After a late night at the largest payout in Fling brand history; or actually early Saturday morning as the final round was run a little after midnight; there remained one more day, JEGS Saturday at the Sparco Fall Fling 500K presented by Optima Batteries.
While the ATI Friday’s main event winner Hunter Patton might still be celebrating what is little doubt his biggest payout, $500,000, the balance of the field set their sights on win lights in search of the $30,000-to-win prize.
First up this morning was the Fall Fling Reaction Time Challenge where 25 randomly selected drivers were given one hit at the ‘Tree where a 0.00X RT earned that person a $100 bill. A perfect RT earns $1,000 and the chance to do it one more time for $10,000. Unfortunately, no one recorded that perfect shot but Chris Borges, Jared Pennington, Jerry Brewer, Lannan Barrilleau, Mike Daugherty, Thomas Bell, Chris Weaver, Shelby Miles, Megan Lotts, Blaine Mayer and John Parks all receiving $100 for their 0.00X RT efforts.
And before eliminations began, was the Fling Family Photo, a gathering of some of the racers, crews and families who make up such a great event. It’s tradition which dates back to the very first Spring Fling in 2010, and one which has become such an important ritual of each Fling brand event.
The racing? Round six survivors were Jeremy Jensen, Brian Martel, Travis Colangelo, Amy Crosby, Ken Batchelor, Brad Gebhardt, Matt Schapiro, David Dean and Jeremy Hancock. With nine cars left for round seven and each inserted on a ladder, a perfect Reaction Time in round six by Jensen earned him the bye run into round eight with five cars left.
As for round seven; the two door cars of Martel and Colangelo battled with Martel getting the nod. Hancock over Gebhardt; Schapiro over Crosby, Batchelor over Dean and finally Jensen and his door car took the bye run.
Quarterfinals with five left, Batchelor turned it red by -0.015 to advance Martel. Schapiro was 0.009 to Jensen’s almost equal 0.010, with the double run-out advancing Schapiro who was the least offender. Finally, Hancock took his bye run and faced Schapiro in the semifinals with Martel receiving the bye into the final due to his 0.005 RT in the quarters.
In the semifinals, Schapiro missed the ‘Tree with a 0.047 RT while Hancock stayed sharp with a 0.008 for the win to move to his first Fling final round. Martel simply took the ‘Tree to also move into his first Fling final round as well, where it was Commerce, Georgia (Hancock) versus Fredericksburg, Virginia (Martel).
And after thousands of runs down the Bristol Dragway track since Tuesday, it came down to one more set to close out a remarkable week. Martel, who has been telepathic all week, and prior to the final was named as the Todd’s Extreme Paint MVP, turned on the red-light to hand the trophy and $30,000 to Hancock. But in addition to his MVP award, Martel receives a custom-painted Todd’s Extreme Paint-ed helmet and $1,000.
“It’s been an amazing week,” said co-promoter Kyle Seipel, “and it’s all due to each one of the racers who chose to put their confidence in us that we would provide them with a great experience. I hope we succeeded in that effort and we’d like to give our sincere thank you to all who took part this week. We can’t wait to do it all again next year.”
The 2020 Fling schedule was released earlier in the week with first up the K&N Spring Fling Million in Las Vegas, April 14-18. Next up on the east coast is the K&N Spring Fling at GALOT Motorsports Park, April 28-May 2 with pre-entries opening on February 5th. And finally the 2020 Sparco Fall Fling back in Bristol for the 11th year, September 29-October 3, with pre-entries opening June 24th. Both the GALOT and Bristol races will have a Wednesday Warm-up race worth $15,000-to-win, followed by a $25,000 on Thursday and Saturday with the main event Friday paying $100,000, all of the monies guaranteed. The Vegas Million will host the Triple $30Ks with the main event on Friday carrying a guaranteed $250,000-to-win with a graduated payout according to the entry count. For more info and results, continue to visit www.bracketraces.com.
BRIAN MARTEL _ TODD'S EXTREME PAINT MVP