When it comes to either of the K&N Spring Fling events in Bristol and Las Vegas, the best bracket racers in the country; and some from different countries; show up to do battle. Triple-zero reaction times coupled with dead-on the dial-in runs are commonplace. So is taking .001 finish line, or less. The competition is just tough. However, there's one thing no competitor can ever beat... that's Mother Nature. This is after all, a sport played outside requiring a dry race track.
Day one of the K&N Spring Fling 5-Day presented by Sparco was slated for an open Test & Tune session followed by the Racetech/American Race Cars Super Tuesday Dragster Shootout. With a new dragster awarded to both the winner and runner-up, the limited 32-car field was filled weeks ago.
The wet stuff never seemed to leave but by late afternoon Mother Nature finally relented and the Bristol Dragway crew did a fabulous job to get the track ready. The Test & Tune session began albeit a little later than anticipated. The Dragster Shootout got underway and completed two rounds before an oil down by one of the Test & Tune cars caused an extensive clean-up which ended the night. The remaining eight cars will complete the race Wednesday morning.
With the impending weather upon us, race co-promoters chose to change the weekly schedule.
“We just wanted to make sure we get as many races completed in order to make it fair for the racers,” said co-promoter Kyle Seipel.
With that said, Tuesday's schedule stayed as planned as will Yukon Gear & Axle Wednesday. The forecast as of now is not at all good for Optima Friday so FTI Thursday will be combined with Friday's Optima Battery sponsored day making it $40,000 to the winner with all round money and prizes doubled.
"That will give us Saturday and Sunday to finish the last race; JEGS Saturday; of the weekend," Seipel said. "We're just trying to make the best of a bad situation and be proactive ahead of time."
The entire event is streamed live on the MotorManiaTV.com website. Keep your eyes and Internet pointed to www.bracketraces.com for daily results.
Yukon Gear & Axle Wednesday dawned bright and sunny at the K&N Spring Fling 5-Day presented by Sparco, with the Sun deciding to hide behind the clouds but still allowing a time trial session for all competitors.
The Racetech/American Race Cars Super Tuesday Dragster Shootout still needed to be completed from Tuesday night with eight cars left in the quarterfinals with both the winner and runner-up scoring a brand new dragster. Sean Serra defeated John Taylor Jr, Jeff Taylor looked to avenge his brother's loss to Serra and he did by defeated Vinny DiMino, Kevin Brannon took out Ben Parks, and making up the balance of what will be the semifinals is Michael Paschal defeating Robert DiMino Jr.
In the semifinals, Brannon turned on the redlight by .002 advancing Paschal and Serra used a better reaction time to end the Taylor brothers chance to bring home a new dragster. In the final, Paschal parlayed two wins last weekend locally to another win today earning him a new Racetech dragster while Serra took a new American Race Cars dragster home with him to Pennsylvania.
Eliminations began and everything was running smooth until… Mother Nature intervened for a very lengthy time after only about three-quarters of the first round. The Bristol Dragway crew once again kept at it and several hours later we were back to racing.
Unfortunately, with darkness and the dew point slowly approaching, the decision was made with safety in mind to halt the night's activities at 11:30 pm. The plan will be to begin FTI and Optima Batteries Thursday in the morning. Once that event gets down to a manageable number, the continuation of Yukon Gear & Axle Wednesday's $15K to win event will be completed.
Motor Mania TV is still streaming the event live thanks to sponsors JEGS and Mickey Thompson Tires, all of which can be found on their website (motormaniatv.com) or by keeping your Internet pointed to www.bracketraces.com for the live feed and daily results.
With a much better forecast for Thursday, the combined FTI Thursday and Optima Batteries Friday races began early with eliminations. Combining the two races is a proactive move on co-promoters Peter Biondo and Kyle Seipel due to Friday's weather forecast. It means the purse is doubled all the way back to third round winners who instead of receiving $200 for a loss in the fourth round, it doubles to $400. Instead of $20,000 to win, the winner will now take home $40,000.
"We are so thankful that over 300 cars have showed up to support our event despite the likely weather forecast," said Biondo prior to Thursday's eliminations. "Both Kyle and myself thought long and hard about this and we feel there's only one thing we could do to show our appreciation. Because of that, we have decided that we'll throw another $10,000 on top to the winner making it $50,000 to win.
"We understand that in this day and age each racer has a lot of options as to where to race," Biondo added, "and because each one of those racers chose to be here at our event, it's our way of thanking each and every one of them."
In addition to completing this event, there is still the Yukon Gear & Axle event from Wednesday to be completed. Sixty-nine racers have the second round of that race to complete which will take place after today’s race.
At the round of eight racers left was NHRA Super Comp champion Kevin Brannon, Bruce Combs, Aaron Vail, Tom Dauber, Allen Byrd, Adam Bochon, Marie Muller, and Chris Reynolds, with Combs and Vail all driving actual door cars and Brannon in his Super Gas roadster.
For the quarterfinal, Vail and Brannon squared off to end the hopes of one door car which happened to be Brannon, moving Vail on to the semifinals. Combs kept the door cars alive with a win over Byrd. Dauber defeated Reynolds and finally Muller took the win when Bochon redlighted.
In the semifinals, Combs defeated Muller and Vail took out Dauber. Over 300 racers took to the track today with roughly 30-percent of them being door cars. Odds always seem to be in the favor for dragsters, but Combs and Vail are taking exception to that and will be racing for $50,000 to win with their door cars.
In the final, both racers were stellar on the Christmas tree with only .001 separating them. But it was Combs' closer to the dial that scored him his biggest win in 48 years of racing.
"This is unbelievable," said Combs. "To score one for the door guys and the old guys is pretty cool. I know one thing, forget Disneyworld; I'm going to the Spring Fling Million next year!"
With that event completed, the Yukon Gear & Axle Wednesday race continued while the Sparco Racer Appreciation Barbeque took place with multi-event winner Anthony Bertozzi and his crew doing the cooking and feeding the multitudes.
At the quarterfinal round, seven drivers remained. Tommy Cable by virtue of his reaction time was the recipient of the bye run. Jeremy York defeated Larry Ericksmoen. Kevin Brannon took out Joe Gary. Jeff Serra lit the redlight to advance Johnny Ezell to the semifinals.
The first half of the semis involved dragster (Cable) against Brannon’s door car with Cable taking a tight win. The second half also involved another dragster versus door car, this time with Gary defeating Ezell.
For $15,000 to win, York started it off with a .008 reaction time advantage over Cable, but when you run dead-on the dial with a zero, it was tough to beat Tommy Cable. Cable was last year's points champion and he is quickly becoming a part of Spring Fling lore.
The live feed continues by Motor Mania TV and sponsored by JEGS and Mickey Thompson Tires. Follow the video and results by visiting www.bracketraces.com.
Earlier in the week, K&N Spring Fling 5-Day presented by Sparco came to the realization that the weather gods just might not be as excited about the event as the over 300 racers were who showed up for the event.
"We always want to stay proactive and give our customers the best chance to complete all of our races," said co-promoter Kyle Seipel. "A successful event for us is when we can complete every race. The forecast left us little options so we decided to shorten the program and make Thursday's race a double which would give us Friday, Saturday and Sunday to complete the event."
After a long day of racing on Thursday followed by the Sparco Race Appreciation Barbeque, Friday dawned... cloudy but not wet. First up was the $20,000 Spring Fling Reaction Time Challenge where 20 randomly selected racers were given the chance to "hit the 'tree," with a .00X reaction time earning them $100 while a perfect .000 gave the driver $1,000 and the chance to come back and try one more time. One more perfect light and it's $10,000 to the driver. Paul Rebis, Ron Campbell, TC Smith and Aaron Vail all walked away with an extra $100. However, it was Jared Pennington and Kurt Harrington who posted .000 on the scoreboard to hand them a cool grand. Both drivers were eligible to come back and do it again for $10Gs but it was not to be, although quite close. Pennington was -.001 red and Harrington was also red with a -.005.
In the actual JEGS-sponsored day of racing, the fortunate seven to come back are Tommy Kelley, Timmy Miller, Kevin Brannon, Don Hansen, Jeff Krushinkie, Tim Griffith and finally Cody Harger who will receive the luck bye run to advance him directly to the semifinals.
With Harger already advanced by virtue of his bye run, he'll join Krushinkie, Hansen and Miller who all won their respective races. In that round, Miller had a perfect reaction time but didn't need it as Harger turned on the redlight by -.004. In the other half, Hansen used a .003 reaction time to his advantage in a win over Krushinkie.
Between the two finalists, there was combined over 100 years of racing and neither one showed that age has anything to do with winning. Hansen left first with a .013 reaction time by virtue of his dial-in and Miller wasn't far behind. At the finish line, Hansen ran just a little closer to his dial-in to take the $20,000 check back home to Florida.
For the last final of the week, Dave White and Kenny Underwood battled it out in the PAR Racing Engines Door Car Shootout with White taking the victory.
The overall Wiseco Points Chase saw NHRA Super Comp world champion Kevin Brannon taking home a check for $5,000 and a beautiful special points champion helmet.
"It's been a pretty amazing week," said Seipel. "The weather threw us a little curveball but we were able to get all the races done. Both Peter [Biondo] and I are so thankful for everyone who worked with us from the sponsors, racers and their families. They all had the faith in us that we’d get all the racing done and we did. A big THANK YOU!"
Stay tuned to www.bracketraces.com for news regarding the 2017 version of both the Spring Fling Million in Las Vegas and the Spring Fling 5-Day in Bristol.