With one day in the books at the K&N Spring Fling Million Wednesday got underway early in the morning with a single time trial run afforded to all entrants. When you have well over 400 entries, that one shot can take quite a while.
The guaranteed purse awarded one winning individual $30,000, in addition to a healthy amount of round money along with over $60,000 in prizes and awards randomly handed out all day. It was the first of two more auxiliary races with the main event, the Million contested on Friday where the actual win money is closely attached to the car count. Regardless of the number of cars though, the win money is guaranteed to be at least a hefty $200,000, with all the rest of the round money starting with a 3rd round win earning $1,000. “Should over 400 cars enter the Million, the guaranteed win money jumps to $500,000 and only grows from there,” said co-promoter Peter Biondo.
Typically in the past, high-dollar bracket races were laden with the long cars; more specifically dragsters. In standard Spring Fling innovation, co-promoters Pete Biondo and Kyle Seipel instituted separating door cars from dragsters until later rounds at the very first Spring Fling race in Bristol, TN. The result has almost single-handily brought quite a few door cars to the party and started a trend which has spread to most every other bracket race in the country. With over 439 race cars making the first round of eliminations, roughly 40- to 50-percent of them are door cars.
Buybacks are as big a part of bracket racing as anything else. Lose in the first round and it allows you the opportunity to “buyback” your way into the program. The problem with them is that they usually will add time and another round to the event. Because of the size of the field today along with some breakage along the way, officials made the decision to suspend buybacks for the day. As it was, the first round of eliminations wasn’t completed until 5:30.
It wasn’t until 10:00pm when the Wednesday field was reduced to round six, the ladder round of 15 cars, seven of which were door cars. The remaining racers were Andy Schmall, Brian Vader, John De Jonge, Peeps Pennington, Troy Williams, Dom Meziere, Bradley Johnson, Monte Rice, Jack Sadler, John Labbous, Marko Perivolaris, Dennis Lithgold, Buddy Ferrell, Nathan Martin and George Lewis.
The remaining racers after round six were Schmall, Pennington, Meziere, Johnson, Sadler, Perivolaris, Ferrell and Lewis. With eight cars left for round seven, the split was even between door cars and dragsters. In that round, Sadler turned on the red-light to advance Johnson, Meziere took the win light against Lewis, Pennington ran out to move Ferrell ahead, and Perivolaris used a better reaction time to advance over Schmall. Three dragsters stacked against the one door car of Meziere for the semifinals.
In the first half of the semis, Johnson; who was the big winner two weeks earlier at the Four-Wide NHRA Nationals; turned it red against former ‘Fling winner Perivolaris, while on the other side, Meziere; an NHRA national event winner himself; and his fast door car used a better reaction to take the best of Ferrell. And so, the final was door car vs. dragster; two California drivers who know where the winner’s circle is.
With Perivolaris receiving the head start, both drivers had good reaction times, but it was the Perivolaris who in his first three rounds of eliminations today had a .000, .000, and a .001 reaction times to start his day. Perivolaris won the last day at the 2017 version of the Spring Fling Million and with this the first day of the event, he has stretched his wins at the ‘Fling to 19 straight wins.
“I have to thank my family, my sister and mom and dad for all the support they give me,: said Perivolaris. “It’s an honor to race with them.”
Racepak Thursday will find competitors going straight into eliminations with no time trials, for just another $30,000-to-win day. It will also highlight the Racepak Bounty Reward for the person who beats Wednesday’s winner.
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