The final Fling of the year had racers pouring through the gates at Bristol Dragway for the RAD Torque Systems Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries. The Advanced Product Design $15,000 Warm-Up race saw 496 entries stage up for the first round serving as a record-high Wednesday car count for any Fling event at Thunder Valley in years past.
All racers on property were given one time run session which ran into the early afternoon with the unprecedented amount of entries. With an efficient format in which drivers are assigned a Fling competition number and run in four designated groups — and a great crowd of cooperative racers — eliminations moved smoothly into the evening as the track lights illuminated the dragstrip.
The eight drivers returning for the ladder round included Bart Nelson, Mitchell McKinney, JR Lockhart, Blaine Mayer, Nick Hastings, Bo Sanders, Dustin Smiley, and Cameron Manuel.
Smiley used a substantial advantage on the hit to take the win over McKinney, while Lockhart advanced past the .008 breakout of Sanders with just a three thousandths separation on the tree. While Hastings was .004 to the .026 of Mayer, he bowed out of competition by way of a .010 breakout. Manuel let go .001 to the .007 of Nelson and ran it down to be dead-on seven for the win.
In the semifinals, Mayer advanced past the .002 redlight of Manuel, while Lockhart let go .000 and ran it down to be dead-on six for a .006 package to eliminate the ‘95 Grand Am of Smiley, creating an all-dragster final round.
Both Mayer and Lockhart were first-time Fling finalists, and it was Mayer who laid down .013 total for the Advanced Product Design $15,000 Wednesday victory, hoisting the first Fling big check and hardware of the weekend.
ATI Performance Products $30,000 Thursday will follow new entry time runs scheduled for 8 a.m. During eliminations, drivers with the best losing package of rounds one through seven will receive either $500 from Strange Engineering, Biondo Racing Products, FTI Performance, or Stainless Works; or a certificate for rear slicks from Mickey Thompson, Hoosier Racing Tire, or Goodyear.
Everything will be streamed live as it happens on the MotorManiaTV YouTube channel free to the viewer courtesy of JEGS Performance and Mickey Thompson with new exclusive content produced by the Fling Team.