Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Joe McHugh photos


Promoter Chris Graves Finds Fun in the ‘Chaos’ of Running Three Different Series

It’s been just over a week since Chris Graves finished overseeing three different events during Memorial Day weekend, and he and his wife Tera have finally completed updating points and mailing payouts. Such is the life now for the drag racing photographer-turned-promoter.

Graves, creator of the wildly popular Funny Car Chaos (FCC) series, has branched out in recent years with Nitro Chaos, a “run what ya brung” style of event. Any car is legal to compete, with one simple rule – it must be burning at least 80% nitromethane.   

“There’s a lot of cars that don’t really have anywhere else to run,” says Graves. “In the Midwest especially, with Altereds and front-engine dragsters, even Pro Mods. The rulebooks [in other sanctioning bodies] restrict so much creativity. These drivers can build these cars how they want, and they can try new stuff – fuel pumps, blowers, ignition systems.”

Photo by Jason “Nubs” Dunn

 The first Nitro Chaos event was held at Eddyville Raceway Park (ERP) in July of 2021. Two short years later, with the support of DMP Awnings, it’s already expanded into a points series of its own, with an A and B field consisting of eight cars each. The 2023 season contests four events, a number Graves doesn’t see changing any time soon despite a very healthy number of drivers participating.

“I think four or five is the magic number. I’ve always been a firm believer that less is more, and oversaturation is bad,” Graves says. “And for a grassroots nitro team, four races is something they can commit to. Keeping the event count rather low is going to sustain a good car count and have a lot of teams running for the championship.”

For Graves, that recipe has worked beyond even his own expectations. While he routinely sees 30-plus entries at his FCC races, many of them are not nitro-burning machines. That one rule could theoretically hinder participation, but in reality seems to have had the opposite effect. An astonishing 28 cars have already competed this year in the series.               

“I knew there was a good solid dozen,” Graves says. “But to see 28 already is a little more than I expected, honestly. The good thing about it is that all these people that did it for the first time are hooked already. They’re committing to the rest of the season. Our new problem is going to be finding the funding to host a C-field at these races next year. I think by this point next year we’re absolutely going to be having 24-car Nitro Chaos races instead of 16-car fields.”

Two events have already been completed this season, at Edgewater Sports Park and ERP. The next race will be at Mo-Kan Dragway July 14-15, and the first-ever Nitro Chaos points champion will be crowned September 22-23 at Thunder Valley Raceway Park in Noble, Oklahoma. Megan Meyer and Gary Wheeler Jr. are currently tied atop the standings. 

With the rapid success of Nitro Chaos, as well as managing FCC and the Outlaw Fuel Altered Association, Graves has reached the point where he has to delegate responsibilities instead of doing everything himself.

Tera Graves with son Levi

“This is year number seven of Chaos, the brand,” Graves says. “I hired Bubba Corzine this year to help me out at some races, and now I’ve hired Austin Jenkins, the new Chaos kid that everyone’s going to get to know soon. Scott Gardner’s been irreplaceable in helping me. Thankfully I’ve got boots on the ground at the race track while me and Tera are also doing all of our things.”

Despite the added help, Graves admits it can still be quite the juggling act to manage three separate series. While returning to many of the same tracks year after year has helped build working relationships that streamline the process, the rapid growth has continually added to their workload. It’s a double-edged sword that Graves is happy to balance.   

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“We certainly didn’t plan on being full-time drag racing promoters seven years ago,” says Graves. “It’s a lot, but it’s all I know how to do. Drag racing has been my whole life. I sold a 20-year-old photography company I worked my butt off to build, and now I don’t even take pictures anymore. It gets overwhelming at times, there’s no doubt. But it’s a lot of fun and we’re blessed to be able to do what we want to do and have fun doing it.”

That passion for the sport, and giving the grassroots drivers and tracks he works with premier events year after year, has an infectious quality that has spread throughout this particular community. It’s a special vibe that can only be experienced at a Chaos event.        

“Everyone out there is having fun,” Graves says. “Everybody’s in good spirits, everybody wants to help each other, everybody wants to put on a show and throw t-shirts and put kids in their car. And that’s the whole reason this thing works the way it does. The people are there for the right reason. It’s the way it’s supposed to be, and the fans and racers have caught on.”     

This story was originally published on June 8, 2023. Drag Illustrated


You May Also Like


The star-studded STREET OUTLAWS: No Prep Kings series is set to return for its 6th season in the summer of 2023. Fans can expect to...


Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star and renowned engine builder Pat Musi joined the recent episode of The Wes Buck Show and provided an update...


Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star Lizzy Musi announced today that she has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer via her Youtube channel....


Tony Christian, one of the pioneering drivers of the Pro Street movement, passed away Thursday, June 9. Christian was infamous for his battles with...

Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.