2003 OFAA Race Results
Text and Photos by Chris Graves
Marriott Continues His Dominance at Denton Dragway
The Outlaw Fuel Altereds packed Denton Dragway in their season ending race on September 20th. With only three points separating Bobby Marriott and Jim Pruett for the points lead, the anxiety and pressure on the two drivers was enormous. Twelve altereds made qualifying attempts under the lights on this Saturday evening and many were trying to play spoiler in the race for the championship.
Qualifying started at eight o’clock and the first pair was very exciting. Bobby Marriott’s “Shockwave,” was paired up with Ted Elrod in “Killin Time” altered. Marriott, red hot after two straight wins, ran low elapsed time of the event right off the bat with a 4.29 at 166 mph. Elrod blazed through the lights to a 4.57 at 158 mph and immediately ran into problems in the shutdown area. The parachutes did not deploy and Elrod was sent straight into the nets at the end of the track. The car came to rest upside down in the sand; fortunately Elrod escaped without a scratch, but was out of competition for the rest of the event. Larry Reep in the “Grim Reeper” had a solo run in the first round and decided to do a “dry hop” made famous by the nitro funny cars of the past.
“After the dry hop Reep’s car sounded great and looked like it was going to run very well,” said Bobby Marriott. Unfortunately, Reep had severe tire shake at half-track and was forced to lift and tripped the clocks with a 4.75 at 158 mph. Further into the session, Jack Hodgson in the “Blown Smoke” altered laid down one of his famous long smoky burnouts prior to running a clean and straight 4.47 at 159 mph. His elapsed time would place him second in qualifying after round one. Eric Buchanan in “Texecution” apparently got rid of the bug that was plaguing him at prior events and in round one he thundered to a 4.50 at 153 mph, good for third place after round one. Donny McSwain driving the “Pure Adrenaline” altered occupied the fourth spot after round one with a 4.51 at 156 mph. Jim Pruett, the points leader, could only muster a 4.52 at 155 mph and knew to keep his championship hopes alive he would have to step it up next round.
Back in the pits, Larry Reep discovered he had critical engine damage and was forced to sit on the sidelines for the remainder of the event. The call went out to start the second session of qualifying and the teams towed to the staging lanes.
Bobby Marriott continued his phenomenal performance in the second session running a very consistent 4.31at 166mph. In the other lane, John Tappan in “Time Warp” repeated his first session elapsed time with a 4.54 at 150 mph. McSwain and Brad Rigler had a hair raising run in the second session. Rigler in “Toxic” was trailing McSwain at the 330’ foot marker then suddenly McSwain made a move and crossed into Rigler’s lane clipping the front wing of the “Toxic” altered.
“I never lifted,” said Rigler after the run and the damage to both cars was minimal, but it definitely had both drivers adrenaline pumping in the shutdown area. Rigler could only muster a 4.92 at 142 mph, which left him outside the quick eight field. Donnie Massey in the beautiful “Nitro Fish” altered jumped from the eleven spot to fourth with a great 4.48 at 163 mph. Tom Butherus driving “Rude Rat Too” did not improve from his 4.67 in the first round and found himself on the outside looking in. The Cross Brothers team made a return with their nitro powered “Crossways” fuel altered, but the crew forgot to remove the throttle stop after the burnout and tripped the clocks with a 5.29 and did not make the quick eight. Hodgson stepped up with a 4.41at 161 mph which was good for the third qualifying spot heading into eliminations. Who bumped him down a spot you wonder? Who else but Jim Pruett! The Quick Signs sponsored altered stepped up big time with a 4.32 at 160 mph to take second place right behind Marriott in qualifying. This was beginning to be a familiar situation for the two drivers and they both knew making the final round was crucial to keep their championship hopes alive.
After the second session some trouble arose while trying to pair up the quick eight for first round. Elrod was in eighth spot and could not make the call as a result of his crash in qualifying. The number nine car was Butherus, but he could not take Elrod’s place due to engine damage. Reep, who withdrew from competition after first round of qualifying was in tenth spot and obviously could not fill in for Elrod. That left Brad Rigler in the “Toxic” altered, who qualified eleventh, to fill in for the number eight spot in round one.
First round saw no surprises as the top four qualifiers Marriott, Hodgson, Pruett, and Massey all collected wins. The Outlaw Fuel Altereds bring back the quickest two winners from eliminations to form their final round and that advanced Marriott and Pruett to the final. Marriott won with a 4.29 at 167 to Buchanan’s 4.46 at 154 mph. Pruett’s opponent Donny McSwain wisely shutoff on the starting line due to a zero oil pressure reading. After examination the team discovered that the gauge had failed and McSwain could have made his run. Pruett took the single and blazed to a 4.31 at 164 mph.
The final round was the most important race of the season for both drivers, as it would decide the 2003 Outlaw Fuel Altered champion. In the biggest race of the year, Marriott got the starting line advantage with a .513 reaction time to Pruett’s .558 light. Pruett ran quicker than Marriott at each marker down the track slowly making ground on the “Shockwave.” A late night dew caused the track to be slick at the top end and both drivers had their hands full at the finish line skating from side to side. Pruett needed about ten more feet of track to overcome Marriott’s starting line advantage and simply ran out of racetrack at the top end. Marriott’s 4.37 at 163 was just enough to hold off Pruett’s quicker 4.34 at 161 mph. The margin of victory was only eighteen thousandths of a second and it was enough to make Bobby Marriott the 2003 Outlaw Fuel Altered Champion. The “Shockwave” crew went wild on the starting line in celebration of their win. This marked the closest points battle in circuit history and Marriott’s second Outlaw Fuel Altered championship win of his career. By only three points, Pruett lost the championship, but definitely not due to lack of effort. Pruett and Marriott were number one and two at the last three events of the season and Pruett plans to repeat his performance next season in the hopes of taking his first Outlaw Fuel Altered championship.
The Outlaw Fuel Altered’s season has come to an end, but next season looks like it will be full of excitement and close racing. Many teams that debuted this season will run the entire tour next year and there are a handful of new teams on the rise. To keep up with news in the off season regarding the Outlaw Fuel Altereds check us out on the web at www.outlawfuelaltereds.com. Congratulations to the “Shockwave” team of Bobby and Nancy Marriott on their 2003 Outlaw Fuel Altered championship.
Shockwave Wins Again - Marriott is RED HOT!
September 6th, 2003 - Mo-Kan Dragway
The Outlaw Fuel Altereds were scheduled to race August 30th and 31st at Mo-Kan Dragway in Asbury, Missouri headlining their annual Labor Day Bash. Rain postponed the event and the Outlaw Fuel Altereds returned to Mo-Kan Dragway September 6th to continue the battle for the 2003 championship. Twelve altereds were on the property including all the big hitters who are fighting for precious championship points. The track and circuit decided to run to the 1,000 foot mark instead of the usual 1/8th mile. Bobby Marriott trailed Jim Pruett by only ten points heading into the event, closely followed by Larry Reep in third. These three drivers, with three races left in the season, will be battling to the end and only one will take the 2003 season crown.
Qualifying began at four o’clock and who else but Bobby Marriott and Jim Pruett to start things off. Marriott and Pruett were both skating around and began hazing the tires at the top end. Marriott clicked off a 5.74 at 185 mph to Pruett’s 5.95. Tom Butherus and Brad Rigler made up the next pair in first round of qualifying. Butherus pedaled down the track to a 6.51 while Rigler blew a head gasket crossing the stripe with a 6.30. Ted Elrod, making his first appearance of the season, had problems in first session mustering a 7.03 while Eric Buchanan clicked off a 6.20 at 152 mph in the other lane. Hometown boy Howard Knowles was up next against Larry Reep, who is desperately trying to keep up with Marriott and Pruett in the points chase. Knowles ran a nice 6.22, but saw nothing but Reep in front who tripped the clocks with a 6.05. Donnie Massey, runner-up at the last event at Denton Dragway, then ran a single in the left lane. “It just felt like it wasn’t going anywhere,” said Massey after his early shutoff 6.12.
Iowa native “Rapid” Randy Baker, making his first event with the Outlaw Fuel Altereds in his “Nitro Madness” altered had his hands full in his first pass. The car got up on the wheelie bar and headed left towards the guardrail. Baker got in the grass and brushed the guardrail luckily only causing cosmetic damage. Bob Vorin was shutoff before his burnout in the other lane and would not return to competition. The last car of round one was Jack Hodgson, sitting fourth in points respectfully. Hodgson has earned a reputation for his outrageously long smoky burnouts and he didn’t let down the fans at Mo-Kan. Hodgson made a straight and clean pass crossing the stripe with a 5.96 at 197 mph.
The second session of qualifying saw many great performances and many teams improved their qualifying times. Donnie Massey found the bug in the “Nitro Fish” altered and ran a 5.75 at 182 mph. In the other lane, Howard Knowles improved by over three-tenths to a 5.87 at 176 mph. Bobby Marriott followed up with an early shutoff 5.82 at 173 mph. Brad Rigler in “Toxic” then paired up with Jack Hodgson in “Blown Smoke.” These altereds are two of the best looking in the circuit and Hodgson laid down another one of his fogbank burnouts. Unfortunately he ran into problems trying to back up and idled on down the track aborting his run. Rigler, who needed to step up to get in the field, ran into head gasket problems again and tripped the clocks with a 6.25 at 171 mph. Larry Reep and Ted Elrod were paired up next in the battle of the Fiat bodied altereds. Reep ran a consistent 6.01, still not able to dip into the five second zone. Elrod had his hands full in the other lane when the tires started smoking around half-track. Elrod never lifted and blazed the hides through the lights to a 6.15.
Randy Baker, with one shot left to get into the field, and Jim Pruett lined up next. Pruett stepped up big time clicking off a 5.79 while in the other lane Baker could only muster a 8.28 after lifting many times to keep the car off the guardrail. Baker and the rest of the “Nitro Madness” team think they have figured out their problem and plan to return to competition hopefully before the season’s end. Kansas native Tom Butherus in “Rude Rat Too” had to run better than a 6.20 to bump Eric Buchanan out of the field. Butherus, who was shutoff by Mo-Kan officials with a fuel leak earlier in the session, picked up the wheels on the launch and was on a great high five-second pass. Unfortunately, the parachute shook out at half-track and slowed the car to a sluggish 6.27 at 143 which qualified him tenth just outside the eight car field.
Final Qualifying Order:
1. Bobby Marriott – 5.74
2. Donnie Massey – 5.75
3. Jim Pruett – 5.79
4. Howard Knowles – 5.87
5. Jack Hodgson – 5.96
6. Larry Reep – 6.01
7. Ted Elrod – 6.15
8. Eric Buchanan – 6.20
9. Brad Rigler – 6.25
10. Tom Butherus – 6.27
11. Randy Baker – 8.28
12. Bob Vorin – No Time
Back in the pits, a mad trash was going on in the “Texecution” camp of Eric Buchanan. Blower problems during the warm-up almost put Buchanan out of the race. In a great show of sportsmanship Brad Rigler, who could have taken Eric’s spot being the number nine qualifier, loaded him his blower so he could make first round.
Eliminations got under way with Bobby Marriott and Jack Hodgson starting things off. Hodgson got off the line first and carried the front wheels for a hundred feet before setting them down. Marriott had just enough track to drive by Hodgson with a thundering 5.75 to Hodgson’s 5.93. Howard Knowles ran a 5.93 at 157 mph to take out Eric Buchanan who gave it a valiant effort. Donnie Massey then defeated Larry Reep on a hole-shot. Massey shutoff early to a 6.00 at 140 mph holding off Reep’s much quicker 5.89. Marriott had secured himself a spot in the final being the quickest winner, with only one pair left in round one. Jim Pruett and Ted Elrod made up the last pair and the winner needed to run better than Knowles’ 5.93 to make the final. Elrod fought to keep his car in the groove, but in the other lane Pruett had no problems defeating Elrod with a 5.83 bumping hometown racer Howard Knowles out of the final.
Pruett had his hands full in his pit area in preparation for the final. The Outlaw Fuel Altereds, being the close friendly group they are, had plenty of helpers come over to Pruett’s camp. Even Bobby Marriott came over and gave a helping hand. The call went out to bring them to the line and both cars were ready for a very important final round. If Pruett took the win he would extend his points lead over Marriott, but if Marriott won he would be neck and neck with Pruett heading into the final two races at Denton Dragway. Both cars stepped up huge in one of the quickest, closest, and nerve racking final rounds of the year. Bobby Marriott narrowly defeated Jim Pruett with low elapsed time of the event, 5.63 at 171 mph to Pruett’s 5.69 at 161 mph.
The “Shockwave” crew celebrated big time on the starting line before heading down to pick up the car. Both cars came back and took winners circle photos in front of the tower at Mo-Kan Dragway. Pruett is still the leader in points but Marriott is only three points behind and Reep is still in the hunt twenty eight points back. Mo-Kan Dragway plans to have the Outlaw Fuel Altereds headline their Labor Day Bash next year as well. Pruett and Marriott know they have quite a battle ahead of them for the 2003 championship crown. Everything will be settled at Denton Dragway September 20th and October 18th. Be there!
Don't Mess with the Shockwave!
Outlaw Fuel Altereds at Denton Dragway!
July 26th, 2003
The Outlaw Fuel Altereds made their first appearance ever at Denton Dragway in Denton, TX on July 26th for a night of hot altered racing. With just a short notice, the altereds had fifteen alky/nitromethane burners make the trip to battle it out for the eight car qualified field.
With the normal show that the altereds use, "Chicago style" match racing made famous in the late sixties, all cars got two shots at qualifying for the quick eight. From those quick eight, eliminations would be run and the two quickest winners would face off in the final.
Qualifying was a wild and wolly affair as it usually is with the fuel altereds. Oklahoma’s Jim Pruett, who is leading the points chase going into the last half of the season, nailed the number one spot with a 4.36 ET at 156 mph. Following him was the 2002 points champion Donnie Massey with a 4.395 and in the third spot was Austin’s Larry Reep with a 4.398! Fourth spot was held by local favorite Bobby Marriott with a 4.40. The fifth to eighth spots the spread was a little more with Tom Butherus from Kansas in the five spot, six was held by Jack Hodgson up from Waco, Eric Buchanan made the trip from North Richland Hills for the seventh spot on the ladder. The eighth spot originally was held by Howard Knowles but the Missouri runner blew out the burst panel on the blower along with damage to the intake manifold and repairs could not be made in time. So the first alternate was John Tappan who rounded out the field.
The round to determine the finalist started off with point’s leader Jim Pruett being upset by the ‘Rude Rat’ of Tom Butherus. Jim was unusually late on the light with his Quick Signs backed entry and his 4.55 was beaten by Tom’s 4.63. Eric Buchanan had the misfortune to draw one of the strongest cars on the circuit in Larry Reep and the Grim Reeper. Eric gave it a shot by getting off the line ahead of Larry but the Reep laid down a 4.43 ET that was just too much for Buchanan. The third pair found Bobby Marriott’s Shockwave taking on John Tappan. Tappan made a nice run but Marriott’s 4.40 ET was more than John could handle. With Marriott’s ET he was secure with a spot in the final. The last pair would determine the other side of the final and featured the NitroFish entry of Donnie Massey up against Jack Hodgson. Hodgson broke but Massey took a single and ran hard enough to make the final with the quickest ET of of the round at 4.33.
Bobby Marriott in the "Shockwave"
That created a final between two good racers, Bobby Marriott and Donnie Massey, both almost considered to be hometown favorites. Marriott is from just north of Denton in Pilot Point and Massey just south in Little Elm. The final was classic, Marriott got a slight advantage at the green with a .505 light to Massey’s .555 and Marriott motored through for the win at 4.31 to a 4.33 losing time for Massey’s NitroFish, both cars ran over 165 mph in the eighth mile. Bobby took the win for the Shockwave team with low ET of the event.
Our next stop is Mo-Kan Dragway August 30th and 31st for a great two day event!
Let the Big Fish Eat!
Outlaw Fuel Altereds at Redline Raceway!
June 21st and 22nd, 2003
The Outlaw Fuel Altereds visited Redline Raceway in Caddo Mills, TX June 21st and 22nd in a special two-day event in conjunction with the IHRA Divisional Points race. A huge fourteen car field of altereds were in attendance and with that many cars and good racing conditions, everyone was heavily anticipating what kind of performance we would see.
Round one qualifying got under way at 8 p.m. with the sun setting downtrack. The first pair featured Jim Pruett out of Oklahoma vs. Howard Knowles who hails from Carthage, Missouri. Not only was this qualifying for Caddo Mills, but a make up final for the previous race in Wichita Falls that was rained out. Their burnouts proved why fans love the Altereds with Pruett blazing the hides past the 300-ft. cone with Knowles right along side. When the green came down the cars left wheels up and Pruett was ahead at half-track. Pruett driving his Quick Signs backed altered started drifting towards the centerline and skated it for a hundred feet or so before finally taking out the top end cone. In the other lane Knowles driving his “Cheaper Than Therapy” altered was also heading for the centerline and the cars were very close to touching. Pruett’s 4.27 at 151 mph was disqualified when he crossed the centerline giving Knowles the Wichita Falls win with a 4.31 at 136 mph, a career best and his first win in the 2003 season. In the next pair Jack Hodsgon up from Waco did his K.C. Spurlock impression with a huge half-track burnout. Hodgson backed up his “Blown Smoke” altered and staged up against Dale Wilkins. On the amber, Hodgson carried a three foot wheelie past the sixty foot cone then set the front wheels down and clicked off a 4.60 at 152 mph followed by Wilkins 4.96 at 136 mph. Donny McSwain, considered a hometown boy from just down the road in Rockwall, driving “Pure Adrenaline” and Tom Butherus out of Goddard, Kansas in “Rude Rat Too” made up the third pair in this session of Outlaw Fuel Altered qualifying. Butherus struggled to a 5.97 while McSwain continued his strong performance from Wichita Falls with a 4.59 at 153 mph. Donnie Massey from Little Elm, Texas in the “Nitro Fish” found himself against Jimmy Todd in the next pair. After some staging confusion, Massey ran a 4.64 at 142 mph and Todd clicked it off with a 4.99 at 140 mph. Todd had some cylinder damage and created a huge fog bank at the top end. Clint Cross from Tyler, Texas made his well anticipated comeback in the “Crossways” nitro fuel altered with tuning help from Fuel Altered legend Dale Emery. Unfortunately, the Cross Brothers day came to an end early when after the burnout the car ran out of fuel. After examining the car back in the pit area it was discovered that a bigger fuel tank was needed to run a full pass. Everyone was very glad to see the Cross Brothers back in action and with Dale Emery onboard the car will definitely be a threat in the future. The next car was a single for the Freddie Kirkpatrick driven “Outlaw” altered. On the burnout the tires didn’t spin so the run would be made on cold tires. At the launch the car spun, then hooked and he bounced and pedaled to a wild 5.59 at 118 mph. In the next pair, Bobby Marriott’s “Shockwave” from Pilot Point, Texas and Larry Reep driving the “Grim Reeper” out of Austin went down the track in side by side burnouts, with Reep winning the burnout battle. In a great race, Reep tripped the clocks with a 4.40 at 166 mph to Marriott’s 4.55 at 151 mph. Brad Rigler out of Heath, Texas in “Toxic” and Eric Buchanan from North Richland Hills in his new look “Texecution” made up the last pair of first round. Rigler went straight as an arrow down the groove and clicked it off with a 4.54 at 149 mph. Buchanan on a lazy run struggled to a 5.54 and after the run realized he had left the car in third gear from starting line to finish line. Only one word can sum up the first round of qualifying, “awesome.”
Back in the pits, Jimmy Todd realized his engine damage was too severe and would be out of competition for the rest of the event. The number one cylinder was found to be pumping massive amounts of oil and repairs could not be made. The “Time Warp” Ford powered altered driven by John Tappan was also out of competition after first round complications that could not be repaired.
At 10 p.m. the call went out for the second round of Outlaw Fuel Altered qualifying to begin. Racing began under the lights with Freddie Kirkpatrick from Terrell driving the “Outlaw” altered who was making his first appearance of the year. He improves to a 5.24 at 132 mph but will be short of qualifying for the final eight. In the next pair, Tom Butherus lined up against Jack Hodgson and both put on super burnouts. The calm night air hung the tire smoke over the track as they made their runs with Butherus having complications right off the line and shut it off, coasting through. Hodgson again carried the wheels past sixty foot as he did in the previous round and clicked it off with a 4.58 at 154 mph. In the next pair Dale Wilkins and Jim Pruett lined up with Wilkins improving to a 4.70 at 147 mph, but Pruett stole the show with a outstanding 4.32 at 160 mph out of the Quick Signs Altered. Knowing the pressure was on with that last pass by Pruett, in the next pair Bobby Marriott ran a consistent 4.50 at 156 mph. Eric Buchanan again struggled with clutch problems and clicked it off with a 5.30 at 129 mph. The next pair saw last years champion Donnie Massey against Donny McSwain. In a great side by side race, McSwain outran Massey with a 4.51 at 155 mph to Massey’s 4.57 at 158 mph as both cars went straight down broadway! Brad Rigler in “Toxic” and Larry Reep in the “Grim Reeper” made up the last pair of round two. These are two of the best looking cars in the circuit and also two of the best performing. Rigler carried the front wheels for over a hundred feet and they gave a little wisp of smoke when they finally set down. Rigler ran a great 4.47 at 146 mph assuring him a spot in Sunday’s show. Reep got crossed up at half-track and lifted running a 4.77 at 111 mph. In the last run of Saturday night qualifying under the lights, Howard Knowles in “Cheaper Than Therapy” laid down a straight and strong 4.43 at 158 mph.
The quick eight were paired up like the following and would race at noon on Sunday: (1) Jim Pruett vs. (5) Bobby Marriott, (2) Larry Reep vs. (6) Donny McSwain, (3) Howard Knowles vs. (7) Donnie Massey, and (4) Brad Rigler vs. (8) Jack Hodgson. In the traditional ‘Chicago Style’ match race format made famous in the late sixties, the two quickest winners from round one will advance to the final round.
Sunday the sun was boiling down on Redline Raceway and temperature and humidity were definitely pushing 100. Right after the National Athem the Outlaw Fuel Altereds kicked off first round right on schedule at noon and the first pair featured quite an upset. Bobby Marriott defeated the number one qualifier Jim Pruett. Pruett shook the tires and had to pedal it, then drifted towards the wall while Marriott left first and never looked back with his best pass of the weekend clicking off a 4.41 at 163 mph to Pruett’s 4.77 at 152 mph. Donnie Massey, who made some gear changes overnight, then defeated Howard Knowles in a very close match up. Massey’s 4.36 at 158 mph took out Knowles’ 4.41 at 161 mph. In the next pair, Brad Rigler in “Toxic” competing in only his second Outlaw Fuel Altered event easily took out Jack Hodgson in “Blown Smoke.” Rigler had his hands full all the way down the track and tripped the clocks with a 4.40 at 152 mph to Hodgson’s 4.62 at 154 mph. Larry Reep then lined up against Donny McSwain. Reep ran by far the best elapsed time of the weekend with a jaw dropping 4.03 at 172 mph, but left the red bulb on behind him disqualifying his run. McSwain for unknown reasons got no time on his run against Reep. The committee members of the Outlaw Fuel Altereds met and agreed to let McSwain come back to make a make-up run. It would take a 4.39 out of McSwain to advance him to the finals. He gave it all he could with a nice straight pass clicking it off to a 4.51, not quite quick enough to advance. The two quickest winners from this round were Oklahoma’s Brad Rigler and the Texan Donnie Massey and they would meet each other in the final round.
Huge side by side burnouts started off a great match up in the final round. The two cars first round elapsed times were only four hundredths of a second apart. Donnie Massey in “Nitro Fish” said before the race, “let the big fish eat.” Unfortunately for Rigler, that is exactly what happened. Massey got the starting line advantage and never looked back. Massey’s 4.39 at 158 mph was good enough to get him his first win of the 2003 season. Rigler got out of shape and had to lift after dancing with the centerline tripping the clocks with a 5.24 at 102 mph.
Donnie Massey and the Nitro Fish gang were thrilled about their first win and still have hopes of defending their 2002 championship. The next scheduled event for the Outlaw Fuel Altereds is August 30th and 31st at Mo-Kan Dragway in Asbury, Missouri then back to Wichita Raceway Park on September 6th.
The Fuel Altereds Rock Wichita
June 7th, 2003
The Outlaw Fuel Altereds made their first stop of the season at Wichita Raceway Park on June 7th. Eleven cars made the show including the debut of the “Toxic” fuel altered driven by Brad Rigler. Also in his first race of the season was Howard Knowles from Kansas. Unfortunately Jerry Williams, the points leader, could not make the event after he damaged his engine in a match race a week before. This opened the door for Larry Reep and Bobby Marriott who sat second and third in points.
The pits were packed with fans and the weather was looking like it was going to be a great night of fast fuel altered drag racing. The first round began around seven o’clock and the fans were going insane. Two of the best looking cars lined up for the first pair of round one qualifying. Bobby Marriott in “Shockwave” vs. Donnie Massey’s new “Nitro Fish” altered. After both cars laid down 600-foot burnouts, Marriott ran a respectful 4.92 at 143 mph after driving through some tire shake and mid track. Donnie Massey started to loose traction at the top end and clicked it off early to a 4.58 at 128 mph. Howard Knowles and Tom Butherus were the second pair to go down the track in round one. Knowles had a nice straight pass and ran 4.49 at 162 mph. Butherus pedaled the car a few times and could only muster a 5.45 at 116. In the next pair, Jack Hodgson and Jim Pruett both drove through tire spin and ran low five second elapsed times. Donnie McSwain in “Pure Adrenaline” made his first appearance of the 2003 season and instantly proved he was ready to run for the championship by running a 4.72 at 147 mph. Larry Reep in the “Grim Reeper” after having many engine problems at the last event proved he was back in business with a 4.60 at 156 mph. John Tappan, Eric Buchanan, and Brad Rigler all made low five second passes.
After returning to the pits, it was discovered that the “Time Warp” Ford powered altered of John Tappan had a cracked intake manifold and was sidelined for the rest of the event. After the first rounds performance, the teams realized they could put more power in their wild fuel altereds and that is exactly what happened in round two.
Jack Hodgson in “Blown Smoke” and Jim Pruett were the first pair of round two. Hodgson tripped the clocks with a 4.50 at 157 mph to Pruett’s 4.87 at 148mph. Tom Butherus ran a wild 4.52 at 147 mph pedaling the car a few tims and coming very close to crossing the centerline at the top end. In the other lane, Donnie McSwain stepped up over a tenth of a second with a 4.61 at 151 mph and beat Butherus on a whole shot. Donnie Massey and Bobby Marriott both struggled to find traction on their runs and did not improve on their times. Brad Rigler stepped up to a 4.80 at 112 mph in only his second pass in Outlaw Fuel Altered competition and Larry Reep ran a consistent 4.79 at 152 mph.
After the two qualifying sessions, the quickest eight cars come back to form the first round. To determine the final, the two quickest winners from the first round will come back for the final. The first round saw McSwain paired against Hodgson, Rigler against Butherus, Pruett against Massey, and Knowles vs. Larry Reep.
The temperature had dropped at least fifteen degrees since round one and there was a strong north wind blowing signaling a storm was on it’s way. The first pair of first round was a very good drag race. After both cars did huge burnouts Jack Hodgson ran a great 4.50 at 157 mph but was beat on a whole-shot by Donnie McSwain who ran 4.55 at 152 mph. Brad Rigler’s “Toxic” altered beat Tom Butherus with a 4.66 at 145 mph. Donnie Massey had severe tire shake and saw nothing but Jim Pruett’s rear tires as Pruett ran by far the best elapsed time of the event with a 4.32 at 158 mph. In a very close drag race, Larry Reep ran a very good 4.40 at 164 mph but was beaten on a whole-shot by Howard Knowles who ran 4.42 at 161. The first round featured four of the closest and quickest races in circuit history. So the two quickest winners from round one were Jim Pruett and Howard Knowles, and they would be the finalists.
The pits were busy with work because the rain was on it’s way. Lighting and thunder were getting closer and louder in the distance. Pruett and Knowles both finished preparing their cars for the final and towed them to the staging lanes. A slight drizzle was coming down when the cars were fired and after both cars did their burnouts Wichita Raceway Park staff determined the track was too unsafe to run on. As the cars were being towed back to the lanes the rain began to fall very hard. So the final will be run at the next event on the Outlaw Fuel Altered tour which is June 21st and 22nd at Redline Raceway in Caddo Mills, TX.
The "Wild Thing" dominates at
Ben Bruce Memorial Air Park Dragway
May 4th, 2003
Surrounded by trees, nitro, and racecars; How can it get any better? Ben Bruce Memorial Air Park Raceway in Evadale, TX is truly the most unique drag strip in the southwest. A former airport runway turned IHRA ¼ mile drag strip, this track is one of a kind. It is surrounded by nothing but tall trees that cause an echo to rumble through the air when a car makes a pass. But when the Outlaw Fuel Altereds come to town, it causes an earthquake.
After racing the night before against the pro mods at Lone Star Raceway, the Outlaw Fuel Altereds were ready to do battle again against each other. Racing started at one o’clock. The first round of qualifying included the overall best performance of the circuit on a quarter mile strip in years. Many cars who had never run in the six second zone dipped well into the sixes. Tom Butherus in the “Rude Rat Too” ran a career best 6.88 at 194 mph right next to a 6.94 at 194 mph by Jerry Williams in Wild Thing II.”
“He just kept pulling away from me,” said Williams at the top end regarding Butherus’ great run. Eric Buchanan in “Alkahal Abuse” ran a respectful 7.17 at 160 mph, but Bobby Marriott in “Showtime” stole the first round with a great 6.82 at 182. Mitch King in the “Bone Bucket” had engine problems, kicked a few rods out, and caught fire. The fans loved it, but after getting back to the pits and examining the engine, the problems put him out of competition for the event.
In second round of qualifying, Jim Pruett stepped up in a big way tripping the clocks with a 6.84 at 193 mph to qualify him third. Bobby Marriott ran a 7.02 at 189 mph with Larry Reep right on his doorstep with a 7.05 at 198 mph. Jerry Williams ran low elapsed time of the event with a 6.76 at 198 mph to put him on top of the qualifying ladder. The quickest eight cars would come back, then the quickest two winners of first round will come back to form the final. Bobby Marriott finished in second and would meet Eric Buchanan in round one. Jim Pruett qualified third and would match up with Jack Hodgson and Tom Butherus was paired up with Dale Wilkins.
The stands were packed with screaming fans who were crazy about the side by side 800 foot burnouts and nitro fumes in the air. The fence was lined up with fans past the finish line at 1320 feet. Jerry Williams ended up with a bye run in the first round, and laid down a 6.80 at 197 mph to set a pace for the rest of the field and let them know he was there to win. Bobby Marriott followed right behind Williams defeating Buchanan with a 6.88 at 194 mph. Jim Pruett defeated Jack Hodgson with a 6.92 at 194 mph, which was just six hundredths of a second slower than Marriott. Dale Wilkins beat Tom Butherus, but only ran a 7.50 at 161. So the two quickest winners, Williams and Marriott, would meet each other in the final. It’s the president (Marriott) vs. the oldest driver in the circuit (Williams).
(Jerry Williams running wide open at halftrack)
In the final, Bobby Marriott knew Williams had a slight elapsed time advantage from his previous runs. Marriott tried to get a jump off the line, and turned on the red light. Williams took the win with a 6.90 at 191 mph and took the points lead after two events.
The fans were ecstatic, Williams took the points lead away from Larry Reep, and the Outlaw Fuel Altereds had a very successful race weekend. This event was one of the most unique and exciting races in circuit history and there are plans to come back to Ben Bruce Memorial Air Park Raceway in the fall. For race photos and more information visit www.outlawfuelaltereds.com. A special thanks goes out to Royal Purple Oil and Wizard’s Warehouse for their continued support of the Outlaw Fuel Altered Association in 2003. The next race June 7th at Wichita Dragway in Wichita Falls, TX.
The Outlaw Fuel Altered vs. Outlaw Pro-Mod Challenge
May 3rd, 2003
The second annual Outlaw Pro Mod vs. Fuel Altered battle was held May 3rd, at Lone Star Raceway Park in Sealy, TX. The weather was iffy all day, with heavy clouds overhead that lasted through the night. Of course, the big battle was between Mitch King and Frankie Taylor, the two biggest names in their respected category. Mitch, who also drives the La King’s Confectionery Top Fuel Dragster, had been talking some smack on the net prior to the race. Frankie, who is doing very well running in the AMS Staff Leasing NHRA Pro Mod Challenge, is always up for a good grudge match and accepted Mitch’s challenge to see “Who is the baddest Outlaw?” The quickest pro mod and quickest fuel altered from both qualifying sessions would come back to run in the final of the Outlaw Pro Mod vs. Fuel Altered Battle.
Twenty-two cars, eleven pro mods and eleven altereds, were on the grounds to do battle. Big names from both classes included Bobby Booth, Larry Reep, Bobby Marriott, Jerry Hicks, and Donnie Massey. Bobby Marriott in the “Shockwave” altered lived by the saying, “Real racecars don’t have doors.“ This was going to be one heck of a battle between the two baddest circuits in Outlaw racing.
The first session of qualifying started at five o’clock and right off the bat, Jerry Hicks was calling out Mitch King. Unfortunately, Mitch can’t please every pro mod that wants a piece of him, and had prior arrangements to race Frankie Taylor. So Hicks showed Frankie and Mitch they were not the only boys who came to play, and tripped the clocks with a 4.19 at 170 mph in the first pair down the track. Donnie Massey in his new look “Nitro Fish” blown altered ran a 4.36 at 155 mph to put him fifth quickest. Larry Reep had a wild ride in the “Grim Reeper” when he tagged the wall gently before the finish line and then put his car in the sand trap and the end of the track. Reep still ran a 4.46 at 163 mph, but had a lot of work to do in preparation for the next qualifying session. Jim Pruett of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma surprised everyone with his 4.29 at 152 mph to take the number one altered spot, but there was one pair left. Mitch King fired up his “Bone Bucket” nitro fuel altered and was followed right behind by Frankie Taylor during the burnouts.
(Mitch King in the "Bone Bucket")
Unfortunately for King, Frankie got off the line first and never looked back. Taylor ran a 4.13 at 176 mph to King’s 4.25 at 158 mph. Frankie got the best of King in this one, but it was only qualifying. Unless someone were to beat King’s 4.25 in the next round, Frankie and King would meet in the final.
Between rounds, both Larry Reep and Mitch King had their crews hard a work trying to get ready for round two of qualifying. Reep was able to make his repairs, but King did not have enough time between rounds and was forced to sit out of session two. King had to hope no other altered would beat his 4.25 and take his place in the final.
In the second session, Bobby Booth gave Frankie a run for a spot in the final when he ran a 4.15 at 169 mph. Booth’s run was just two hundredths of a second slower that Frankie’s first round time. Conrad Ignasiak stepped up and ran a 4.35 at 166 mph, but Larry Reep stole the show in the last run of session two. Reep got a bye run in the second session and knocked Mitch out of the final with a 4.12 at 179 mph. In true “Grim Reeper” style Larry Reep ran low elapsed time for the event and would meet Frankie Taylor in the final.
Before the final, Mitch King spent his time looking for a pro mod that wanted to put up some money for a grudge match. Mitch had warmed up his car and was ready to go, but no race was called out. Meanwhile, Larry Reep was getting ready for his final round match. “I’ve been waiting to race Frankie Taylor for years,” said Reep before the final and then the call went out from the announcer for the finalists to bring their cars to the lanes.
In true Outlaw style Frankie and Reep laid down side by side smoky burnouts. In only a few seconds, the question would be answered of “Who is the Baddest Outlaw?”
Larry Reep drilled Frankie off the line with a .488 to a .604 reaction time. Reep was out of Frankie past sixty foot and then Frankie started to shake the tires and got sideways. Reep was trucking down his lane when his transmission failed and he lost power. Frankie looked like John Force on and off the throttle trying to catch Reep. Reep was dead in the water and just coasting hoping he could hold off Frankie until the finish line but he could not. Taylor came charging by and took the win with a 4.63 at 153 mph to Reep’s 5.01 at 106 mph.
So the pro mods beat the altereds for a second time, but as always, it was close all the way to the finish line. These two circuits would love to have another piece of each other any time and if not this year, we will definitely see the Outlaw Pro Mods and Fuel Altereds do battle again at Lone Star Raceway. Everyone had a great time, and the Outlaw Fuel Altereds packed up and headed for Evadale, TX for their race the next day. The Outlaw Fuel Altereds are ready for a re-match. Just name the place and time and the second round of altereds vs. pro mods will begin. One thing is for sure, Outlaw racing doesn’t get any better than it is in Texas.
Click here for 2002 Outlaw Fuel Altered results.
Click here for 2004 Outlaw Fuel Altered results.