Dead on 

Why did I sit and watch bracket racing for 10 hours?

First of all, yes, I lost first round and chose not to buyback. I did get to help my son and he drove great with RED but was on the wrong side of a couple .002 and .007 races.


Second, the races paid $30,000 to win Friday, $100,000 to win Saturday and $50,000 to win Sunday.


Third, the races were incredibly close and FUN to WATCH.


The race was the Firecracker Nationals at Byron Dragway in Byron, IL. Ron Leek first introduced Big Bucks bracket racing to local racers about 40 years ago and they have been doing it ever since.


I was talking to my long-time friend and head-honcho here at DRO, Jeff Burk, about the race and why I found it so intriguing to watch. I know he likes the pedal on the metal through the finish line and so do millions of other drag race fans. Myself, I like to do the “math” involved in bracket racing. I find the “skill set” of the top-level bracket racers extremely interesting to watch. From the start line reaction time and concentration on repeating every little move through the finish line driving skills, I literally can sit and watch it for a long time.


I have bracket raced a lot and in a lot of places and while I win some events from time to time I am a realist in knowing I do not have the premium equipment it now takes to repeat runs within thousandths of second nor do I possess the driving skills at the finish line these top racers display. It takes thousands of runs to work on those skills and some people never “really see the .005 at the stripe”. It also takes deep pockets and a lot of desire to make the hundreds of runs to get the cars that good and a bunch of entry fee money to enter all the events these guys enter in a year.


I have nothing but respect for a racer who runs the No-Box side and at the end of the night takes home the money against a delay box car. MAD SKILLS and CONCENTRATION!


To watch these guys run up on someone at the stripe, rip the throttle four or five times and get ahead by .004 is sweetness to my eyes to watch it. On the other side of that is they can “see” that they aren’t going to take the stripe so they “let the other racer go” and basically hope he breaks out. Either way, they have partial control of the actual race. When I can watch 60-80 pairs of cars race each other with these equal skills, that is “Racing Entertainment” to me. Money didn’t win it, fastest car didn’t win it, it was a “team effort” between the driver and the race car.


The only thing that drives me NUTS is the delay between the rounds of eliminations. The track sits idle 15-20 minutes at a time and that is EXACTLY why spectators will never come watch a big-dollar bracket race. When the remaining racers get to “the split” the entire event screeches to a halt. I have an idea to maybe speed that up a bit, see what you think.


Look, we all know if a race pays $100,000 to win, $10,000 to runner-up and $5,000 to semis the racers will be talking to see if they can agree on splitting the payout up to make it a little more equitable. At this weekend’s $100,000 to win race I think the meeting got serious at about eight cars. This race saw the winner pocket $34,000, runner-up $30,000, semis $15000 each and quarters got $7500 each.


I think the tracks should post the purse they are guaranteeing and that is the attraction to the racers and the race fan. I believe they should then offer three or four “Split Payout Options”. The final 16, 8 or 4 can quickly vote on what option they want. If one racer decides, NO SPLIT, then there is no split by the track. What racers do among themselves is their business, but the track should not spend the time, slow the event down to a snail’s pace, and watch spectators load up their lawn-chairs and leave before the richest payout in track history is completed. I would guess it took over an hour to run the last three rounds of eight cars this weekend and it robbed one of the best bracket races I have watched of a great finish from the admission-paying spectator’s point of view.


It would be like watching a great circle track race with racers battling it out and then with three laps to go they all pull over for about 30 minutes to talk about the payout. WHAT HAPPENED? The grandstands would empty out and they aren’t coming back. That is exactly what has happened to big-bucks bracket racing. Due to that, the entire race is funded by the racers’ entry fees instead of money collected from spectators. Maybe it’s too late to get the spectators back, but after watching the Firecracker Nationals I think they will come for a great show like that -- just FINISH IT with the same excitement.


I got to talk to a lot of old racing friends (I mean OLD) that are still either driving or own terrific drag cars. It was an uplifting weekend for me and I appreciate all the racers, the track management, and especially Mother Nature for a fantastic weekend. See you all at the races soon, good luck and be safe out there!  


official DRO sponsors

 © 1999-2018 - Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source LLC - 607 Seib Drive, O'Fallon, MO 63366 Phone: 636.272.6301 - Privacy Policy


fficial ponsors