advancing him to the next round to face the winner of the final pair of the round.

(RIGHT) Closing the round was the cool looking "Juggling Rubies" Dodge Omni of Charles Ware (near lane), matched up against veteran Nancy Matter in her "Guardian" Firebird (far lane). Neither driver cut a great light but it was Matter's nitro burner lighting up the scoreboard first with a 4.243 - 142.95 over Ware's early shutoff 5.583 - 89.34, moving her into the semi-final to face Furches.

"C" Field - Round One Eliminations

Randy Mueller - 'Crazy Randy' --- Steve Griboski - 'Prairie Fire' (near lane) 
vs Chance Biffle - 'Bad Intentions' (far lane)

(LEFT) Making his first appearance at an FCC event since the 2021 season opener, "Crazy Randy" Mueller ended up at the top of the "C" field in the #17 position, after being bumped down from the bottom of the "B" field in the final qualifying session. His luck got even better in the first round when his scheduled opponent (Clay Cunningham) got moved up in the order due to Mary Reep's broken race car. He was then paired up with Jody "Bushwhacker" Austin, who also turned up broken, leaving Randy to take an early shutoff pass of 4.756 - 126.80 and move into the second round.

(RIGHT) The first actual race of the round featured series newcomer Chance Biffle in his unlettered "Bad Intentions" entry (far lane) against the new driver for 2022 in the familiar "Prairie Fire" car of Wayne Reinart in the near lane. Formerly driving his own NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster, Steve Griboski switched over to Funny Cars and took an automatic win in his first elimination round when Biffle redlighted by less than a thousandth of a second (ouch!) and shut off to a 6-second clocking. Griboski took it easy with a 4.795 - 145.,58 to move into the semi-final against Mueller.

Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' (near lane) 
vs Scott Pareso - 'Turbonator' (far lane) --- Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven'

(LEFT) Leaving first in the near lane, but only by two hundredths, was Clay Cunninbgham in his "Still Crazy" entry against the turbocharged "Turbonator" of Scott Pareso. It was relatively close at the finish line but Cunningham took the win with a 4.522 - 125.21 over Pareso's game effort of 4.635 - 136.99.

(RIGHT) After a dismal qualifying performance, with a "best" time of 5.922 on a blower banging pass, Keith Jackson was looking to turn things around in the first round of eliminations. Matched up against Mitch Bowen, it became a bye run when Bowen was unable to appear, and Jackson made the best of it with an index-busting 4.094 - 171.49 pass in the "High Heaven". Fortunately for Jackson, breakouts are allowed on bye runs, so he advanced to the second round to face Cunningham.

NOTE: In Funny Car Chaos races, the "A" field is always heads-up, but the "B" and "C" fields have an index assigned. It is set for two tenths of a second quicker than the top qualifier in each of those fields. The lowest e.t. in "B" qualifying was a 4.29 so the index was set at 4.09, and the quickest in "C" was a 4.69, setting that index at 4.49.


Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick' --- Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick' (near lane) 
vs Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (far lane)

First out of the lanes to start the semi-finals was the "Nitro Nick" of Matt Bynum, seen burning out in the left photo, then lining up in the near lane against the series points leader Kirk Williams in the Williams Brothers Racing "200 Proof" Top Alcohol car. It was a close race off the line with Williams gaining three hundredths on the launch, but he soon turned that it into a runaway, stopping the clocks with another great pass at 3.871 - 194.38 to advance to the finals for the third consecutive event. Bynum ran into trouble and shut off to a 4.983- 101.37 for the loss.

Alan Bradshaw - 'Back Attack'

The other race of the round turned into a single, as Alan Bradshaw (shown here staging) took the free pass to the final when scheduled opponent, Jeff Cameron was unable to make the call. Bradshaw simply took the green and idled down track to an 11-second time, obviously ceding lane choice to Williams in the final.


Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (near lane) vs 
Danny Smith - 'Snaufu' (far lane) --- Tom Furches - 'Made in America' (near lane) 
vs Nancy Matter - 'Guardian' (far lane)

(LEFT) It looked like a runaway for Jade Cook in the near lane, as she left the line with another incredible reaction time - .007 - over Danny Smith's sleepy .249 r.t. She had to abort the run early though and limped through the lights at 9.968 - 46.53, as Smith put down another solid effort at 4.307 - 161.75 to move into his first FCC final round.

(RIGHT) The other semi-final saw Tom Furches (near lane) leave well ahead of Nancy Matter (far lane), despite a less than stellar .178 launch, but it was far better than Matter' nearly comatose .357 reaction. Furches kept the pedal down all the way to the finish line, carding a 4.184 - 170.71 as Matter clicked it early to a 5.623 - 85.32 losing time.


Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' (near lane) 
vs Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' (far lane) --- Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' (near lane) 
vs Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' (far lane)

"If ya can't be good, at least be spectacular!" is a saying that is usally attributed to John Force, who spent most of his early years in the sport blowing up, oiling the track, or being on fire and that pretty much sums up Keith Jackson (far lane) in this race. He launched hard, banging the blower almost instantly, flames shooting out everywhere, then lifting the body as the latches failed. Both cars left together with Clay Cunningham (near lane) leaving first by a few thousandths, then taking the more-or-less uncontested win with a 5.055 - 103.12 as Jackson's ailing mount managed to cross the finish line at 9.956 - 49.47.

Steve Griboski - 'Prairie Fire' (near lane) 
vs Randy Meueller - 'Crazy Randy' (far lane)

It looks like "Crazy Randy" Mueller (far lane) left first, and he certainly did, by a .161 to .369 margin, then stretched the lead to several bus-lengths by the finish line, clocking in at 4.697 - 142.50 to erase Steve Griboksi's (far lane) losing effort of 5.292 - 95.36. Mueller's e.t. was good enough to earn lane choice over Cunningham for the final round.

"A" Field FINAL

Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (near lane) 
vs Alan Bradshaw - 'Back Attack' (far lane)

With the clock nearing midnight it was time for the final rounds after a long day of racing. First up was the "A" final, with Kirk Williams (near lane), holding a decided advantage over Alan Bradshaw in the far lane. Williams was a tenth quicker than Bradshaw in qualifying and two tenths quicker during eliminations. Bradshaw did all he could with the "Back Attack", clocking a nearly perfect .0003 reaction time, to take an early lead over Williams' very good .034 r.t.

From there to the finish line it was a close race with the margin at the 660' mark being less than a car length, as Williams turned on the winlight with a great 3.923 - 188.76, and Bradshaw barely trailing with a 4.000 - 180.65 losing time. A great race to finish off the "A" field and give the fans more than their money's worth. Time to fire the next pair!

"B" Field FINAL

Tom Furches - 'Made in America' (near lane) 
vs Danny Smith - 'Snafu' (far lane)

With all the final rounds being heads-up (a Funny Car Chaos rule), Tom Furches (near lane) held a tenth of a second advantage over opponent Danny Smith (far lane) with a pair of 4.18 passes in eliminations, while Smith held a pair of 4.30's. But races are run on the track, not paper, and when the ambers flashed, Smith left first by half a tenth, then turned a solid 4.346 - 151.92 for the win, while Furches had to pedal early and could only manage a 5.263 at a much bigger speed of 167.04 for the loss. Smith's win in his first race of the season was a great way to start his 2022 campaign.

"C" Field FINAL

Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' (near lane) 
vs Randy Meueller - 'Crazy Randy' (far lane)

This final race of the year was tailor-made for script writers, with "Crazy Randy" Mueller (far lane) paired up with the "Still Crazy" entry of Clay Cunningham (near lane). Unfortunately for the fans, it was all over on the starting line, as Mueller lit the red light, giving Cunningham the automatic win. Clay didn't take it easy though, laying down his best run of the weekend at 4.355 - 162.69 to finish on a high note. Mueller trailed with an early shutoff 5.171 - 103.28 clocking for the runner-up spot in the "C" field.

Winners Circle