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The latest update as of August 26, 2023

Funny Car Chaos Maryland International Raceway

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Maryland International Raceway - Budds Creek, MD

It took a little longer than planned, but we've got all the pictiures from the first round of qualifying on Friday night. Despite a pre-entry list that numbered 40 cars, only 27 of the 30 cars that made it through the gates ran on Friday night. Info from our photographer, Bob Snyder, indicated that several racers had damaged equipment, while others just didn't show up. However, the on track action was very entertaining for the sparse audience. Hopefully, the spectator numbers will increase for Saturday's two rounds of qualifying and three rounds of eliminations.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - - Qualifying Session #1

Joe Morrison - 'Hell Bound' (near lane) vs 
Larry Higginbotham - 'Sinister Sally' (far lane) --- Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome'

(LEFT) Leading off the session was Joe Morrison (near lane) in the "Hell Bound" car, facing off against veteran Larry Higginbotham in the blown fuel "Sinister Sally" Mustang. Despite the horsepower disadvantage, Champaney stopped the clocks first with a 4.906 - 117.00, while Higginbotham trailed with a disappointing 5.937 - 111.51 pass.

(RIGHT) Burning out was the very familiar "China Syndrome" Dodge of Connecticut's "Wayne Hofmann" as he continued to attend every race on the FCC schedule in his second season of competition on the circuit.

Delbert White - 'Carolina Outlaw' --- Delbert White - 'Carolina Outlaw' (near lane) vs 
Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome' (far lane)

(LEFT) Facing Hofmann in this matchup was Delbert White in his sinister looking "Carolina Outlaw" as he made his Funny Car Chaos debut.

(RIGHT) When the lights came on, Wayne Hofmann (far lane) launched second but finished first, taking the early pole position with a strong 4.249 - 168.58 pass from his big-block Chevy powered car. In the near lane, Delbert White failed to get a timeslip as he left the line before the tree was activated.

Cody Helger - 'Dazed & Confused' --- George Ridnauer - 'China Syndrome'

(LEFT) A good looking '68 Camaro body covers the "Dazed and Confused" entry of Cody Helger. His first pass was a good one, timing in at 4.327 - 164.39, and grabbing the #12 spot on the qualifying sheet.

(RIGHT) The second "China Syndrome" entry, this one driven by George Ridnauer laid down a great run, landing in the #7 position, in the "A" field, with a 4.260 - 173.49 timeslip.

Cody Helger - 'Dazed & Confused' (near lane) vs 
George Ridnauer - 'China Syndrome' (far lane) --- Jon Wall - 'Nor'Easter'

(LEFT) Here's the two racers at the starting line, with Cody Helger in the near lane, and George Ridnauer on the far side.

(RIGHT) Following two pairs of alcohol burners, the second blown fuel car of the night, one of the "Nor'Easter" cars, this one driven by Jon Wall laid down a loud burnout.

Chris Massarella - 'Total Insanity' --- Chris Massarella - 'Total Insanity' (near lane) vs 
Jon Wall - 'Nor'Easter' (far lane)

(LEFT) In the other lane, the "Total Insanity" Monza of Chris Massarella matched Wall for tire smoke, but with a little less loud from the pipes.

(RIGHT) When the ambers flashed, Massarella (near lane) pounded out a 4.324 - 165.01, while Wall (far lane) went all the way to the top with the quickest run of the session - to that point - with a great 4.053 - 159.83. If he'd kept the throttle open all the way to the 660' mark, it could have been a 3-second run. At the end of the session, the run was still good enough to hold the #3 spot on the list.

Joe Pirrone - 'Screamin' Eagle' --- Joe Pirrone - 'Screamin' Eagle' (near lane) vs 
John Cerchio - 'War Path' (far lane)

(LEFT) Laying down some serious smoke, the Firebird-bodied "Screamin' Eagle" of Joe Pirrone prepared to assault the timers.

(RIGHT) Lining up next to Pirrone was John Cerchio (far lane) in his "War Path" entry. Pirrone got to the finish line first with a solid 4.342 - 170.21, good for #13, while Cerchio was a litle off-pace with a 4.725 - 157.82, landing in the #20 position on the qualifying sheet.

D.J. Cox - 'DXI Construction' --- Michael Tabacco - 'Pandemic'

(LEFT) Everyone expected to see D.J. Cox in his NHRA Top Alcohol car go right to the top of the leader board, based on his many years of racing and Top Ten finishes in the national standings. On a well-prepped track like Maryland International Raceway a new track record from him was almost guaranteed.

(RIGHT) Running alongside Cox was Funny Car Chaos and Nitro Chaos regular Michael Tabacco, with his "Pandemic: Nitro Variant" entry, shown here warming the tires.

D.J. Cox - 'DXI Construction' (near lane) vs 
Michael Tabacco - 'Pandemic' (far lane) --- Paul Conlon - 'Boston Monkey'

(LEFT) Leaving first was D.J. Cox (near lane), but he smoked the tires as hard on the launch as he did on the burnout. Off the throttle very quickly, he coasted through the lights at 6.150 - 124.64 to sit near the bottom of the list in the #23 spot. In the far lane, Michael Tabacco and he had a much better result as his nitro burner stopped the timers at 4.405 - 177.77, good enough for a spot (#17) at the top of the "C" field.

(RIGHT) Another first time FCC competitor, Paul Conlon in his colourful "Boston Monkey" entry joined the smoke show as everyone laid down a good burnout.

Paul Conlon - 'Boston Monkey' (near lane) vs 
Mark Lyon - 'The Whooppee Car' --- Jami Russell - 'Iron Outlaw'

(LEFT) When the lights flashed, Conlon (near lane) ran hard to the finish line with a good 4.297 - 175.87 coming up on the scoreboard, placing him #10 at the end of the round. In the far lane, Marc Lyon was off the pedal early with a 6.895 - 68.31 result, leaving him #24 on the qualifying sheet.

(RIGHT) Another of the Mustang-bodied entries, this one the "Iron Outlaw", driven by Jami Russell burned out before his run.

Drew Sweetman - 'Frantic Ford' --- Drew Sweetman - 'Frantic Ford' (near lane) vs 
Jami Russell - 'Iron Outlaw' (far lane)

(LEFT) With a paint scheme recalling a famous team from the early 1970's, Drew Sweetman brought out the Mustang II-bodied "Frantic Ford" for his first race with the Chaos crew.

(RIGHT) Sweetman (near lane) ran well, clocking a 4.579 - 161.63 to snag the #19 spot provisionally, while in the far lane, Jami Russell made a better run at to take the #16 spot, at the bottom of the "B" field.

Melinda King - 'MGK Motorsports' --- Melinda King - 'MGK Motorsports' (near lane) vs 
Andrew Armstrong - 'Smoky Bonz Gang' (far lane)

(LEFT) Another full-on Top Alcohol Funny Car came out next, with Melinda Green-King burning out in her "MGK Motorsports" entry. With many successful NHRA national and regional event appearances on her resume, it was expected that she would be the first into the 3's in this session.

(RIGHT) Lining up with Drew Sweetman in the far lane, Melinda left the "Smoky Bonz Gang" Nova quickly behind and powered down track to a 3.845 - 199.55 to take the top spot in the order. No fuss, no muss, just a solid pass by a veteran racer.

Bill Naves - 'Shooting Star' (near lane) vs 
Wade King - 'Big Girl' (far lane) --- Bob Toth - 'Time Bomb' (near lane) vs 
Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane)

(LEFT) Another NHRA Top Alcohol racer, Bill Naves (near lane) made a decent pass in his "Shooting Star", stopping the clocks with a 4.207 - 174.84. That placed him #3 on the list, and at the end of the session, he sat in the middle of the "A" field in the #5 position. In the far lane, Wade King ran into trouble with the "Big Girl" '55 Chevy and shut down to an 8-second e.t.

(RIGHT) Leaving first in his "Time Bomb" Vega was Bob Toth (near lane), with the "Ballew Thunder" Camaro of Oklahoma's Jordan Ballew in hot pursuit. Despite shutting off at the 500' mark, Toth stopped the clocks first with a 4.364 - 141.05, while Ballew wasn't far behind at 4.433 - 159.78. Ballew sat near the top of the "C" field at the end of the session, while Toth was up in the "B" group.

Jim Gifford - 'Svengali' --- Jim Gifford - 'Svengali' (near lane) vs 
Doug Fassl - 'Wildly Disturbed' (far lane)

(LEFT) Making some serious noise was the nitro burning "Svengali", driven by Jim Gifford, preparing the tires for his assault on the track.

(RIGHT) Paired up with Doug Fassl (far lane) in the "Wildly Disturbed" entry, Gifford cut the power a little early, turning a 3.903 at 181.28 mph, to slot into the #2 spot, behind Melinda Green-King. Fassl wasn't too far behind as he crossed the stripe at 4.271 - 163.39 to hold down the bump spot in the "A" field.

Gary Pritchett - 'Bunny & The Boys' --- Gary Pritchett - 'Bunny & The Boys' (near lane) vs 
Matt Stambaugh - 'Generation X' (far lane)

(LEFT) Burning out in style, Gary Pritchett held the flag high and rippling in the breeze as the "Bunny and The Boys" entry lit up the tires and the crowd.

(RIGHT) Paired with good friend and teammate Matt Stambaugh (far lane), Pritchett put down a very good 4.173 - 174.414 that was good enough for the #4 spot in the middle of the "A" field. Stambaugh, meanwhile, pushed the "Generation X" to a 4.283 - 169.44, placing him #9, at the top of the "B" field.

Justin Mallot - 'Must Be Nice'

The first qualifying session closed with Justin Mallot in his beautiful '57 Chevy making a solid 4.368 - 162.02 pass in the "Must Be Nice". That put him #15 on the list, near the bottom of the "B" field.

In all, 27 cars made an attempt, with 26 of them receiving an elapsed time. The top two runners, Melinda King and Jim Gifford were in the 3-second range, while the next 19 cars clocked in the 4's. With two more qualifying sessions scheduled for Saturday, it was expected that several more cars were dip into the 3's, and the balance of the cars would be solidly in the 4-second zone.