When Full Throttle Motor Speedway announced their details surrounding the Sprint into Spring 200, it caught my attention.
The Prize – A Turnkey Sprint Car — Most enduros, the winner’s prize is a couple thousand dollars and a trophy. Now we’re talking about a trophy worth $35,000?
The Rules – Run what you brung – Immediately, my creative juices began flowing. What would drivers enter for this event with the options being endless? How many would enter old street stocks, mini stocks and whatever else?
The Catch – Leave you car there when the race is over.
Of all the things that were mentioned, it was this single detail that caused me to freeze. How many drivers would be able to accept that fact?
It’s probably the best cost saving measure and keeping the event at a fun level because you won’t have guys pouring thousands into these cars – but rather something in the range of $300 to $800, perhaps a little more or a little less. Everything about a fun time for a decent amount of money spent fit the bill. Certainly creativity would be the name of the game, and it certainly was because it got everybody’s curiosity.
It also works out good for the track, because as we’ve seen in the days that followed, several of the cars that ran well are now up for sale for drivers to race as part of the mini stock division, and at a decent price. It’s a good way to draw people into racing that perhaps can’t go out there and spend a boat load of money on a racecar that someone else may be asking.
Going into the event, I was self-predicting about 25 to 30 cars. Based on the fact that you wouldn’t get your car back and there’s still snow on the ground, it seemed like a reasonable amount of people that could make for an exciting show.
Following the event, though, I can officially say that it exceeded my expectations. A total of 40 cars showed up and made for an entertaining afternoon.
The fans in the stands were entertained throughout the full 200 lap event – a pair of 90 lap qualifiers, followed by a 20 lap shootout for the top 20 cars. Between watching cars slide it sideways through the corners and try to maintain control on the slick surface to the passing that happened at every end of the track each lap, it had everything that equals excitement.
Also, as Bobby Tolton mentioned in victory lane, everybody ran clean….well, okay, for the most part. There was some contact here and there, but the majority of the drivers gave each other room and showed respect as they raced around the quarter-mile oval three and four-wide at times. There may have been a couple little bits of people turning each other, but you can’t expect all 40 drivers to play nicely.
Bennett’s staff also handled it well as they were available to ask questions and were good at keeping track of the running order and how they were to restart – with help from the scorers for each team, obviously.
They also were quick at throwing the red flag when needed if a car was parked in the racing groove, or on fire. There have been some comments made in the days that followed about the fire incident. However, it should be known that as soon as the car stopped and the red flag was displayed, there were staff heading to the car to help the driver. That is what is to be expected.
Oh, and the creativity that I spoke about earlier was in full play. One team entered a street stock, while there were some Acura’s in the field, against a couple vans and even a PT Cruiser. There was also creativity in appearance, whether doing a graffiti-like scheme, or a proper racecar scheme.
Looking back at the day and the smile that seemed plastered on my face all day, the event was pretty successful. This is a sentiment that was shared by others as many competitors, teams and fans have taken to Facebook or twitter to express their happiness in the event. The fans were saying that they were entertained, while some teams said next year they’ll probably enter a couple of cars versus a single entry.
From the speedway, here is a highlight video that was put together by their video staff.