OPENING DAY - THE SPRING FLING AT GALOT
This year, the K&N Spring Fling presented by Optima Batteries moved from its home at Bristol Dragway for the past seven years to the new Galot Motorsports Park in Dunn, North Carolina. The Bristol event moves to September and becomes the Sparco Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries but first up were the hundreds of racers who came to Galot for Day 1, a Test & Tune day in addition to the American Race Cars/Racetech Dragster Shootout with an elite 32-car field.
Beginning this past February, all racers were invited to send in a request to be part of the 32-car Dragster Shootout field. A week ago, 32 names were pulled out of a hat and were asked their intentions to be a part of the field. When you're racing for that kind of prize, very few declined, and so the race field was set. Two time runs were allotted the 32 in between the Test & Tune session.
After two rounds of competition, the remaining competitors were Lee Dixon, Paul Warick, Jeff Dobbins, Cameron Manuel, former 'Fling winner Brad Jeter, Jason Lynch, Chris Dean and John Taylor Jr. In the round of eight, Warick took the win over Dixon, Dobbins defeated Manuel, Lynch took out Jeter and finally Taylor got the best of Dean.
With the semifinals on the line, second place in this outing gets each driver $500 with the winners going on to the finals and each walking away with either an American Race Cars dragster or Racetech model; winner of the two making his choice first.
In that round, Warick might have brought a knife to a gun fight with his choice of a door car, but after defeating Taylor, he's going home with at the least one of the two dragsters. While in the other half, Lynch took out Dobbins to set up the final.
Though Warick left first with his Nova by virtue of his slower dial-in, Lynch had the better light. And you could have heard the big block Chevy in Lynch's pedaling all the way to Greensboro but it was all for naught as the small block in Warick's door car ran closer to his dial, taking the win light by less than one-thousandth of a second.
Now with a new dragster to take home, Warick said, "I've driven a dragster before but I just like door cars." And we should say so, as his weekend is off to a great start.
YUKON GEAR & AXLE WEDNESDAY AT THE 'FLING
Open in 1957, Dunn-Benson Dragstrip has a long history as an eighth-mile facility. Four years ago, all of that changed.
That was when Earl Wells purchased the property and made "some improvements." Some improvements? Anyone who had been there on opening day in '57 could never have imagined just what Galot Motorsports Park looks like today. "When our racers come into a Spring Fling event, they are expecting a one-of-a-kind experience at a premier facility," co-promoter Peter Biondo explained earlier this year. And that's exactly what the hundreds of racers who came to the K&N Spring Fling presented by Optima Batteries found when they pulled in the gates.
Yesterday's Test & Tune session included the American Race Cars/Racetech Dragster Shootout which found Paul Warick and his door car taking home a new dragster for his efforts. Today's schedule called for one time run for all competitors followed by eliminations on Yukon Gear & Axle Wednesday with $15,000 on the line for the winner.
The survivors of round six were Cory Manuel, Jeremy York, Shane Carr, Kenny Underwood, Tom Cable and "Disco Dean" Karns. In round seven, Manuel defeated York, Carr took out Underwood and Cable won out over Karns. For the semifinals, Carr received the last bye run of the night to automatically advance to the final, while Manuel and Cable tussled with Manuel turning on the red-light to advance Cable.
In the final you had Cable, a former 'Fling winner and 'Fling points champion, and Carr who has several wins on the big stage in addition to just this year alone having won three times in his last four outings with his dragster. Leaving first due to his dial-in, Carr left first with a .005 reaction time, coupling it with a dead-on the dial with a "9" for a .014 package and the win, essentially boxing out Cable who had a .016 reaction time and as they say, mathematically ineligible.
"I don't know what it is," said Carr after the run, "but this car and I have been very good this year. We might dust off the dial-in board and 'maybe' run the valves but we're not going to change anything."
Following the Yukon Gear & Axle Wednesday eliminations, the Hoosier Tire Door Car Shootout took place. Thirty-two randomly selected door car racer Tech Cards were pulled with each receiving one time trial prior to eliminations. Each semifinalist receives a new Bell GP-3 helmet, while the runner-up pockets $1,000 with the winner walking away with $10,000.
With four cars left, it was Don Hansen and Gary Williams tangling with Hansen scoring the win, while Randall Blinson took the win over Joe Gary. For $10,000, it was another final where one competitor was "mathematically ineligible" when Blinson used a .013 package to defeat Hansen's .026 initiated start.
WISECO THURSDAY 'FLING RESULTS
Just another day at the K&N Spring Fling presented by Optima Batteries; another day of big money bracket racing.
Today's schedule called for all new entries to be given the opportunity for one time run, followed immediately by eliminations. Survivors in the seventh round were Andy Lloyd, John Corbin, Jimmy DiCiacco, Brandon Collins, Tim Butler, Jeff Dobbins and Will Holloman. By virtue of the best reaction time of the previous round, Florida racer and the veteran perennial winner Butler receives the last bye run of the night, moving him right into the semifinals.
First up for the quarterfinal round was Collins and Corbin with Collins taking the win. Next up was Dobbins and Lloyd but after their burnouts and while staging, the skies almost immediately darkened and Mother N ature reared her ugly head, albeit with just enough spritz to halt the action for the time being. The entire area had been flirting with the wet stuff all day, but it seemingly always seemed to go around the Galot facility.
Just a short spritz and the Galot Motorsports Park staff did a fantastic job getting the track back in shape. First pair up was Dobbins and Lloyd with Dobbins taking the win. Next up was DiCiacco and Holloman with the win going to the New Yorker DiCiacco. Once Butler took his bye run, the semifinals were set.
In the semifinals, it was youth over experience as both under 25-year old North Carolina drivers in Dobbins and Collins who defeated DiCiacco and Butler, respectively.
In the final, the reaction times between the two were only .001 apart but it was the son of former big inch Pro Stock racer Jeff Dobbins taking the win and the $20Gs back home to Wilmington, North Carolina.
"This is awesome and I can't thank my Mom and Dad enough for the support they give me," said Jeff number 2.
STRANGE ENGINEERING FRIDAY ‘FLING RESULTS
They say that in life, a little rain must fall, however, while it might have sprinkled yesterday, the “rain” surely didn’t fall on Jeff Dobbins in his win from Wiseco Thursday’s $20,000 race. All that changes today at the gorgeous Galot Motorsports Park.
While the rain fell pretty heavy overnight and delayed the start of the day, it might have only delayed the inevitable, which was Strange Engineering Friday where the ante is upped and someone will walk away with a $50,000 check tonight.
With round six in the books, the survivors were Tommy Plott with both his dragster and door car, Richard Alford Jr., 18-year old Angela Gantkowski, Terry “Turtle” Brannon, Wednesday’s winner Shane Carr and receiving the last bye run of the race will be Tommy Cable in his door car.
In the quarter-final round, Alford took out Plott’s dragster, NHRA champion Kevin Brannon’s father Turtle received the automatic win when Gantkowski red-lighted, and in the final pair prior to Cable’s bye run, Plott hung on with his Mustang to defeat Carr. The semifinals will be two door cars against two dragsters, with the pairings being the dragsters of Alford and Brannon racing each other and Cable and Plott facing, assuring at least a door car making it to the final round.
In the semis, Plott and Cable faced off with Cable taking the win and making his second final round appearance this week. In the other half, Alford’s car got out of the groove and was forced to lift to hand the win to Brannon.
For the final, Turtle proved his son isn’t the only Brannon who can turn on win lights as his dead-on the dial with a “0” and a .022 reaction time was enough to force Cable to run out.
“I have to thank the good Lord,” said Brannon, “as every round I was just praying to get it done.”
Naturally though, his final round opponent Cable has been a staple in Spring Fling history, with several wins, a points championship, and even his second final round appearance this week.
JEGS SATURDAY ‘FLING RESULTS
First up for Day “Last” at the K&N Spring Fling presented by Optima Batteries was the Spring Fling Reaction Time Challenge.
Twenty randomly selected racers were invited to take one shot at the ‘tree. A .00X reaction time earned the driver a $100 bill while a perfect .000 gets $1,000. Six drivers received hundred, Matt Schapiro, Bug McCarty, Vince Shrawder, Matt Brehm, Antoine Jett, and Jeremy Brewer. Just when it looked no one was going to earn the grand, Tim Thomas pulled up to be the last of the 20. Lo and behold, triple zeros showed up on the board and Thomas was now $1,000 richer and given one more shot to duplicate the effort which would have earned him $10,000 if he did it again. A red -.002 was close but not close enough, however he still walked away a happy man.
Next, the traditional ‘Fling Family Foto gathered some of the assembled racers and their families at the head of the staging lanes for a remembrance of the event and the final eliminations day was off to a great start.
Survivors of round six were Colby Fuller who defeated Tommy Plott’s dragster, Bug McCarty, Troy Brewer, Mark Horton, Chris Reynolds and Plott in his Mustang, along with Hoff who earned the bye run.
Round seven found McCarty with the bye to the semifinals, Fuller, Brewer and now announced as the Spring Fling MVP award winner Tommy Plott.
As the semifinals shaped up, the lone dragster of McCarty was outnumbered by the door cars of Fuller, Brewer and Plott. The semifinals were sort of anticlimactic as it was littered with two red-lights as Brewer lit the red bulb to move Plott to another Spring Fling final, while Fuller did the same to make the finals a dragster (McCarty) against a door car.
The red-light showed its ugly head one more time in the final as your MVP of the week Plott turned it -.001 red to hand the win to McCarty.
“I really want to thank the entire ‘Fling and Galot staff for putting on such a great race,” said McCarty.
After the finals, co-promoter Kyle Seipel said, “This was a great foundation for us to build from. I’d say that probably 75-percent of the racers who came here are new to our ‘Fling races so that opens us up to new customers. In addition, they’ve done nothing if not rave about how nice Galot Motorsports Park and I’m sure that will bring in more racers in the coming years. So, the news is that we’ll be back here once again next year.
“As usual, we can’t thank those enough who support us at every race, both racers and sponsors,” added Seipel. “Without them, all of this would not be possible. Now our attention will be on the Sparco Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries in Bristol on September 26-30 and we hope to see everyone there again.”
Keep an eye on www.bracketraces.com for all the ‘Fling news, results and information.