The Red Line Shirt Club Funny Car Chaos Championship tour presented by Entech Oil and Mears Mazda Volvo was able to resume its 2020 season at Iowa’s Eddyville Raceway Park on May 29-30th. After sneaking in the season opener in mid-March, the series was forced to re-schedule several events due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With Funny Car teams across the country itching to race, a stout twenty-five car field with teams from twelve states converged on Eddyville for two days of ground-pounding heads up flip-top action.
Per the Iowa governor’s orders, no ‘spectators’ were allowed on the property, a mandate that was set to expire June 1st, just two days after the event’s completion. But, an unlimited number of ‘crew’ were permitted in the pits, which allowed a respectable amount of hardcore ‘crew’ to become part of the Funny Car Chaos ‘survey team’ working to observe the event and report back to the series in an effort to improve upon future events.
This event also marked the first time for a Funny Car Chaos pay-per-view service allowing people who were unable to attend the event to experience the show from the safety of their own homes. It was also the first time for live stream provider BangShift.com to provide a multi-camera broadcast with Chad Reynolds hosting the event and Les Mayhew of Nitro America fame capturing the action from the starting line.
Ken Singleton and Steve Vang entered the event, both making the tow from Oklahoma, with targets on their backs as winners of the season opener in Texas. Chaos regulars chasing every possible point towards the 2020 title were joined by many first-time series participants from the mid-west. Chris Foster, Kyle Smith, and Robbie Massey were in attendance in their big show legal TA/FC cars, joined by Jeff Krug and Justin Herbst’s alcohol powered entries. Three nitro teams made their Chaos debut with Levi Keenen’s Tom Motry tuned “Illinois Thunder” entry, Mark Howard’s “Rednecks N’ Fuel” big show style fuel burner driven by Top Fuel pilot Terry Totten and Jim Hidy’s “Fuelish Intentions”.
Friday night saw two rounds of qualifying and for about half of the field, this was their first time to hit the track in the 2020 season. Keith Jackson rounded out the Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ field with a 4.20 at 165 mph charge, but his story wasn’t over at the finish line. After debuting a brand new 1970 Camaro-bodied “High Heaven” with a jaw-dropping custom paint job, Jackson had major issues at the top end after his parachute lever bracket failed, sending him through the shutdown with no chutes. Jackson sailed off the end of the track into a field of corn. This marks the second trip into the corn for Jackson in Chaos competition after a very similar scenario in 2018 in Illinois.
Thankfully for Jackson and the team, much due to a stellar driving effort, Jackson climbed out of the car completely uninjured and to the surprise of everyone on the property, the one-year-old chassis, and new body were minimally damaged.
After a thrash back in the pits and some fabrication assistance from fellow fuel flopper pilot Jack Wyatt, team “High Heaven” was able to return to competition and race in Saturday’s main event.
Jeff Krug had an oil filter failure early in the second qualifying session which resulted in a massive oil down, thus the remainder of the session was run in left lane singles. Ken Singleton raised eyebrows with a top qualifying effort of 3.75 at 20 4 mph. Chris Foster’s 3.90 at 174 and Steve Timoszyk’s career-best 3.91 at 182 mph held on for the top three spots after Friday. John Umlauf’s “Mass Chaos” nitro-burning Monza clicked off a 4.38 to earn the top qualifying spot in the Alkydigger ‘B’ field and the bump spot was Dustin Bradford’s 4.59 with one qualifying session remaining on Saturday afternoon.
Jim Chase’s “Wicked Quick” alcohol burning 1957 Chevy from Bismarck, North Dakota had posted a solid 3.90 on Friday night, but a centerline foul disqualified the run. Not to worry, Chase blasted to a stellar 3.82 at 192 mph to jump into the number two spot in the ‘A’ field. Chuck Loftin’s “Motivation” nitro-burning Mustang from Texas made a big move into the ‘A’ field with a 3.93 at 190 mph effort and Chris Schneider wheeled John Troxel’s Missouri-based “Brutus” to a career-best 4.33 at 162 mph to lead the ‘B’ field qualifiers into eliminations after inserting alternates for qualifiers sidelined by parts attrition.
Jeff Cameron’s “Magnolia Missile” joined the growing list of career-best times with a 4.41 at 156 mph and Nick Johnson rounded out the ‘B’ field in Wayne Reinart’s “Prairie Fire” with a 4.66 at 154 mph as the final alternate. Johnson bumped into the field after Chris Foster discovered mechanical issues that were not repairable at the track. Jeff Krug also made an early exit due to breakage after a career-best 4.12 at 176 mph had earned him a spot in the elite ‘A’ field.
FINAL QUALIFYING ORDER:
1. Ken Singleton (Chickasha, OK) – 3.75 @ 204
2. Jim Chase (Bismarck, ND) – 3.82 @ 191
3. Chris Foster (North Platte, NE) – 3.90 @ 174 (Broke)
4. Steve Timoszyk (Detroit, MI) – 3.91 @ 182
5. Chuck Loftin (Seguin, TX) – 3.93 @ 190
6. Kyle Smith (Wichita, KS) – 3.98 @ 182
7. Chris King (Chicago, IL) – 4.11 @ 171 (Broke)
8. Jeff Krug (Mount Pleasant, IA) – 4.12 @ 176 (Broke)
9. Robbie Massey (Des Moines, IA) – 4.13 @ 135
10. Keith Jackson (Lakewood, CO) – 4.20 @ 165
11. Levi Keenen (Paris, IL) – 4.331 @ 166
12. Chris Schneider (Holts Summit, MO) – 4.337 @ 162
13. John Umlauf (Rolla, MO) – 4.34 @ 131
14. Jeff Cameron (Magnolia, TX) – 4.41 @ 156
15. Matt Nissen (Alma, NE) – 4.42 @ 160
16. Steve Vang (Norman, OK) – 4.45 @ 156
17. Clay Cunningham (Dumas, TX) – 4.55 @ 129
18. Dustin Bradford (San Antonio, TX) – 4.59 @ 125
19. Nick Johnson (Orleans, NE) – 4.66 @ 154
20. Justin Herbst (North Platte, NE) – 4.75 @ 147
21. Vic Tiffin (Stillman Valley, IL) – 5.06 @ 162
22. Jordan Ballew (Bartlesville, OK) – 5.84 @ 104
23. Scott Cousimano (Las Vegas, NV) – 11.01 @ 43 (Broke)
24. Terry Totten (Gretna, NE) – No Time (Broke)
25. Jim Hidy (Batavia, IL) – No Time (Broke)
The first pair out in the Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ field featured a classic Chaos match up, nitro versus alcohol, old school versus new school body styles, with Chuck Loftin and Kyle Smith pulling to the line. Both cars capable of 3.80s or better, but Smith went big-time red off the line and Loftin shut off early after flirting with the centerline, costing to a 4.60 win. Top qualifier and points leader Ken Singleton and team “High Risk” fired up next alongside new nitro pilot Levi Keenen. Keenen took a nice starting line advantage and ran his best numbers of the event with a 4.32 at 173 mph but was no match for Singleton who matched his qualifying effort with another 3.75 at 204 mph blast.
Keith Jackson couldn’t be stopped as team “High Heaven” staged up against Jim Chase. Jackson and company had thrashed to make repairs after their trip into the corn Friday night and were rewarded with a winning 4.21 at 159 mph effort. Steve Timoszyk and Robbie Massey finished up the opening round of the ‘A’ field. Massey, who was wheeling an ex-Vern Moats owned entry, got out front first but tire shake sent the car sideways, forcing him to lift and give Timoszyk the win with a pass of 4.07 at 173 mph.
Alkydigger ‘B’ field action kicked off with a close race between Chris Schneider and Nick Johnson. Johnson took a slight advantage off the line and posted his best pass of the weekend with a 4.45 at 155 mph but Schneider nipped him at the finish line with a 4.38 at 160 mph charge. Matt Nissen and Steve Vang both went red, almost simultaneously, but Vang was on the better end of the numbers and posted a 4.46 at 155 mph to advance.
Clay Cunningham and Jeff Cameron were up next. A crisp .004 reaction time and a run of 4.11 at 161 mph by Cunningham in the “Still Crazy” Hemi-powered entry ended Cameron’s day. John Umlauf and Dustin Bradford closed out the round as Bradford struggled off the line and Umlauf pedaled to a 4.49 at 125 mph ticket into the semifinals.
Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ Field First Round Eliminations
(W) Loftin (.033 rt) 4.60 @ 117 vs. (L) Smith (-.302 rt) 4.64 @ 104
(W) Singleton (.173 rt) 3.75 @ 204 vs. (L) Keenen (.100 rt) 4.32 @ 173
(W) Jackson (.140 rt) 4.21 @ 159 vs. (L) Chase (.234 rt) 4.66 @ 106
(W) Timoszyk (.128 rt) 4.07 @ 173 vs. (L) Massey (.031 rt) 4.36 @ 138
AlkyDigger ‘B’ Field First Round Eliminations
(W) Schneider (.076 rt) 4.38 @ 160 vs. (L) Johnson (.050 rt) 4.45 @ 155
(W) Vang (-.010 rt) 4.46 @ 155 vs. (L) Nissen (-.013 rt) 5.41 @ 89
(W) Cunningham (.004 rt) 4.11 @ 161 vs. (L) Cameron (.072 rt) 4.53 @ 151
(W) Umlauf (.133 rt) 4.49 @ 126 vs. (L) Bradford (.105 rt) 14.22 @ 36
Semifinal action saw Timoszyk and Jackson bing their cars to life to kick off the ‘A’ field final four. Timoszyk was off the line first and never looked back getting back into the three-second zone with a 3.97 at 177 mph over Jackson’s 4.61 at 114 early shutoff pass. The tiger was final round bound and would face the winner between two Chaos regulars in Singleton and Loftin. At the flash of amber Loftin charged out to an early lead but left the red bulb glowing with a -.095 reaction time. Side by side and wide-open they thundered down the eighth-mile but Singleton was steadily making a move to the centerline. At the lights, the finish line cone flew as the “High Risk” car made contact on a 3.74 at 204 mph lap disqualifying the run alongside Loftin’s strong 3.84 at 183 mph pass. Thankfully the cars were able to avoid contact in a close call at the top end, but for Singleton it was ‘first or worst’ and despite the red light, Loftin would advance to the finals to battle Timoszyk for the crown.
The Alkydigger ‘B’ field delivered equally entertaining action in the semis, with Chris Schneider and Steve Vang opening the round. Vang took a healthy starting line advantage but his 4.45 at 155 mph just didn’t have enough ponies to hold off the hard charge from “Brutus” as Schneider’s 4.34 at 163 again came from behind for the win. Two Hemis, one on nitro, one on alcohol, came to life next as Umlauf and Cunningham staged up for battle. Yet again, Cunningham ripped off the line with a big advantage but ran into issues allowing Umlauf to come from behind, posting his best numbers of the event thus far with a 4.22 at 149 mph to move into his first-ever Chaos final. Schneider was headed to his second consecutive final round of 2020 Chaos racing.
Following the semis, Jordan Ballew’s “Ballew Thunder” and Justin Herbst’s “Scorpion” squared off in a classic Funny Car match race presented by One Track Solutions Corp. and Best of Texas BBQ Sauce. Herbst and Ballew put on a show with side by side dry hops and Herbst took the win light in a great side by side match race.
Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ Field Semifinal Round Eliminations
(W) Timoszyk (.082 rt) 3.97 @ 177 vs. (L) Jackson (.144 rt) 4.61 @ 114
(W) Loftin (-.095 rt) 3.84 @ 183 vs. (L) Singleton (.099 rt) 3.74 @ 204 (DQ)
AlkyDigger ‘B’ Field Semifinal Eliminations
(W) Schneider (.103 rt) 4.34 @ 163 vs. (L) Vang (.047 rt) 4.45 @ 155
(W) Umlauf (.139 rt) 4.22 @ 149 vs. (L) Cunningham (.054 rt) 4.99 @ 117
The final round pairings were in the lanes and fired at 10 pm to conclude the day’s action. First up in the AlkyDigger ‘B’ finals were Schneider and Umlauf. Schneider had been living in the 4.30s while Umlauf had been steadily improving on each pass. Schneider clocked his best reaction time of eliminations with a .073 while Umlauf was a bit tardy with a.194. Both drivers gave it a quick pedal job but at the stripe, it was Umlauf taking the win, 4.16 at 170 to 4.51 at 159.
The final pair of the weekend featured Loftin versus Timoszyk, nitro versus alcohol. Timoszyk was no stranger to Chaos final rounds, having found success in both ‘A’ and ‘B’ field competition in the past, while Loftin had been in two final rounds and was looking for his second career Chaos trophy. They were off the line together but Loftin went up in tire smoke as Timoszyk pulled ahead Loftin was quick with an excellent pedal job and was looking to make a comeback, but ran out of real estate. Timoszyk’s slowest pass of eliminations with a 4.26 at 173 mph was able to hold off Loftin’s 4.49 at 169 mph effort as the “Detroit Tiger” team celebrated at the starting line.
“Eddyville, what a weekend. A lot of firsts for us at this race,” said Timosyzk. “No spectators, our teammate Buzz McElwee not in attendance and our tuner Scott Bowen could not make the trip. Scott kind of kicked us out of the nest for this one and said we could figure it out. I’m not going to lie, I was a little concerned. But once again, he was right. My crew was flawless this weekend, overcoming every challenge that was thrown their way. I can’t thank them enough.”
Rodak’s Custom Coffee ‘A’ Field Final Round Eliminations
(W) Timoszyk (.108 rt) 4.26 @ 173 vs. (L) Loftin (.115 rt) 4.49 @ 169
AlkyDigger ‘B’ Field Final Round Eliminations
(W) Umlauf (.194 rt) 4.16 @ 170 vs. (L) Schneider (.073 rt) 4.51 @ 159
Funny Car Chaos would like to thank One Track Solutions Corp. and Best of Texas BBQ Sauce for their support at the Eddyville event along with full-season marketing partners Red Line Shirt Club, Entech Oil & Lubricants, Mears Mazda Volvo, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Rodak’s Custom Coffee, Alky Digger, Taylor Motorsport Products, Littlefield Blowers, Concrete & Asphalt Paving Services, Decades of Wheels, Ellis County Custom Carts, S&W Race Cars, Meyer Enterprises, Precision Reprographics, Victory Driveline Components, Performax Trailers, Dooley & Sons Hot Rod Shop, Sam Tech.edu, RockAuto.com and Turn Key Print & Embroidery for their support this season.