SPARCO FALL FLING TUESDAY RESULTS
Kicking off the Sparco Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries, was a Test & Tune session followed by the American Race Cars/RaceTech Dragster Shootout. The ‘Fling’s own version of Super Tuesday welcomed hot and humid temperatures and blue skies to a whole host of racers from all over the country.
Throughout the day, trailers continued to pull into the gorgeous Bristol Dragway, while racers used the time trial session to dial-in their combinations for the eighth-mile competition. Thirty-two pre-entered racers received two time runs to dial themselves in for the American Race Cars RaceTech Dragster Shootout. The winner receives their choice of a brand new American or RaceTech dragster. Runner-up takes what’s left with $500 going to each of the semifinalists.
With eight cars left, representation ranged from up and down the east coast, over to Ohio and of course, Tennessee. At the round of eight, Tim Markoglu from New York dispatched Ohio’s Josh Grandt. New York’s Vinnie DiMino defeated Tennessee’s Buddy Fleenor, while Troy Williams Jr. from Florida took out South Carolina’s Bennie Ulmer. Finally, Shane Maddox from South Carolina defeated Florida’s Shane Carr.
For the semifinals, New York was looking to dominate but it was not to be as Maddox used a better reaction time to turn away DiMino, and Markoglu turned on the red-light to advance Maddox to make it South Carolina versus Florida.
In the final, only five-thousandths of a second separated in reaction time and as can be expected by two great racers, less than that much separated them at the finish line with Williams taking the double break-out win and the RaceTech dragster home to Florida. Maddox was not exactly a loser though as he leaves with the American Race Car dragster.
SPARCO FALL FLING WEDNESDAY RESULTS
Yukon Gear & Axle Wednesday at the Sparco Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries fell victim to the same hot and blue sky weather that has “plagued” most of the country the past few weeks of September; and the racers loved every second of it, coming out in droves.
In addition to the published and guaranteed purse, over $50,000 in random and round prizes from a variety of sponsors are part of the lure of the event. In fact, the “prize vault” was opened early this morning with out of the first 20 pair of door cars, the best reaction time earned the driver a PerformAire weather station. If you ever had the thought of the competitiveness of this crowd, it took a perfect .000 reaction time by Ed Talbert to walk away with the prize.
Three hours of time trials followed by eliminations found 323 cars making the first round call. For round six, there remained 15 racers; Million Dollar winner Jeff Verdi; Pro Stock crew chief Tommy Lee; Mike McKay, Austin Durham; Tommy Zimmerman; Anthony Bertozzi still left in with two entries; Chris Stine; Jamie Bridge; Scott Albrecht; Jeff Taylor; Johnny Ezell; Cody McDaniel; Taylor Sweeton; and Bobby Spence; with six of the remaining, door cars.
Survivors of round six included Bridge, Taylor, Zimmerman, Ezell, McDaniel, Stine, and Bertozzi still hanging tough with both of his entries. Unfortunately Bertozzi’s Cinderella ride ended in the quarterfinals with him being defeated by McDaniel and Stine. The two remaining combatants for the semifinals were Bridge and Ezell.
For the semis, Ezell and Stine faced off with Stine getting the win, while McDaniel and Bridge raced to the finish line with McDaniel getting the nod into the $15,000-to-win final. Indiana versus Tennessee, respectively.
Racing any of the ‘Flings is a tough proposition and Chris Stine showed just how tough it can be. He used a .006 reaction time coupled with a dead-on the dial with a “2” to turn away Cody McDaniel. McDaniel’s reaction time was a .014 which actually left him “mathematically ineligible” for the win, but still earned him a $3,000 check to get his weekend started, while Stine walked away with his $15,000 winnings.
Next up is Racepak Thursday where the money increases to $20,000-to-win.
SPARCO FALL FLING THURSDAY RESULTS
With an increase in the purse for Racepak Thursday, quite a few “new” racers showed up at Bristol Dragway for the 2017 version of the Sparco Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries.
Today with the increased purse, 383 cars made the first round call for the $20,000-to-win race. Due to the number of racers, co-promoters Peter Biondo and Kyle Seipel made the decision to limit time trials to new entries only, followed immediately after by eliminations. Yesterday’s elimination action took the better part of ten hours to complete and in addition to the main event, today also marked the Biondo Racing Products Door Car Shootout. From yesterday’s 130 door car entries, 32 were randomly selected to compete in a $10,000-to-win door car only affair once the main event is completed.
As for the main event, round six found nine racers surviving to advance to the ladder round of seven; World Footbrake Challenge $20,000 winner Nick Hastings; Joe Gary; Matt Weston; perennial winner Kenny Underwood; former Spring Fling Vegas winner Scott Lemen; Trevor Denton; Shannon Woodring; and Corey Manuel left in with two entries.
For round seven, Gary’s perfect reaction time in his Camaro the round before gave him the bye run to round eight, while Underwood, Manuel in his dragster, Woodring and finally Hastings bringing the last of two remaining door cars to the quarterfinals.
In the round of eight, Gary and his C amaro took out Underwood, while Hastings defeated Woodring and Manuel took the bye run. All three drivers had previous bye runs, so by virtue of his better reaction time in the previous round, the semifinal round bye fell to Hastings, who is no stranger to Bristol and big money races, moving him into the final round. Nasty Nick and his Mustang going to another final round at Bristol, while Gary took the best of Manuel to make it an all-door car final.
Both racers are more than capable of turning on win lights but it was Hastings who turned on the red-light by -.021, giving Gary his first ‘Fling win. “This is just unreal,” is all the champ could say.
Still left to go at the end of the night was the Biondo Racing Products Door Car Shootout. The two finalists were Vinny DiMino and Jeremy York. Only five-thousandths of a second separated them off the starting line but it was all York at the finish line for a. .008 victory.
As for ATI Performance Products Friday, the purse is increased to a $50,000-to-win event in addition to all round money and prizes increased as well.
SPARCO FALL FLING FRIDAY RESULTS
For the third day in a row, more and more racers have been driving through the gates of Bristol Dragway for a chance to win big at the Sparco Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries.
Wednesday’s Yukon Gear & Axle-sponsored $15,000-to-win race had 323 making the first round. Yesterday’s Racepak race, the number increased to 383. And for today’s ATI Performance Products-sponsored race, the purse is increased with a whopping $50,000 going to the winner and so are the racers. The weather couldn’t have been any nicer and partly for that reason, 390 cars made the first round call. The main reason though was the ‘Fling brand where the customer comes first. Besides the purse, over $50,000 in hardcore products are randomly awarded directly to racers. And the awards are not simply a gift certificate or piece of paper but rather the products themselves.
“There aren’t enough thanks we could offer everyone who made the trip here and have helped to make this event run as smoothly as it has,” echoed the sentiments of both co-promoters Peter Biondo and Kyle Seipel
Moving along in the program, at the ladder round nine remained: Stephen “Champ” McCrory; Spring Fling winner Bug McCarty, Door Car Shootout winner Jeremy York, one of the “voices” of the ‘Fling, Jared Pennington, also a Spring Fling winner; Darren Lotts, Tuesday’s Dragster Shootout winner Troy Williams Jr.; former NHRA world champ Kevin Brannon; Kyle Cultrera; and finally Josh Lueke. Four door cars left to do battle with the dragsters.
Survivors of that round included Williams, McCrory, McCarty, Luedke and York; three door cars and two dragsters. The door cars hung tough in the quarters with McCarty and York sliding through to the semis with Williams defeating McCrory with a .002 reaction time that gave him the bye run at three cars, assuring it would be a door car versus dragster final.
In the semis, McCarty fouled away his chances with a -.001 red-light. Unfortunately, York hurt his engine on that run and was unable to return for the final to give the newly crowned IHRA Top Dragster world champion Williams a $50,000 payday to add to his resume of wins.
“I feel so bad for Jeremy,” said Williams, “and I didn’t want to win that way. I have to thank FTI Transmissions, Steve Schmidt, Mickey Thompson Tires, and all my sponsors for the great support they give me.”
The final run of the day was the Brodix Best Package Award for the door car and dragster with the best package all week. It turned out to be a battle of age versus youth, with 74-year old TC Smith and 30-year old “Nasty Nick” Hastings. At the finish line, it was proof that old age and treachery can still beat youth and exuberance with Smith taking home a set of Brodix SR20 cylinder heads.
SPARCO FALL FLING FINAL DAY RESULTS
After a long day of racing and a longer night of partying at the Sparco Appreciation Barbecue, Day Last finally came to the Sparco Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries.
First up; and an actual first for the ‘Fling; the wedding of Stephen and Kimmy Marinchek with the Minister of Parking, Sally Martini officiating right on the starting line.
Next up for today… The Fall Fling Reaction Time Challenge with 20 randomly chosen racers given one hit at the ‘tree. Any .00X getting the driver a $100 bill, while a perfect .000 earns $1,000 and another chance to do it again. Do it twice and receive $10,000. No takers on the perfect hit, but three drivers walked away with $100; Leon Tynes Sr., Travis Laster, and Jerry Brewer.
Prior to eliminations, co-promoter Peter Biondo spoke to the crowd and announced some big ‘Fling news, “After another very smooth event and listening to our racers opinions, we have come to realize that our East Coast ‘Fling events are growing rapidly. In order for us to continue to give our racers an optimum experience, we have made the decision to limit the amount of entries for our East Coast 2018 Spring Fling at Galot, and 2018 Fall Fling at Bristol.”
All the details have been finalized yet, but the cap number will be somewhere in the 350 to 390 car count range. As a loyalty gesture, anyone that has attended any one of the previous Flings will have first priority to pre-enter both events in 2018. Stay tuned to www.bracketraces.com or their Facebook page for details.
As for eliminations, round seven opened with nine survivors; Shane Maddox, Mike Moore, Bradley Chartier, Ivey Brannon, Carroll Click, Jake Woodring, Cameron Manuel, Severn Johnson and Joe Gary. Winners of that round included Moore, Woodring, Brannon, Gary and Maddox taking the bye into the quarters.
For the quarterfinals, Maddox used a better reaction time than Moore to move to the semis, while Gary used a .002 reaction time to defeat Woodring, and Brannon took the odd car bye run. The ladder is reset every round to reaction time, with the exception the best driver might have already had a bye. In this case, all three drivers already had bye runs so the ladder reverts to the best reaction time, which was the newly crowned as of this point, Todd’s Extreme Paint MVP Award recipient Joe Gary. Gary will be moving to his second $20,000 ‘Fling final after winning on Racepak Thursday, while Maddox and Brannon will do battle.
Ironically, each of the semifinalists all reside within 30-minutes of one another and it was Maddox Race Cars who built Gary’s car along with rebuilding Brannon’s dragster. Each made South Carolina extremely proud. As for the race, with Brannon doing an admirable job all day driving, it was Maddox who laid down a .028 package making Brannon’s .032 reaction time mathematically ineligible for a win. So with Gary taking the odd car bye, the final day of the Fall Fling will come down to two door cars.
Friends are friends and customers are customers, but when the helmets go on, it’s all fair in love and war. For the final, only .05 separated them in handicap with Maddox leaving first, but Gary’s -.004 red-light ended the night and moved Maddox into his second Spring Fling final.
“I have to thank Kyle and Peter for putting on one of the best races all year,” Maddox said. “I’ve been to every one of them and I’ll never miss. Their staff and the Bristol Dragway staff are really the best there is.”
“We are so thankful again and overwhelmed with the support of the racers making the trip here,” said co-promoter Kyle Seipel. “In addition to our staff and the staff at Bristol Dragway, we can’t thank everyone enough.”
Next ‘Fling event will be the K&N Spring Fling Million at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, April 16-21. Then comes the K&N Spring Fling at Galot Motorsports Park in North Carolina, May 1-5. Stay tuned to www.bracketraces.com for more info and follow Spring Fling Bracket Races on Facebook.