ATI Performance Products $30,000 Thursday at the RAD Torque Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries at Bristol Dragway shattered the record for the highest entry count of any Fling event over the course of 13 years with 640 staging up for the first round.
An hour and a half rain delay did not interfere with the momentum of the program or the spirits of the racers as the track was dried and prepared to continue eliminations. Four run groups designated by Fling competition numbers allowed racers to know when they could expect to make their next run with the magnitude of cars on property.
The group of six drivers left standing for round eight was made up of Kevin Brannon, Robert Holton, Coty Whitt, Josh Luedke, Cory Gulitti, and Chase McKay. Brannon let go perfect to the .003 of McKay and had the lesser of the two breakouts to earn the bye in the semifinals. Whitt was .004 on the red side which allowed Luedke to advance, while Gulitti had a .013 advantage off the line with a .005 reaction to move past Holton.
In the semifinals matchup to see who would meet Brannon in the final, Gulitti was .006 and dead-on nine getting one thousandth behind at the stripe for the loss against the .014 package of Luedke.
The classic door car versus dragster final would be a faceoff between two multi-time past Fling event winners -- Brannon who most recently picked up the 2022 Spring Fling Million main event victory, and Luedke with a 2022 Summer Fling 15K Wednesday win just several weeks prior. Despite Brannon's advantage off the starting line, it was Luedke who ran it down to be dead-on two for the ATI Performance Products $30,000 Thursday win after navigating through 10 rounds of competition.
Moser Engineering $100,000 Main Event Friday will begin with the Fall Fling Reaction Time Challenge at 8:00 a.m. followed by a time trial for all new arrivals. In the afternoon, the Fling Team will hold a treasure hunt for the kids before the Mullis Racer Appreciation Party at 7 p.m. where racers and their families can enjoy free barbeque and look on as one lucky driver parks in the winners circle as the $100,000 main event champion.
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.