(Photos and Text by Chris Graves, MaxCacklePhotos.com) After over a decade, the rivalry between the Texas Outlaw Pro Mods and Painless Performance Outlaw Fuel Altered Association was revived as North Star Dragway stepped up to host the “Pro Mod Vs. Fuel Altered Showdown” over the 4th of July weekend in Denton, Texas. With a long history of friendly smack talk, the two organizations had plenty of steam built up from the past and in January when news of this event was publicized, word of mouth and hype in the pit area immediately rose. Interest from both sides of the fence continued to develop and the success of this event as the headline show of the summer in North Texas was eminent.
In 2002, Lone Star Raceway Park in Sealy, Texas hosted a similar style event which was won by Frankie Taylor’s pro mod over Larry Reep’s fuel altered in the final. In those days, a 4.00 eighth mile pass was stellar and a 4.20 at 150 mph would win most races. Fast forward ten years and it will take you a 4.20 to have a chance at a qualifying spot and you better be packing several low 3.80’s pushing 200 mph if you hope to go some rounds with the company these two series keep.
Scroll down to read the complete event recap, including round by round results.
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The racer support of this unique showdown between the two top “outlaw” organizations of the southwest was proven as 35 cars (16 pro mods and 19 fuel altereds) packed into North Star Dragway to battle for a spot in the quick 16 car field. Names included the heaviest hitters of the area like defending two time OFAA Champion Jimmy Jones, 4 time TOPMA Champion Gaylen Smith, the OFAA’s most recent winner Kebin Kinsley, TOPMA’s most recent event winner and ADRL stand out Doug Riesterer, Bobby Marriott, Eric Clark, Mitch King, Steve Wiley, Mary Reep, Don Wooten and many more.
With the 35 outlaw cars on the property, a field of over 75 nostalgia front engine dragsters, altereds and bracket racers also came to strut their stuff in this special two day event. This was the fourth event of the season for the Southwest Heritage Racing Association (SHRA) presented by MalloryPrint.com. Action for the SHRA series started shortly before noon on Saturday and wrapped up by five o’clock leaving the rest of the evening for the stars of the show. Odie Coker, Rob Ragland, Doug Morrison, Bill Cogswell and Sharon Godwin all took home SHRA wins in their respective classes.
By then, one Pro Mod vs. Fuel Altered qualifying session was in the books from Friday night’s session. Mitch King’s “Bone Bucket” held the top spot from Friday with a 3.83 at 187 mph pass in his header flaming, nitromethane burning, eye watering fuel altered. King hadn’t attended an OFAA event in over two years, racing part time in the NHRA Top Fuel series as a car owner, but re-built his famous “Bone Bucket” and brought it out just for this event. Eight cars clicked off three second passes in the opening qualifying round and the quick 16 bump spot was held by Steve Wiley’s “Grim Reaper” blown pro modified 1963 Corvette with a 4.36 elapsed time as the second qualifying session got underway on Saturday evening under a very hot Texas summer sky.
Bill Doucet was out first in Clayton Poole’s “Wild Child” blown Corvette alongside DoDad Burton in the “Free Spirit” blown alcohol fuel altered. Doucet posted a 4.42 at 149 mph which came up just short of getting in while Burton was out of the throttle early and could only hope his 4.21 from Friday would hold up through this final qualifying session. Bobby Marriott’s “Shockwave” fuel altered was outside looking in after his 3.95 from Friday night was tossed out due to a centerline violation. Marriott lined up with Don Wooten’s blown 1969 Camaro pro mod, both looking to get into the field. Marriott posted a 4.11 which held for the number fourteen position while Wootton clicked off a nice 4.01 at 192 mph, good for the number eleven qualifying position.
Donnie Massey’s “Showtime” nitro burning fuel altered missed his qualifying attempt after a freak accident in the staging lanes where a spectator vehicle ran over his wheelie bar, leaving Massey just one shot to get into the quick 16. Massey showed no mercy, posting a stout 3.79 at 189 mph to jump from the bottom of the qualifying list all the way to the top as the “Showtime” team claimed the number one qualifying position.
Steve Wiley, now outside looking in, posted a strong 3.95 at 180 mph in the “Grim Reaper” pro mod to secure the number nine spot and Gaylen Smith’s “Bounty Hunter” blown 1957 Chevy Bel-Air made the field with his 3.94 pass from Friday night. John Broussard stepped up his Louisiana based “Purple Haze” blown fuel altered to a 4.18 at 177 mph to secure the number fifteen qualifying position, but the nitrous pro mods struggled to find the right combination and Thomas Myers, Doug Riesterer, Jim Brinkerhoff and Rodney Whatley all came up short of a spot in the quick sixteen.
Jimmy Jones, Mary Reep, Howard Farris, Donny McSwain and Kebin Kinsley all claimed a spot in the top half of the field in their fuel altereds and E.J. Hickl’s blown 1941 Willys pro mod qualified number twelve with his 4.06 at 166 mph from Friday’s session. Two of the quickest cars in the house, Eric Clark’s blown Ford Mustang pro mod and Chris Trussell’s “Assassin” nitro fuel altered, both had problems in qualifying and unfortunately missed the 4.21 bump spot which was held by DoDad Burton’s blown alcohol altered. The quickest 16 cars on the property returned to the pits to prepare for what would certainly be an intense first round of eliminations.
Final Qualifying Order:
1. Donnie Massey (Little Elm, Texas) – 3.79 @ 189 (Fuel Altered)
2. Mitch King (Galveston, Texas) – 3.83 @ 187 (Fuel Altered)
3. Jimmy Jones (Cleburne, Texas) – 3.86 @ 186 (Fuel Altered)
4. Mary Reep (Austin, Texas) – 3.87 @ 184 (Fuel Altered)
5. Howard Farris (Springtown, Texas) – 3.91 @ 150 (Fuel Altered)
6. Donny McSwain (Rockwall, Texas) – 3.941 @ 192 (Fuel Altered)
7. Gaylen Smith (Mansfield, Texas) – 3.943 @ 186 (Pro Mod)
8. Kebin Kinsley (Arlington, Texas) – 3.953 @ 189 (Fuel Altered)
9. Steve Wiley (Burleson, Texas) – 3.954 @ 180 (Pro Mod)
10. Nick Poloson (Bulverde, Texas) – 3.954 @ 181 (Fuel Altered)
11. Don Wootton (Houston, Texas) – 4.01 @ 192 (Pro Mod)
12. E.J. Hickl (Van Vleck, Texas) – 4.06 @ 166 (Pro Mod)
13. Mark Bowman (Oklahoma City, OK) – 4.08 @ 175 (Fuel Altered)
14. Bobby Marriott (Pilot Point, Texas) – 4.11 @ 180 (Fuel Altered)
15. John Broussard (Lake Charles, LA) – 4.18 @ 177 (Fuel Altered)
16. DoDad Burton (Tyler, Texas) – 4.21 @ 167 (Fuel Altered)
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17. Doyle Smith (Paris, Texas) – 4.26 @ 165 (Fuel Altered)
18. Rodney Whatley (Sanger, Texas) – 4.31 @ 170 (Pro Mod)
19. Raymond Dawson (Nevada, Texas) – 4.32 @ 151 (Fuel Altered)
20. Bob Alexander (Brock, Texas) – 4.33 @ 138 (Pro Mod)
21. Jim Brinkerhoff (Keller, Texas) – 4.33 @ 160 (Pro Mod)
22. Doug Riesterer (Victoria, Texas) – 4.34 @ 169 (Pro Mod)
23. Tim Cruce (Fort Worth, Texas) – 4.37 @ 169 (Pro Mod)
24. Bill Doucet (Opelousas, LA) – 4.42 @ 149 (Pro Mod)
25. Terry Brian (New London, Texas) – 4.51 @ 133 (Fuel Altered)
26. Eric Clark (Arlington, Texas) – 4.52 @ 118 (Pro Mod)
27. Jim West (Addison, Texas) – 4.65 @ 143 (Fuel Altered)
28. Thomas Myers (Granbury, Texas) – 4.68 @ 112 (Pro Mod)
29. Ray Jaso (San Antonio, Texas) – 4.94 @ 145 (Pro Mod)
30. Chuck Poindexter (Dallas, Texas) – 4.95 @ 148 (Pro Mod)
31. Aaron Leyda (Bartlesville, OK) – 5.63 @ 81 (Fuel Altered)
32. Kevin Hargett (Dallas, Texas) – 5.96 @ 83 (Pro Mod)
33. Dennis Hendrix (Fort Worth, Texas) – 6.10 @ 76 (Pro Mod)
34. Clint Cross (Athens, Texas) – 6.91 @ 69 (Fuel Altered)
35. Chris Trussell (Canton, Texas) – No Time (Fuel Altered)
With four pro mods and twelve fuel altereds in the sixteen car field, the altereds had the car count advantage as the first pair of cars were brought to life. A capacity crowd was packed into the stands and lined up past the scoreboards at North Star Dragway in Denton, Texas to see this epic showdown. The best of the best were in the lanes and ready to destroy each other where it counted most, on the drag strip.
Nick Poloson wheeled the “Sundown” fuel altered to the starting line alongside number two qualifier Mitch King in the intimidating and OFAA elapsed time record holding “Bone Bucket” fuel altered. King came in a top contender and a runner-up to Frankie Taylor in the 2003 showdown in Sealy, Texas, ready to claim a big win here in the opening pair. Poloson knew he had to leave the line first, and that’s just what he did as he took over a tenth of a second advantage off the line then posted his best run of the season with a 3.86 at 186 mph to take out Mitch King with a much quicker but loosing 3.74 at 178 mph. The margin of victory at the top end was three thousandths of a second, the closest race of the round.
Donny McSwain’s “Wild One” and Bobby Marriott’s “Shockwave” were the next pair to the line in a classic blown alcohol versus blown nitro fuel altered match up. Marriott left first, but McSwain quickly closed the gap posting a strong 3.91 at 173 mph to take the nod over Marriott’s 4.09 at 180 mph. In the next pair, Kebin Kinsley laid down an eighth mile burnout in the Roger Hennen owned “Nitro Junkie” fuel altered then posted a career best 3.80 at 198 mph to defeat DoDad Burton who had problems early in his run.
Howard Farris’ “War Wagon” and Mark Bowman’s “Blown Income” fired their machines and the drivers crept into the beams in another alcohol vs. nitro altered battle. Bowman was off the line first by a large margin but Farris’ header flaming “War Wagon” drove around and lit the scoreboards with a 3.83 at 164 mph to knock out Bowman’s career best 4.04 at 177 mph effort.
E.J. Hickl’s blown 1941 Willys was the first pro mod to take the starting line in the first round of eliminations, ready for battle against Mary Reep’s “Grim Reeper” alcohol burning altered. Hickl was ready to represent the pro mods when it counted most and was off the line first and never looked back, clicking off a 4.26 at 150 mph take the win over Reep who encountered transmission issues right off the starting line.
Don Wootton’s pro mod was next up alongside Jimmy Jones’ “Texas Tremor” altered. Two powerhouse blown alcohol burning outlaws crept into the stage beams and were off the line screaming. Jones was out of shape at half-track and pedaling, while Wootton was blasting down the strip to a strong 3.90 at 183 mph, but unfortunately he left too soon with a -.018 red light as Jones’ took the round win despite running only a 4.63 at 103 mph.
Steve Wiley’s “Grim Reaper” pro mod and number one qualifier Donnie Massey’s “Showtime” fuel altered fired up as eliminations continued. Massey certainly had the performance advantage and Wiley knew it, which might have shook him on the line as Wiley also went red with a -.030 reaction time, while Massey lit the scoreboards with a 3.89 at 185 mph to advance to the next round.
In the final pair of the opening round of eliminations, Gaylen Smith’s 1957 Chevy pro mod lined up with John Broussard’s “Purple Haze” blown alcohol fuel altered. Broussard came in as the underdog in this one and became the third driver to lite the red bulb on the starting line, as his -.005 reaction time ended his effort and he had the best seat in the house to watch Smith advance to round two with a strong 3.90 at 189 mph.
First Round Results:
(W) Nick Poloson (.054 rt) 3.86 @ 186 mph vs. (L) Mitch King (.117 rt) 3.74 @ 178 mph
(W) Donny McSwain (.113 rt) 3.91 @ 173 mph vs. (L) Bobby Marriott (.077 rt) 4.09 @ 180 mph
(W) Howard Farris (.189 rt) 3.83 @ 164 mph vs. (L) Mark Bowman (.025 rt) 4.04 @ 177 mph
(W) E.J. Hickl (.065 rt) 4.26 @ 150 mph vs. (L) Mary Reep (.125 rt) No Time (Broke)
(W) Jimmy Jones (.062 rt) 4.63 @ 103 mph vs. (L) Don Wootton (-.018 rt) 3.90 @ 183 mph
(W) Donnie Massey (.131 rt) 3.89 @ 185 mph vs. (L) Steve Wiley (-.030 rt) 4.50 @ 114 mph
(W) Gaylen Smith (.044 rt) 3.90 @ 189 mph vs. (L) John Broussard (-.005 rt) 4.13 @ 157 mph
The eight winners returned for the semi-final round. In this round the two quickest winners would advance straight to the finals. The pressure was on the crew chiefs as well as the drivers as you not only had to win, but lay down one of the quickest two winning elapsed times, if they wanted a ticket to the last dance.
Two nitro burning, flame belching, ground pounding fuel altereds were brought to life as Donnie Massey and Howard Farris laid down side by side burnouts to open the semi-final round of eliminations. Massey took a gargantuan starting line advantage which he certainly needed, as his winning 3.86 at 188 mph was barely enough to hold off Howard Farris’ hard charging low elapsed time of the event, a 3.69 at 212 mph pass. Farris clicked off the second quickest and second fastest pass in OFAA series history and would not advance as his .313 reaction time to Massey’s .096 told the tale at the finish line stripe.
Kebin Kinsley and E.J. Hickl were the next pair to come to life. As Hickl’s blown alcohol pro mod and Kinsley’s “Nitro Junkie” nitro fuel altered crept into the stage beams all eyes were on the amber bulbs. Hickl took the starting line advantage and the cars were side by side at half-track, until Kinsley started to pull ahead with header flames high in the air. Hickl laid down his best pass of the event with a 4.09 at 182 mph but it wasn’t enough to hold off Kinsley’s 3.83 at 195 mph. Hickl was out, but represented the pro mods very well.
With just one pro mod left in competition the pressure was on Gaylen Smith to represent in a powerhouse match up against Jimmy Jones. Both drivers are the current defending series Champions from 2012, both drivers have the capability of running 3.80’s at any time, both teams came to win. While backing up from his burnout, Smith encountered a nasty fuel line leak and had to immediately shutoff. Jones lit the stage bulb, launched hard and immediately lost traction posting a 13.00 winning elapsed time. Not the result Smith and company were hoping for in the time they needed it most, but an overall strong effort from the “Bounty Hunter” team.
“I think we could have run quick enough to get into the final on that pass but we had a fuel line fail which was a safety issue I couldn’t ignore. We had it turned up ready to kick some fuel altered butt, you can be we will be back next year for revenge! Our team and series had a great time and are looking forward to the next one,” said Smith.
Nick Poloson and Donny McSwain were the final pair of the semi-finals as the two blown alcohol altereds came to the line, the winner required to run better than Donnie Massey’s 3.86 if they hoped to advance to the final round. McSwain jumped the gun on the starting line going red with a -.026 as his 4.03 at 185 mph lost to Poloson’s off pace 5.01 at 92 mph after Poloson shook before half-track.
The two quickest winners, Donnie Massey and Kebin Kinsley, moved into the all fuel altered, all nitro burning, all or nothing final round to see who would be crowned the “Baddest Outlaw Of Em’ All” under the lights at North Star Dragway.
(W) Donnie Massey (.096 rt) 3.86 @ 188 mph vs. (L) Howard Farris (.313 rt) 3.69 @ 212 mph
(W) Kebin Kinsley (.073 rt) 3.83 @ 195 mph vs. (L) E.J. Hickl (.031 rt) 4.09 @ 182 mph
(W) Jimmy Jones (.006 rt) 13.00 @ 31 mph vs. (L) Gaylen Smith (No Time) Broke
(W) Nick Poloson (.073 rt) 5.01 @ 92 mph vs. (L) Donny McSwain (-.026 rt) 4.03 @ 185 mph
As the final round came to life, fans were on their feet and the starting line was full of anticipation as Donnie Massey and Kebin Kinsley backed up from their burnouts, body panels shaking, header pipes pounding with the fumes of nitromethane pumping thick and heavy into the night’s sky. Massey and Kinsley both had secured OFAA event wins earlier in the season, the winner here would become the first re-peat winner of 2013.
Kinsley drilled Massey off the line with a .037 reaction time and blasted down the eighth mile to a winning 3.86 at 195 mph. Massey hopped the “Showtime” machine up for the final and had a clutch issue shortly after he launched off the line, allowing Kinsley to streak to the victory and the “Nitro Junkie” team owned by Roger Hennen claimed the big win at the 1st Annual North Star Dragway Pro Mod vs. Fuel Altered Showdown!
“This deal was a lot of fun! Racing against the pro mod boys is something new and exciting for everyone and we want to thank North Star Dragway for hosting the event. My crew is the best in the business and Kebin does a fantastic job behind the wheel of the car. We couldn’t be happier winning back to back races. It doesn’t get any better than this,” said “Nitro Junkie” team owner Roger Hennen.
What a showdown it was, 35 outlaw cars on hand, thousands of spectators in the stands, over 125 racecars on the property, a show no one can see anywhere else than North Star Dragway, was now in the books. While both the OFAA and TOPMA associations have several more events in their 2013 seasons, you can rest assured the racers are already talking about next year’s event as revenge is certainly on the mind of many.
“I want to thank each and every team from the TOPMA and OFAA who came to support this event. We could not have done it without all of them and they put on the best show we’ve ever seen here at North Star Dragway. I want to thank the track staff for all their hard work in the heat all weekend and Chris Graves for his efforts in putting this show together. Congratulations to Kebin Kinsley and Roger Hennen on their big win in the final round. We are already making plans for the 2014 event, so make sure you are in the house because you won’t want to miss it,” said North Star Dragway owner Gene Nicodemus.