After months of anticipation, promotion, and adjustment due to COVID-19, Steve Sisko was crowned the JEGS-SFG $1.1 million winner Saturday at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Mich. He defeated Bill Swain in an electric final round just before midnight to collect the $1,100,000 check, making him the winner of the biggest payday in drag racing history and fulfilling the vision of SFG Promotions’ CEO, Kyle Riley.
“I know that I could do it… I’ve done it on other stages,” said Sisko in the winners circle. “The car was [subpar] all weekend so I just held… and took .00 every time. I think the rear broke [as I was coming back from the finish line].
“I’m 43 years old and I consider myself one of the old guys now, I barely race anymore… but I have a lot of friends out here and the hugs and messages from them is what meant the most. I was texting Big Murph throughout the day and I’m surprised you can’t hear him from New York right now. Obviously this is Anthony Bertozzi’s car…
Anthony is somebody I met in the 90s going to Florida with Jim Harrington. Jimmy the Shoe was my mentor. My father taught me to drive a car, but Jimmy taught me to win and not complicate stuff, and everybody misses him dearly. This is for Jimmy the Shoe… This is the biggest [expletive] race you can have, and I just won the biggest [expletive] race there is.”
Quarterfinals: In the quarterfinals of this historic event, six of the fiercest drivers in bracket racing remained: Hunter Patton, Sugar Shane Carr, Brian Cireddu, Jason Hemerline, Swain, and Sisko.
Sisko might’ve had his lucky break of the race in this round when Cireddu went -.010 red beside him while he left with a .029 light and put up a 6.328 on a 6.31 (albeit on a drop) for a very vulnerable .047 package.
The next pairing brought up Patton and Carr, with Patton coming out victorious after a .017 light and 4.605 run on his 4.60 dial. Carr was mathematically ineligible after posting a .023 light.
Swain and Hemerline moved onto the semis with their bye-runs in the dragster and door car categories respectively. These “categories” are kept separate for as long as possible at SFG events.
Semifinals: In the semifinals (final round of door cars), Sisko met up with Hemerline. Sisko was .018 on the tree and ran 6.301 on his 6.29 dial-in, beating Hemerline’s .019 light and 5.845 breakout run on a 5.86 dial-in.
On the dragster side of the ladder, Patton was ousted out of competition when Swain put up a breathtaking .005 total package, being .002 on the tree and running 4.653 on his 4.65 dial-in. “Hunny Wayne” Patton was excellent as usual with a .007 light and 4.605 run on a 4.60 dial-in to be .006 behind Swain.
Finals: In the final round of the richest drag race in history, Sisko put up a .012 total package starting with a .011 light and ending with a 6.281 run on his 6.28 dial-in.
Swain was .004 on the tree beside him and took a touch too much stripe (.013) to breakout with a 4.644 on a 4.65 dial-in.