FX – Freak X-cident!


Geoff Turk gets in one full pass in testing on his newest car, then disaster strikes!

Story by Geoff Stunkard

Photos and video courtesy Geoff Turk

          In the upcoming August 2023 issue of Mopar Action, we ran a photo of Geoff Turk’s recently-completed “BlackbirdX” Factory Experimental Challenger on display at the PRI show, and had intended to give you an exclusive look on its functions and 2023 race program. We had been in contact with Geoff and his wife Jena, who had planned to forward some photos with us after Geoff shook the car down on a few test runs at his home track, Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Ky. Quite unfortunately, we got photos, but not what we expected.

          Turk had been on his second test run, and the car’s first one through the lights at full throttle, when things went literally went sideways after a blistering 7.24 at 195 MPH effort. Though he was getting familiar with the new car, he had just missed grabbing the roof-mounted chute lever when the car bounced on the large rear tires and jumped partly sideways. On impulse, he touched the fresh carbon-fiber brakes, but the front left side locked up sideways and the car took a 45-degree turn and then smacked into the guardwall hard.

          He does not recall the moment of impact, but using the Racepak and Holley data recorders and the in-car Go-Pro footage, he determined this is the likely scenario of what happened. Turk called it a “comedy of errors” on his part, but it could have truthfully been much more dire at the speed this incident occurred at. On the phone, he was humorous about but defended the new NHRA program.

          “I don’t want my dumb mistakes to discourage anybody on the class. These cars are an absolute blast to drive, jumping off the clutch, banging through the 5 speed,” he noted when we talked to him on May 10. “You can trust me in this, the next pass, this Dodge FX would have been into the 6s and I dare say, well on our way to 200+.” Turk, as you may recall, was the first “stocker” to surpass the 7-second margin as well.

 While initial thoughts were that the car would take the remainder of the 2023 season to reconstruct, further analysis gave hope that the hottest of the Turk Blackbirds could be flying as soon as Norwalk for the first of NHRA’s 6 competitive FX class events, which will be in just over a month from now. If not, the Dodge will be back as soon as possible. Chassis builder Dave Zientara, who is presently also working a new FX-class car for Leon and Jason Eppling for the 2024 season, currently has the chassis in his St. Louis-based ET Tuning/ET Extreme racecar shop for its reconstruction.

Good luck, pal – KEEP THE SHINY SIDE UP!

The new car looked like this off the starting line.
The car looked like THIS after the finish line!

The Blackbird in pieces at the Horsepower Haven shop that Turk operates.
Some parts and pieces.
Geoff and BlackbirdX will be back, perhaps even by the start of the 2023 FX season at Norwalk in late June.

In out car run

In car wreck video

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