BIG MONEY MADNESS
The K&N Spring Fling Million has Vegas Jackpot Bells Ringing Again
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
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.