Sunshine welcomed over 300 racers on a Tuesday to the sixth annual K&N Spring Fling 5-Day at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee. Tuesday is reserved for a time trial session along with the American Race Cars/Racetech Dragster Shootout. Thirty-two combatants coughed up $1,000 for a chance to win a brand new dragster by becoming one of the two finalists. Each finalist earns himself the dragster with the winner having his choice of brand from the two sponsors. Semifinalists also earn a cash award so it isn't just winner take all.
The 1,000-foot compromise race distance is in effect all weekend and after two time trial sessions for the select 32, eliminations began. Making it to the field of four was Wesley Washington, Gary Williams, Richard Jelich and Rob DiMino.
DiMino faced off with Washington and two dead-on the dial runs ensued with DiMino taking the reaction time advantage and the win to earn himself a dragster. His brother Vinny was the recent $50,000 Shootout winner at the Vegas Fling three weeks earlier so the DiMinos are on quite a roll. However, in the other half, Jelich had problems but Williams would have been tough anyway scoring a triple-zero perfect reaction time anyway for the win.
The final might have been anticlimactic as both racers were slated to go home with a brand new dragster but there was definitely some bragging rights on the line.
For the final, Williams left first on a 6.19 dial-in to DiMino's 6.02, but it was Williams with the reaction time advantage that made all the difference in the world for the win light and his choice to go home with a brand new American Race Cars dragster.
Next up is Warm-Up Wednesday sponsored by Yukon Gear & Axle. Stay tuned to all the action with the live Internet video feed all week sponsored by JEGS and Steve Schmidt Competition Engines. Visit www.bracketraces.com to view in addition to keeping up with any K&N Spring Fling announcements.
Yukon Gear & Axle Wednesday opened up at the K&N Spring Fling 5-Day race with more sunshine for over 350 racers looking to score a $15,000 to win payday.
In addition to the race purse, over $50,000 in prizes and awards are available for Racer Appreciation Giveaways. Starting off this morning, John Biagi earned himself Performaire Weather Station by having the best reaction time in the first ten pairs of door cars. Marty Martin performed the same feat for the dragster contingent and he walked away with a Bell helmet.
As has been the custom of late at many big money bracket races, door cars run separate until the ladder round of 16 cars. That one move has built up the door car count to where at today's event, roughly one-third of the entries was door cars. At 16 cars, five door cars remained to hold up their honor. By the next round, only the one single door car of Jeremy Bargo remained. The other combatants were Mitch Ellison, Tim Thomas, Tommy Cable, Gary Williams, Jeremy Hancock, Brian Lampton and John Taylor.
Moving into the semifinal round, Hancock, Williams, Cable and Ellison each shared a 25-percent chance of earning the $15,000 winner's payday with their winning appearances every round so far. However when the smoke cleared at the end of that round, only Cable and Williams remained. Williams is working off a winner's circle appearance last night for a dragster and Cable won a $40,000 race at last year's Bristol 'Fling, making the final tonight an epic battle.
For the final, Williams left first with a .007 reaction time and coupled with his .006 over the dial it left Cable mathematically ineligible with his .022 reaction time. Two days, two wins for the Bradenton, Florida team of OK Motorsports just ads to their already legendary status in the sport.
"Bracket racing doesn't get the kind of media coverage reserved for other classes," Williams said, "but being able to race on the big stage here is really awesome. I have to thank Peter [Biondo] and Kyle [Seipel] for putting on a great race."
FTI Competition Converters-sponsored Thursday is next with even more racers expected to enter for that day's $20K to win event. Stay tuned to all the action with the live Internet video feed all week sponsored by JEGS and Steve Schmidt Competition Engines. Visit www.bracketraces.com to view in addition to keeping up with any K&N Spring Fling announcements.
After a night of racing that saw Gary Williams earn his second win in two days, trying to add his name to John Labbous Jr. who won three K&N Spring Fling races back in 2010, FTI Competition Converters Thursday opened with another 388 racers taking part in the action. Twenty-thousand dollars to win along with more prizes and awards were on the line today.
The first door car and first dragster during the one and only time trial session to record a perfect (.000) reaction time was to be awarded $500 in cash each from Mitch Clary and OK Motorsports. As it turned out, no door car managed the feat so the $500 rolled over to the dragster and it was Rachel Henderson and Jim Onda walking away with five "Ben Franklins" of OK's money.
Round eight brought about five competitors left, Tommy Cable, looking to avenge his last night's runner-up finish; the door cars of Kevin Brannon and Dennis Mitchell; Jamie Bridge; and John Myers. For the semifinals, Brannon received the bye run, Cable defeated Myers and Mitchell took out Bridge. That left two door cars against the dragster of Cable. Should a door car win any night here, Steve Schmidt Competition Engines will kick in an extra $1,000 to the winner. And it's looking pretty good that we'd at least have a door car in the final.
For the semis, the two door cars of Brannon and Mitchell squared off for the chance to face Cable who received the bye to the final, his second final round in two days. In the other half, Brannon survived a double-breakout win over Mitchell to face Cable for $20,000 to win.
For the final, Cable used a .012 package to fully avenge his last night's runner-up performance. "When you get to the final, you always want to win," Cable said, "and I'm happy I got the chance to get back here and make up for last night's loss."
The current points leader now, he said, "To win on the big stage here at a great race and a great facility it's feels really good. But it's really because I have great people helping me out starting with my boys, car owner Anthony Bertozzi, Rodnut, everyone. Thank you. It's pretty humbling."
With eliminations complete for the main event of the day, the Steve Schmidt Competition Engines Door Car Shootout took place. Thirty-two randomly selected door car racers were invited to compete for a $10,000 to win event. In the final, "Disco Dean" Karns and Jeff Verdi faced off with Karns taking home the $10Gs.
Nitroplate-sponsored Friday will open up with the patented $20,000 'Fling Reaction Time Challenge. Twenty randomly selected racers will stage up to the starting line in the hopes of a perfect triple-zero reaction time. Triple-zero earns that driver $1,000 while a double-"0" light gets $100.
Live Internet video feed is still on with record numbers of viewers all across the globe sponsored by JEGS and Steve Schmidt Competition Engines. Visit www.bracketraces.com to view in addition to keeping up with any K&N Spring Fling announcements.
Nitroplate Friday at the K&N Spring Fling 5-Day opened with the Spring Fling $20,000 Challenge with 20 randomly selected drivers having the chance to earn some cash by turning on a .000 perfect or .00X reaction time.
Trying to join Kevin Heffington from Washington state as the only driver in 'Fling history to click off that perfect reaction time during the 'Challenge was Scott Albrecht, Eric Bowman, Samantha Dubbs, Pauline Schwedt, Gary Ingold, Bruce Liberman, Chase Beverly, Dustin Dodgen, Mike Moore, Eddie Syrer, Harold Keith, Eldon Lacer, Gary Durham, Travis Colangelo, Al Buchanan, Don Stenger, Danny Weaver, Eric Thomas, Marty Williams and TC Smith Sr.
While the feat itself has been accomplished before, trying to do it with money on the line can be a daunting task. As it turned out, Heffington is still the only driver to accomplish the feat but it was Liberman, Keith, Colangelo, Stenger, Weaver and Williams who did grab a $100 bill by virtue of their "double-0" reaction times.
A Bounty Award of a set of Lindsey Racing Products dragster wheels was up for grabs for the racer who beat last night's winner. After reeling off a series of double-0 reaction times last night in his win, Tommy Cable turned on the red light by one-thousandth of a second in the very first round awarding Timmy Miller of Douglas, Georgia, a set of wheels.
According to the 'Fling rules, the guaranteed payout begins with a third round win, but as a special way of giving back to the racers for the fantastic support they have received over the years, co-promoters Peter Biondo and Kyle Seipel decided to make a change. At today's race, third round "losers," got more than just a time slip at the ticket booth. Seipel personally sat there and handed every third round losers a $50 bill.
In the quarterfinal round with five cars left, the combatants were the door cars of Jeg Coughlin and Tracy Guffey with the dragsters of Don Tipton, Franklin DiBartolomeo and Bruce Liberman. As the race turned out, Guffey took out DiBartolomeo, Tipton defeated Liberman and Coughlin had the bye run to the next round.
Semifinals developed with Tipton having problems on the starting line handing the win to Coughlin and Guffey took the lone and last bye run left.
Door cars accounted for roughly one-third of the field all weekend but tonight they dominated and accounted for the two cars left to do battle. Coughlin and Guffey, two racers who have several high dollar wins to their credit. But the final was sort of anticlimactic as Guffey suffered transmission problems and despite a triple-zero reaction time, he was unable to complete the run handing the win to the multi-time national champion Coughlin.
"I runner-upped at the Vegas 'Fling a couple of weeks ago and this win makes it all that much better," said Coughlin. "Bracket racing is my first love and to do well at an event like this is pretty impressive with the best bracket racers in the country on hand."
The night ended with the Sparco Racer Appreciation Barbecue and Chef Anthony [Bertozzi] serving up spaghetti and meatballs followed by a live DJ, dancing and Karaoke in addition to several raffle prizes handed out. Live MotorMania TV action can still be seen as it happens online sponsored by JEGS and Steve Schmidt Competition Engines. Visit www.bracketraces.com to view in addition to keeping up with any K&N Spring Fling announcements.
Following a great night of partying at the Sparco Racer Appreciation Barbecue, JEGS Saturday opened up once again to great weather despite what the weatherman said. After a Racer's For Christ chapel service, the traditional K&N Spring Fling "family photo" took place with just some of the 300+ racers and their crew in front of the iconic Thunder Valley tower.
With the Wiseco 5-Day Points Chase the subject of the day, Thursday's winner Tommy Cable was still on top of the heap prior to eliminations. However, there was a whole group of racers still in contention for the extra $5,000 bonus which goes to the point's champ.
Alright, so maybe the weatherman was right. At halfway through the fourth round of eliminations, Mother Nature decided to bring a little liquid sunshine to the Bristol vicinity. Once the rain stopped, the Bristol Dragway crew did an admirable job drying the facility. With the track ready for action at roughly 8:30, co-promoters Peter Biondo and Kyle Seipel decided it best that they be the first two to go down the track and deem it ready for competition.
"We made that decision based on the fact that we felt it was important for our customers to know that we wouldn't send them down a track that we ourselves wouldn't race on," said Biondo.
Driving two borrowed dragsters, the pair negotiated the track without issue until well past the finish line when what appears to be an equipment malfunction with the car caused Biondo to swerve left and hit the wall.
Thank God first that he walked away unharmed. However, understanding the concern the remaining drivers would have, a subsequent drivers meeting yielded the majority to vote to complete the race on Sunday rather than finish at this late hour.
"I feel maybe a little embarrassed but understand that I was really just along for the ride," said Biondo. "There was nothing wrong with the track in my opinion but both Kyle and I felt it best to leave the decision to finish the race up to the remaining people left."
The Bristol Dragway facility was already reserved on Sunday by the Spring Fling staff for this very same reason. Seipel said, "The track was available to us because we wanted to make sure we would crown a $20,000 winner each day. The rain set us back, and then this incident, so it was just unfortunate but we had prepared somewhat for it. There's a lot of money at stake and we want to make it as fair as possible."
Racing will continue where we left off on Sunday morning at 9:00 and some four hours later, another $20,000 winner will be crowned in addition to naming another Wiseco Points Chase Champion.
After a night which saw the weatherman score a win with their rain prediction, JEGS Saturday continued at the K&N Spring Fling 5-Day. Racing was halted Saturday night in the middle of round four so after each remaining racer received a single time run, eliminations continued.
By the time the quarterfinals came around, eight drivers remained in competition for the $20K. The remaining racers were the door cars of Troy Williams Jr, John Platt and still in contention for the Wiseco Points Chase championship was Tracy Guffey along with Tom Dauber, former Pro Stock racer Brad Jeter, Dave Brodsky, Steve Witherow and Shane Carr.
At the round of eight, Brodsky used a .003 reaction time to defeat Williams, forcing him to run under the dial. Carr took out the door car of Platt. Witherow ended the day for the last remaining door car of Guffey, and Jeter defeated Dauber to complete the pairings for the semifinal round.
For the semis, Brodsky bowed out to Jeter and Witherow took out "Sugar Shane" Carr to set up the final with the former Pro Stock driver Brad Jeter facing Steve Witherow.
Must have been a good week for ex-Pro Stock drivers with Coughlin winning Friday and now as Jeter took out Witherow with a .007 package.
Having not been in a race car since 2008, Jeter said, "We had this dragster sitting at home and my wife said 'let's race,' and so we did. This week was really the first time I've sat in the car since '08.
"This bracket racing is the toughest thing to do and I'm just thankful to the entire Spring Fling and Bristol Dragway crew for putting on a great race," Jeter added.
As for the Wiseco Points Chase, Tracy Guffey and his gorgeous Camaro need to make it to the finals in order to bypass Tom Cable and Jeg Coughlin Jr. With Guffey losing in the quarterfinals, it set the stage for a run-off for the championship between Cable and Coughlin. After finishing second place in the points at last year's Spring Fling, Tommy Cable closed the deal by defeating Coughlin. The remaining top five spots went to Kevin Brannon in third, Guffey in fourth and Gary Williams for the final spot.
"We've had a great week of racing," said co-promoter Kyle Seipel. "Obviously, Saturday didn't go as planned, but we had reserved Sunday to assure we could crown a $20,000 winner each day.
"There is no way it could have happened had it not been for the outstanding support of each of the racers who showed up in addition to the many sponsors who believe that bracket racing is alive and well and deserves to be on the big stage," Seipel added. "Both Peter and I can't thank everyone enough. We were so happy with the support we received and that's why we decided to extend the payout both on Friday and Saturday by one extra round to give back to those who supported us."
Biondo said, "All of our events have been great but this one in particular has been especially gratifying. From the weather; with the exception of Saturday; to the racers, to our staff and the staff of Bristol Dragway, this one event just seemed to go well. I made two runs down the track this week, lost to a Jeep in the match race I had with Kyle and I hit the wall in the other run. So my own racing experience wasn't the greatest, but I'll remember this event as one of our best. My sincere thank you to everyone."
"Next up on the schedule of Spring Fling events is the Spring Fling Million to be held in Las Vegas in 2016 and not only are we excited about it, but so is the buzz in the racing community," Seipel said. "Please visit www.bracketraces.com and 'Like' us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/springflingbracketraces) to keep up with any K&N Spring Fling announcements."