2020 World Footbrake Challenge - Complete Recap
7/7/2020
Bristol, TN
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BTE WORLD FOOTBRAKE CHALLENGE – THURSDAY RESULTS

Like a lot of big races all over the country this weekend, racers have flocked to the track at each event in order to suit their competitive juices and the BTE World Footbrake Challenge at Bristol Dragway is no different.

For the 14th year in a row, hundreds of the best footbrakers in the country were here “swapping feet,” leaving off the bottom bulb with no trans brakes or electronic delay devices; doing it the way drag racing began.

2020 world footbrake challenge

Today’s schedule involved a Test & Tune session followed by the first of two scheduled WFC Gambler’s Races. This year co-promoters Jared Pennington and Steve Stites chose to increase the payout of the Gambler’s Races from $3,000 to $5,000 for the winner, and with it brought out a record number of entries for the whole event. While double entries are permitted at the three main WFC races this weekend, the Gambler’s Races are single entry, no buybacks, run shootout style, two go down and one comes back.

“We obviously won’t know the exact number of entries until Friday’s first round is over, but from the pre-entries and the trailers which have continually rolled in today, this should be a record crowd,” said Pennington. “Both myself and Steve might be the ones putting on the show, but it’s the racers who show up and make this all possible. Thank you all so much.”

Round seven with five cars left in competition, the survivors at that point were Corey Griffith, David Keyton, Dustin Bryant, Cam Murray and Darrell Holmes. Griffith used an 0.010 reaction time to dispatch Holmes. Murray had the RT advantage and held on for the win over Bryant, while Keyton took the odd car single to advance to the semifinals.

For the semis, Griffith’s 0.010 RT earned him the bye to the final, while Murray faced Keyton with Keyton turning on the red-light by -0.012 advancing Murray who would have been tough judging off his 0.002 RT.

corey griffith drag racer world footbrake challenge 2020

Final round and it was Ohio (Griffith) versus New Hampshire (Murray), Chevrolet (Griffith) against Dodge (Murray). Two WFC rookies making their first trip to the WFC and making it count. Unfortunately for Murray, who was 0.002 in the semifinals, he may have pushed it a little too far and turned the red-light on by only -0.007 to hand Corey Griffith what may be his first WFC check of the weekend.

 

BTE WORLD FOOTBRAKE CHALLENGE – FRIDAY RESULTS THE CURFEW WINS

Day 2 of the BTE World Footbrake Challenge, version 14, the first of three $10,000-to-win races for the footbrake crowd. No electronic aides, just good old fashioned drag racing. This year is the 14th edition of the famed event held at the famed Bristol Dragway Thunder Valley.

Today’s schedule called for a single time trial followed by eliminations in the main event. Also on tap was the second of two scheduled WFC Gambler’s Races with last nights first WFC Gambler’s Race won by Alliance, Ohio’s Cory Griffith. Despite years of racing, it was Griffith’s first WFC event and he made the best of it with the win. Along with the money, the win gave Griffith the rights to the bye run should there be one in the first round.

To mention the pits are packed is an understatement with many trying their hand on the very same track which on Labor Day weekend, will host the largest footbrake purse in the country, the BTE Labor Day $100K, $100,000 to the winner.

Four hours after eliminations began, the first round was over with a WFC record 547 entries making the call, completely smashing last year’s record 489. In addition to that record, it also became the largest single class of cars run in the history of Bristol Dragway.

With that many entries, it became apparent the Friday night Gambler’s Race would have to be postponed. The plan of attack at 10:15 pm was to complete Friday’s $10K race, run Saturday’s $10K and then run the WFC Gambler’s Race. On Saturday there will only be a time trial for new entries which should allow for a full day of racing. The best laid plans though…

Seven cars left in round seven; Charlie Lockhart, Chad Dotson, Dan Smith, Lexi Pollard, last night’s Gambler’s Race winner Corey Griffith, Matt Obertanec and Ben Jones.

charlie lockhart world footbrake challenge s10

Running up against the curfew, officials decided to complete round eight to leave four cars and call it a night, completing the race on Saturday morning. Pollard used a better reaction time against Jones to advance. Lockhart had a perfect 0.000 RT but Dotson had already turned on the red-light. Griffith took the best of Obertanec to continue his rookie quest at the WFC and Smith took the odd car bye run. Semifinals will have four left, Lockhart will take on Griffith while Pollard and Smith will do battle.

First up AM will be the WFC Salute to the Fourth of July followed by new entry time runs and then the completion of Friday’s race.

 

BTE WORLD FOOTBRAKE CHALLENGE – SATURDAY RESULTS

With a record number of entries at the 14th annual BTE World Footbrake Challenge yesterday, and only minor stoppages, Friday’s $10K-to-win was a literal all-day event. Beginning with the first round of eliminations at 12:30 in the afternoon after everyone received a time trial, it was 1:00 this morning when racing was halted with four cars remaining; Lexi Pollard, Charlie Lockhart, Dan Smith and Thursday’s WFC Gambler’s Race winner Corey Griffith.

world footbrake challenge july 4th

However, before racing can start, it was time to celebrate the independence of our great country with a celebration of all veterans and active duty personal. VFW Post 6975 Patton-Crosswhite was on hand to present arms and for a playing of Taps and the Star Spangled Banner. A moving tribute to remember why we are here.

Four cars left and maybe it was the late night and early morning racing which may have taken its toll as red-lights plagued both halves of the semifinals. Both Smith and Pollard turned on that dreaded red bulb to advance Lockhart and Griffith to the final round for $10,000-to-win.

corey griffith drag racer

Final round and only 0.002 separated the pair in RT but a breakout run by Lockhart moved Griffith to his second straight winner’s circle of the weekend, making the most of his very first trip to the WFC.

With that event in the books, Saturday’s $10K-to-win race began and the tally after the first round increased from yesterday to 550 entries, another new record.

Following round five of Saturday’s main event, the second WFC Gambler’s Race began, running in between the rounds of the main event.

Round seven and the combatants were Dan Caissie, Josh Pickett, Tim Griffith, Andrew Adkins, Brent Hyatt, Kevin Blevins and David P. Harvey III. Round eight, the quarterfinals and the bye run went to Griffith, while the survivors were Blevins, Hyatt and Adkins with all four going to the semis with $10,000 on the line for the winner.

Semifinals and it was Hyatt against Adkins with Hyatt turning on the red-light by -0.005 to advance Adkins. Next up was Griffith and Blevins, with a better RT by Blevins being all it took to earn the win light and a trip to the final round.

andrew adkins drag racer

Final round for $10K. Blevins held the RT advantage but ran out by -0.005 to hand the win to Adkins.

Still to be completed was the WFC Gambler’s Race. Starting with 192 racers for the first round of the Gambler’s Race, round five was completed before the curfew hour of 1:00 AM. With six left, the decision was made to complete the race first thing Sunday Morning.

 

BTE WORLD FOOTBRAKE CHALLENGE – FINAL DAY RESULTS 

Another long day yesterday which ended at 1:00AM this morning with six cars left in the second of two WFC Gambler’s Races, after crowning Andrew Adkins with the win in Saturday’s WFC main event. Interestingly enough, Adkins had driven his car all the way from Delphos, Ohio to race in one of the biggest footbrake events in the country. The Day Last schedule called for completing yesterday’s Gambler’s Race and then followed by the third of three $10K WFC main events.

Jordan Wilhelm, Cam Murray, Chris Plott, Lexi Pollard, Francis Reynolds and Kaleb Cordill had to wait out the night for their chance at a $5,000 payday awaiting the winner of the Gambler’s Race. When the smoke cleared in the final, it was Wilhem’s dead-on the dial with a “2” that sealed the deal and the win for him against Plott.

Day Last is always sort of anticlimactic regardless of the event. New entries come in, but many more decide they’ve had enough and leave. If a racer hasn’t done well up to that point, they’re more apt to call it a week and start the drive home. Even so, Day Last here still was above last year’s record with 495 entries making the first round call.

Round eight and there remained six left. Shawn Pitts, who had two cars left the previous round, losing one of them; Adam Davis; Matt Obertanec; Saturday’s winner Andrew Adkins; Austin Alvey; and Edmond Ellison.

Quarterfinals, Davis and Adkins faced off with identical RT but it was Davis closer to his dial for the win. Obertanec then turned on the red-light by -0.001 to advance Pitts. And finally Alvey used a 0.009 RT to turn back Ellison and give him the odd car bye run to the final in the semis.

Semifinals and a better RT by Pitts was all it took to dispatch Davis and set up the final; Shawn Pitts against Austin Alvey, Ohio versus Kentucky, with maybe some déjà vu in Pitts’s corner as every winner up to now has been from Ohio.

austin alvey world footbrake challenge

The Ohio luck may have run out as Pitts turned on the red-light to reward another WFC rookie in Austin Alvey the win.

And with that, the 14th edition of the BTE World Footbrake Challenge was complete. It took long days and nights but every race was completed.

“We had some really great weather and a record breaking amount of entries,” said co-promoter Jared Pennington. “With only a minor amount of hiccups, along with cooperation and understanding of each of the racers, we were able to complete the entire event, giving each attendee the races we said we would. On behalf of myself and my partner Steve Stites, we can’t thank enough everyone who attended. And our entire Coalburg Racing Promotions staff and the staff at Bristol Dragway, without any of them, none of it would have been possible.

“Our sights are now set on Labor Day weekend when we’ll be back here for the BTE Labor Day $100K,” Pennington added. “It’s there where one lucky footbrake driver will walk away with an unheard of $100,000, the most money ever paid to a footbrake driver.”

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