Marathon bracket race has big payoff

The SFG 500, a five-day bracket blitz at Michigan’s US 131 Motorsports Park, began with a $20,000-to-win Wednesday, June 26, preliminary for early arrivals and concluded with a $25,000-to-win finale on Sunday. After $50,000-to-win races on Thursday and Friday, the racers competed Saturday for a $525,000 top prize. A total purse exceeding $750,000 made it one of the highest paying events in the history of the sport. It was attended by numerous NHRA professionals along with most of the top sportsman drag racers.


Gage Burch, 19, driving a Ford Ranger pickup defeated Johnny “Bracket Racer” Ezell in a dragster in the final round for the big win on Saturday. Burch was also runner up in the Thursday race which was won by Chris Bear.


Wednesday $20K winner: Kyle Cultrera def. Ray Holmes (red light)

Friday $50K (moved to Sunday): “Nasty Nick” Hastings def. Doug Foley Jr.

Six-time NHRA world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. took on a massive field of over 600 bracket racers in Saturday's $525,000-to-win main event and came away as a final-four finisher in his JEGS.com Chevy II wagon.


"With so many cars entered, just the first round each day would take six hours or so. With buy-backs the second rounds weren't much shorter, and you go from there. It made for very long days and very short nights every day of the event,” Coughlin said. “I know I started the $525K race at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and made my last pass in the semifinals around 4:30 a.m., Sunday morning."


Although the actual division of the massive pot will forever be known only to the participants themselves, there was plenty of negotiating going on when the field was whittled down to the eighth-finals.


"We all got together after the sixth round and started figuring out how we wanted to start splitting the pot to give each of the final group of drivers some sort of reward," Coughlin explained. "It's very common to do that in these types of events, although this was one of the bigger splits I've ever been a part of. I think everyone left town happy.” 

Nicholson to show RED colors at Firecracker Bracket Nationals

DRO’s Bracket Racing Editor, Jok Nicholson will take his Project 4-Link dragster “RED” to Byron (IL) Dragway for this weekend’s Firecracker Bracket Nationals. The money isn’t quite what the SFG 500 was, but it’s still pretty impressive: $30K to win Friday and Sunday and $100K to win on Saturday.


See his take on “splits” and how the SFG 500 purse may affect other tracks’ events at here.

Pedregon adds some ‘Go’ to his team

Origin Labs has come aboard as a sponsor of Cruz Pedregon Racing for the remainder of the season. Pedregon will showcase Origin Labs newest product, the Jocko Discipline GO brand energy drink.


“Most people would call Origin Labs a nutritional company, but we are actually a performance-driven technology company. Our delivery platform just happens to be nutrition,” said Brian Littlefield, Origin USA CEO. “We are engineers, designers and, most importantly, free thinkers and just like in racing we strive to be on the forefront to reach our next goal.” 

September date set for completion of Norwalk Nationals

The NHRA has rescheduled the portion of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals that were postponed due to high water levels last month at the Norwalk, OH, track. The remaining part of the event will take place Sept. 5-6.


Classes at the event are Stock, Super Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Dragster and Top Sportsman. 

Summer vacation: Ford’s automotive tech program resumes in fall

Students who attend are invited to see some of the world’s hardest-working technicians up close in the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing hospitality area, while Bob Tasca’s crew members completely rebuild the massive 11,000 horsepower engine in just a little over an hour after every run down the 1,000-foot track. 


More than 25,000 students from 725 schools around the country got the chance to get a head start on their careers as Ford/Lincoln technicians at NHRA’s Youth & Education Services (YES) programs co-sponsored by Ford Customer Service Division and its Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands during the 2018-19 school year.


Ford estimates 45,000 technicians will be needed each year through 2026. After testing out the opportunity in the 2018 racing season by hosting six events, FCSD decided to make it a major focus this season, bumping that commitment to 16 events in 2019. Students who attend have a full morning of activity, hearing a special message from Motorcraft/Quick Lane Funny Car driver and third generation Ford dealer Bob Tasca III and getting the chance to meet with local Ford dealerships to discuss employment opportunities.


The YES program at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL, marked the final event of the current school year. The program takes a break while students are on summer vacation before picking back up at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.


Information on the comprehensive programs Ford offers can be found at www.NewFordTech.com.   



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