Francis Butler
August 1, 2006
Contributers: Huw Evans
Todd Boatmen applies rubberized undercoat to the bottom of his quarter panels.

No Problem Raceway, Belle Rose, LA
May 5-7, 2006

Hot on the heels of the Texas Thunder Nationals, the 2nd Annual Cajun Fun Ford Weekend Nationals at No Problem Raceway looked like it would be a weekend to remember. For many crews and hardcore attendees it was great having the next event merely hours away to the East. Last year, this FFW race and car show extravaganza went down to a storm, the stands were packed and people came out from everywhere to witness cool heads-up and bracket racing, along with some great weather, great vendors, great cars and ... well you get the picture. No Problem Raceway is a new facility and certainly among the most impressive the MM team has seen yet. It was named NHRA Division 4 'Track of the Year' three times in a row and even boasts a road course, 10 acres of paved parking and even a tire and fuel center. Considering what the State of Louisiana has had to endure over the past several months, a lot of folks are just looking for a good time. On May 5th, some decided to head on down to New Orleans for the Jazz Festival and hang out on Bourbon street, while others with a more automotive bent decided to drive 50 miles southwest from this mecca of music and head for No Problem. However, the biggest battle most competitors faced, wasn't the track, or each other, but rather the weather. Threatening skies on Friday eventually brought with them a smattering of rain, sometimes extremely localized. You'd be on your way from the hotel to the track and all of a sudden it would start raining, then you hit a bone dry patch and then back to rain and so on. Despite the inclement weather, Bill Alexander and the rest of the AAP team that run these events did the best they could to make it work and considering the circumstances they deserve a round of applause. Unpredictable climatic conditions will often keep some drivers and cars away, but on the other hand there are those that show up and no matter whether they race or not - they always have a good time.

Because attendance was down, it was decided to combine some classes, which in theory at least would give drivers the chance to get a run down the track in between the showers. San Antonio's Chip Havemann, brought his twin turbo Outlaw beast to do battle against the seemingly all-conquering Tin Lynch. Chip is one driver who knows how to make the most of just about any situation and here it was no different. Lynch was all set up to go from the first round of qualifying and he nailed pole with a 7.070 - mighty fast considering the conditions. Havemann was no slouch either and went after Tim, giving it as much as he could. In fact he probably over did it. Lynch and Chip were the only guys running when the final round was called. Here the whistle of multiple turbos as both cars got underway was a sight to be seen, or heard rather. It would have been a close run except Havemann got itchy and hit the gas too early, redlighting and thus leaving Tim to run away with a 7.183 @ 183.72 miles per hour.

The Pro 5.0 guys were having a tough time of it and only David Schorr made the call. Behind the wheel of his fuel injected, mountain motor powered, Escort ZX2 bodied thrasher, Schorr clicked off a 6.745 in qualifying. He followed it up with a 6.725, putting himself ahead of the game, at least in the class point standings - his tally is currently at 282 points.

After narrowly losing to Ryan Chapman in Texas, Gina Munden was back and ready to do some more damage in Drag Radial at No Problem. So was Manny Alvarez, who Munden had driven around the previous weekend to make it to the finals. Gina certainly has it down, her stock-style suspended '88 powered her down No Problem's stretch of tarmac to a 8.239 - good enough to land the top spot in qualifying. Manny came on strong that Saturday however and by the time things wrapped up in Louisiana both Gina and he had wrung it out down the track. Gina was faster, but Manny had one upped the Floridan at the tree and so was declared the winner - posting a 8.237 on the boards (Munden actually ran a 8.155).

Over in Street Renegade, Ronnie Wilson put on one of the most impressive performances in recent memory despite the conditions. On Saturday, the black GT and its driver were on a roll. In qualifying, Ronnie launched his steed and banged off an incredible 7.787! He followed it up with a 7.834 at 174.01 miles per hour - which was leagues ahead of his nearest rival this weekend, JoeRobinson who mustered a 8.398 at just over 150. This guy Wilson is unstoppable it seems!

The Bandit crowd once again witnessed another Bott versus Jones battle as these two guys seemingly battled the elements and each other, once again. Matt Jones shows no signs of letting up his iron grip on the class and even here, put in a good performance all things considered. Qualifying saw the white Jones machine run a 8.771. Daniel Bott pushed hard, attempting to get the better of Jones, but Matt wasn't going to give in. Sure enough, when the call came for the final round it was these two that ended up pulling up to the start line. Daniel got on the throttle hard, so much so that he fouled on the tree; so it was over before it had begun in this case. Jones ran on to a 8.859 to give him the win at the Cajun nats.

Darrell Peterson, with a new motor, arrived at No Problem ready for action. Despite disruptions to the racing schedule he did manage to get down the track and pulled off a 9.475 during qualifying to land the number one spot. John Scaro also got some track time in and he was right up there with Peterson - Darrell had to work hard to stay ahead of Scaro, including the final, where Peterson just managed to get to the post first with a 9.475, versus 9.555 for Scaro.

Regulars Tony Whetsone (Street Stang), Don Justus (Tough Truck) and Jim D'Amore (Ultra Stang), brought their rides East to Louisiana, but the rain put a stop to any eliminations in these classes. Needless to say these three gents at least were given the top spots in qualifying for their categories. It was a shame that the rain eventually put things to an end, because we could have had some great bracket racing too, not to mention an impressive car show - it's well known that the Pelican State has some very bad and fast Ford Ponies and other Blue Oval-powered creations running around on any given day. However, although the racing and official activities were curtailed somewhat, those that did make the trip to No Problem, found that the poor weather and heavy rain was the perfect time to bring out the stoves, cook some good ol' Cajun spice and then kick back and enjoy each others' company. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Modified Mustangs was there to take part. As for the race itself, well the circus arrives up in Richmond Virginia for the Old Dominion Nats in June and it is here where everything from Louisiana will be wrapped up; so we'll finally be able to bring the whole tally of official results. And we know that our hardworking events guy, drag racing photographer and legend himself, Francis Butler, will be looking forward to that one - and not only because it ain't far from his home base, but because, quote "I love this stuff, I love racing; I love the people in this sport. Plus it still gives me an excuse for not getting a real job." He said it, not me!