The K&N Spring Fling Mil­lion has Vegas Jackpot Bells Ring­ing Again

Drag Racer - - Contents - Text by Pete Ward Pho­tos by John DiBar­tolomeo

ONCE UPON A TIME, BIG MONEY SPORTS­MAN RACES WERE THE PURVIEW OF EAST COAST­ERS. This dy­namic was ir­re­vo­ca­bly al­tered five years ago when Kyle Seiple and Peter Biondo rolled into Vegas with their gonzo K&N Spring Fling event. Last year, the ante was upped to the Spring Fling Mil­lion.

The dy­namic duo and crew once again pulled off a flaw­less mega-car-count event. The only hic­cup was none of their do­ing. For three weeks run­ning, de­mon winds swirling off the desert wreaked havoc with events at The Strip. The fi­nal rounds of Thurs­day’s ac­tion were blown into Fri­day’s pro­gram.

Be­fore we leap into race ac­tion, here’s a brief ex­pla­na­tion on how the Fling plays out. It’s ba­si­cally a Su­per-Pro-only event, but in or­der to in­clude bot­tom bulb Pro-class cars that have par­tic­i­pated in that class since the first Vegas Fling, the event in­cludes an elite Pro 32 field, which in­cludes 32 bot­tom bulb cars. The Pros run sep­a­rate from the Su­per Pro rac­ers un­til a win­ner is crowned. The Pro win­ner is then seeded into the sixth round of the Su­per Pro race and is per­mit­ted to in­stall a de­lay box.

The dol­lar signs be­gan ring­ing up on Wed­nes­day with the run­ning of the May­tag Sil­ver­state Re­frig­er­a­tion $20,000-to-win race.

Su­per Stock­ers, for­mer NHRA World Champ, Justin Lamb, and RJ Torres, were the last men stand­ing in Pro 32. In the fi­nal, Lamb’s .014 re­ac­tion time and a dead on the dial with a 3 for a .017 pack­age elim­i­nated Torres, pro­pel­ling him into the sev­enth round of Su­per Pro. There he met the re­main­ing Su­per Pro play­ers, Ken Sweo, Sean Shaf­fer, Blu Hay­ball, Mera Sil­via, Jay Fitzger­ald, Dan Laf­ferty, Lane Dicken and Court­land Carter.

With nine cars re­main­ing, based on his per­fect re­ac­tion time in the pre­vi­ous round, Laf­ferty re­ceived the bye run to move into the eighth round. The re­main­ing play­ers were Laf­ferty and Sil­via with their door cars, Shaf­fer,

Hay­ball and Pro 32 win­ner Lamb.

Down to five, the dragsters were out­num­bered three to two. Hay­ball re­ceived the bye.

Lamb ousted Sil­via, and then

Laf­ferty de­feated Shaf­fer. Of the three re­main­ing, Hay­ball was the lone drag­ster. Then things got a bit con­vo­luted.

The rules stip­u­late that if you’ve had a bye run pre­vi­ously, you’re not el­i­gi­ble for an­other.

Since the three re­main­ing driv­ers al­ready had a bye run, the rights to the bye re­verted to the best re­ac­tion time and that per­son was Hay­ball, who had just re­ceived a bye the round be­fore. Hey, when it’s your day …

For the semi­fi­nals, Hay­ball made his sin­gle, and the two re­main­ing door cars of Lamb and Laf­ferty faced off. Laf­ferty was .008 and dead on with 5, while Lamb shut him out with a .005 light and dead on with a 1. Ouch!

In the fi­nal, Lamb left first with a .004 re­ac­tion time to Hay­ball’s .031, but a .008 runout by Lamb handed the win to Hay­ball’s dead on the dial with a 5. Hay­ball took the Fling’s first big pay­out back home to Fort

Hall, Idaho.

Thurs­day was Ra­cepak’s op­por­tu­nity to en­rich the sports­man rac­ing com­mu­nity to the tune of twenty large. Af­ter more than 10 hours of gru­el­ing com­pe­ti­tion, Pro 32 win­ner Wes­ley Eisenga was plugged into Round 7 of Su­per Pro, which in­cluded Jessica Bo­gacki, Johnny Ezell, Rayce Kidd, Glenn Dil­day, Troy Wil­liams, Don Bain, Gordon Boven and Sean Shaf­fer (wheel­ing two en­tries). Shortly there­after the winds came, cur­tail­ing the day’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

The con­tin­u­a­tion of the Ra­cepak elim­i­na­tions be­gan mid­way through Fri­day’s fes­tiv­i­ties with Rayce Kidd re­ceiv­ing the bye run. Gordon Boven and Troy Wil­liams faced off with Boven us­ing a .004 pack­age to move on. Boven also earned the bye in the semis, pro­pel­ling him into the fi­nal. Then, Sean Shaf­fer dis­patched Johnny Ezell.

The semi­fi­nals saw Kidd march to the money round by de­feat­ing Shaf­fer. The long over­due fi­nals pit­ted Kidd against Boven, where the dou­ble break­out con­test handed the twenty grand to Kidd.

How many drag rac­ers, sports­man or pro, can look for­ward to a one race $230,000 pay­day? Very few, but that’s what the K&N Spring Fling pre­sented by Op­tima Bat­ter­ies was of­fer­ing at the cul­mi­na­tion of Fri­day’s event.

The Pro 32 fi­nals thrust Justin Lamb back into the big pic­ture. In a dou­ble red­light con­test, his op­po­nent, Randy Bid­dle, pre­vailed, pro­vid­ing him en­try into the Su­per Pro quar­ter­fi­nals. In ad­di­tion to Bid­dle, the re­main­ing com­peti­tors were Val Torres Jr., Bobby Dye Jr., Lane Dicken, Luke Bo­gacki and Michael Pen­ning­ton.

For the quar­ter­fi­nal round, six cars re­mained: Val Torres Jr., Bobby Dye Jr., Lane Dicken, Luke Bo­gacki and Michael Pen­ning­ton. Bid­dle was seeded into the field.

The semi­fi­nals wit­nessed Bid­dle, Pen­ning­ton and Bo­gacki ad­vance. Bo­gacki cruised in the fi­nals, where he’d face ei­ther of the re­main­ing foes. Bid­dle fell to Pen­ning­ton, set­ting up the fi­nal go.

With nearly a quar­ter of a mil­lion dol­lars on the line, Pen­ning­ton left first with a .012 re­ac­tion time, how­ever, Bo­gacki was hot on him with a .014. Both rac­ers ran dead on their dial, with Bo­gacki .003 closer for the win. Bo­gacki has had a stel­lar rac­ing ca­reer, fea­tur­ing mul­ti­ple NHRA World Cham­pi­onships and nu­mer­ous big money race wins, but this vic­tory must have tasted es­pe­cially sweet.

The Fling drew to a close on Satur­day, which wit­nessed yet an­other $20,000 pay­day, courtesy of FTI Per­for­mance.

Fol­low­ing seven rounds of com­pe­ti­tion, the sur­vivors were Pro 32 Champ Brian Cireddu, Greg Duffield,

Marko Perivolaris and Sean Shaf­fer, with Alan Hoe­fer earn­ing the bye run due to his .002 re­ac­tion time in the pre­vi­ous round. With the bye based on the best re­ac­tion time, it ap­peared that when Cireddu de­feated Duffield with a .002, he should have the bye, but he had al­ready had one. How­ever, when Perivolaris de­feated Shaf­fer and Hoe­fer on a bye, each of the three driv­ers left had al­ready re­ceived a sin­gle.

The bye then re­verted back to the best re­ac­tion time, which war­ranted Cireddu a place in the fi­nals. Whew!

The other fi­nal round con­tes­tant was de­ter­mined when Perivolaris used a .013 re­ac­tion to de­feat Hoe­fer. In the door car vs. drag­ster shootout, Cireddu, with a hand­i­cap ad­van­tage, bolted first, but Perivolaris par­layed his re­ac­tion time ad­van­tage to score the big win.

Seipel, Biondo and crew con­tinue to of­fer a tu­to­rial on how to run a multi-day big money drag race. All in­volved are lick­ing their chops, await­ing the Spring Fling’s re­turn to The Strip next year.

Luke Bo­gacki scored big! Rac­ing away with the Spring Fling’s nearly quar­ter-mil­lion dol­lar Fri­day pay­day.

Blu Hay­ball scored the Fling’s first big pay­out, Wed­nes­day’s May­tag Sil­ver­state Re­frig­er­a­tion $20,000, by de­feat­ing for­mer S/S NHRA World Champ Justin Lamb.

Ra­cepak’s $20,000 pay­out (de­layed from Thurs­day to Fri­day due to high winds) was snatched up by Rayce Kidd in a dou­ble break­out affair over Gor­don Boven.

Marko Perivolaris banked Sat­ur­day’s 20G pay­day pro­vided by FTI Per­for­mance by de­feat­ing the door car of Brian Cireddu.

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