THE FLING

Back from the Sparco Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries. No, I didn’t race as I covered the event. My son drove one of our dragsters but seemingly was always parking in the wrong spot in the staging lanes. You know the routine. You can see all the results online at www.dragracingedge.com. But I can tell you it was quite a race.

Sitting on the outside looking in, I don’t think I’ve seen packages laid down that tight before. This was some tough racing. I like eighth-mile racing because you get right down to business. Leave the line and you’re driving the finish line immediately, looking to make a split-second decision as quickly as you can. The problem is becoming that in eighth-mile racing, you might as well dial to the thousandths-of-a-second.

Friday night’s King of the Fling race had anyone who ever won a Fling event invited to race for a special King of the Flings customized golf cart. Free entry. Semifinals, Jeremy York is perfect 0.000 reaction time and dead-on the dial with a “2”. No good. Opponent Tommy Cable is also 0.000 perfect and dead-on the dial with a “2” also. Dead heat? No Cable wins by 0.0004. Cable then goes 0.000 perfect again in the final only to hand the finish line to Kevin Thorp who was no slouch on the “Tree also. One driver mentioned to me on Friday night that his worst Reaction Time all week was 0.006 and he had only turned on one win light so far! Just some really tough racing.

One of the unique features of this event that was different from other high-dollar bracket races was no double entries. Typically, drivers will double enter either with a second car or at some events allowed to enter the same car twice. Not here. In a move to help limit the amount of cars entered in order to allow the races to finish at a reasonable time… if you think that racing from 8:30 in the morning to midnight is reasonable… co-promoters Pete Biondo and Kyle Seipel had to limit the event to single car entry only. No double entries. Two go down and one comes back.

Naturally there were buybacks allowed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday – no buybacks on Wednesday due to each getting a time trial and then eliminations. Adding a buyback round would have had us racing until 3:00 in the morning. But once second round came along, it was two go down and only one comes back. No double entries took one bullet out of the chamber for those who are fortunate enough to have two cars to race.

If you were to remember back in March when the pre-entry system opened up for this race, it was sold-out in about three minutes. So obviously everybody wants to race at a Fling event. It appears to me that these races are now the cream of the crop, head and shoulders above all other high-dollar events. Yes, there are races which pay more money, but they don’t have the…whatever… that a Fling win brings.

People race the NHRA races because of the exposure. In much the same fashion racers will run NHRA events because they feel as if they’re the cream of the crop, I think racers are saving up to attend Fling races for the same reason. All you have to say is the “Fling,” and everyone knows what race you’re talking about. Maybe the same as if we say “Indy?”

Your thoughts? -JOHN DIBARTOLOMEO