Big dollar bracket races are big business in the U.S. with cash purses reaching one million dollars chased by professional sportsman racers. While we are not in the same league here, Ken Lowe has tried on the concept at Willowbank Raceway.
Unfortunately low competitor numbers kept the jackpot down to the $2000 mark for the winner - but it was still good odds for competitors. Hopefully the next one will be better supported and the concept grown, as from all reports, racers had a great time with some of the toughest races they had ever experienced.
Though the event was more a dash for cash at times with turnarounds under 15 minutes at some stages, and with all the allowed buy backs into competition,it equated to some eight rounds of racing before the finalists were decided.
The final two were Adam Solomon who defeated Peter Richards in the semi finals and Patrick Barron who held off Daniel List in the other semi.
Solomon had the jump on the green with a .021 reaction to Barron's .044 and held the gap at the stripe for a 8.783 on a 8.76 not giving Barron's 8.673 on a 8.65 a look in. It would seem Solomon had won before word came through officials had disqualified the Ford Probe driver for not removing the chute string in time before the burnout - a safety infraction.
"In the final we made the finish line first but were disqualified because I left the parachute string in after re-packing after the semi. It's not something we usually leave in, but in the rush I missed it and didn't do my usual checks before jumping in for the final. Unfortunately I can only blame myself," said Solomon.
Drag News video of the final round.
Ken Lowe summed up the event from his perspective.
"My dream of the Big Money Race was smaller than what we got, but it could not have been better," said Ken.
"We had a range of cars from mid sevens to low twelves, and all types, racing each other and everyone loved it because they got to race people that they never get to race. There were a heap of very close races that crossed all the groups. And true to form at one point we had the quickest car (mid 7’s) race the slowest car (low 12’s), and the margin was just 8 thousandths of a second - and both drivers commented what a great race it was.
"Originally we set the bottom cut off at 10.99 but opened it up to 12.99 to get some more racers - and we got one who entered at the gate on the day and did go five rounds. All the super streeters who stayed home because they were afraid sure missed out on a great race and heaps of fun. No one made it to the final rounds without at least one buy back and that certainly adds credibility to the concept.
"These were the best bunch of racers you could find and how unusual not a complaint from anyone. I know some things we could have done better, but on some of them our hands were tied up a bit. Rob Brown from South Pine Speed Shop and Michael Vaughn of American Direct Parts both jumped in and helped execute the race, and friend Russ Pavey and his wife Caroline were a big help as well at the time ticket booth.
"The total value of the race was just over $10,000 dollars thanks to the sponsors, who to a man have all said they would back us again for another event.
"You get a little day after buzz when one of these things are put to bed, you get to exhale and reflect on the event and the comments - and if we get racers support we will have another one. I was planning another one in the Spring for next year, but that may be too long to wait and are considering a second race in a few months. All the racers from the last event want to do it again and that is a start, but want to grow it."
Event gallery courtesy of Dragphotos.com.au