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Bracket Racers Weigh In on Winning Races Now Vs. Years in the Past

Bracket racing is a passion of many drag racers, and has been for decades now. Many racers drive thousands of miles across the country every year to compete in “big money” bracket racing events or commit themselves to a championship points series that their local track might host.

As in all drag racing, there are surely bragging rights at play, but it’s the seemingly ever-increasing payouts that have dramatically changed the landscape of bracket racing in recent years. Those high-dollar offerings have created an environment where many bracket racers build their schedules entirely around these events, which has created what many feel is the most competitive environment for these racers the sport has ever seen.

One of the most widely known entities, Spring/Fall Fling Bracket Races, which host bracket racing events across the country, posed the question, “Is it harder to win a big bucks race today than it was five, ten [or even] 20 years ago?” on social media and many big names in the realm of bracket racing answered.

Danny Gales commented and said, “I say it’s the same. Now, equipment is better and has made the racing tighter, but it was hard to win if your car moved around more. Plus, most racing was quarter-mile back then on some tracks, and now all has gone to eighth-mile.”

George Leblanc simply answered, “Yes absolutely.”

“Definitely, yes – hard to win most weekend bracket races. Equipment is so good anymore anyone can lay down a lap,” said Shane Garinger.

Luke Bogacki weighed in and said, “I’ll go against the grain here a little bit. From a sheer numbers standpoint, are the packages monumentally tighter than they were 10 or 20 years ago? I think we’d all agree, yes. I’d also argue that it is significantly easier to make better runs consistently than it was 10 or 20 years ago, for so many of the reasons outlined above. Technology in every aspect has advanced: fuel systems, tires, torque converters, engine efficiency, and our understanding of all of it. Plus, timing systems are better. Track prep is better. We’ve got things like LED bulbs, CrossTalk, AutoStart; all of which make it easier to make better runs than ever before. Of course, winning is tough, and even though the margins are slimmer than ever, I would argue that winning has always been tough.”

Blake Fuqua shared, “I think that answer is undeniably yes. Equipment today is eons better than it was 5, 10, especially 20 years ago, and in addition to that, there are so many more tools to help people practice and understand the game more (for example: better practice trees, Luke’s website, etc.).

“Indeed it is; engine and transmission improvements, tire technology, chassis, and electronics all improved to help the drivers,” said Don Higgins. “But good drivers find a way to shine, regardless of whether they have the best equipment. It’s still a driver sport.”

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This story was originally published on August 22, 2023. Drag Illustrated


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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.