PATTON CONCLUDES MILLION DOLLAR WEEK AS THE SATURDAY $50,000 WINNER
The grand finale of the 28th Annual Mickey Thompson Million Dollar Drag Race took place on Saturday, bringing four days of thrilling competition to a close. Amidst a massive turnout of cars, Hunter Patton emerged as the big winner, securing the $50,000 payday.
As the sun rose, racers gathered for the weekend’s final Summit $50K race. A total of 626 door cars and dragsters participated in the event, leaving no room for buybacks or second chances without a buyback option.
The fifth round showcased an intriguing battle between Nick Hastings and John Ratulowski, the last remaining competitors in the bottom bulb class. Ratulowski put together an impressive .019 total package. However, it was Hastings who emerged victorious with a stellar .004 reaction time and a perfect run. This win allowed Hastings to pocket an additional $1,000 No Box bonus, cementing his dominance in the event.
With the field narrowed down to just six drivers: Turtle Dickerson, Cody Wiggins, Jesse Fritts, Brian Canady, Steve Collier, and Hunter Patton. Fritts secured a victory over Dickerson, who fouled. Wiggins, with a perfect reaction time and an overall score of .005, advanced to the semifinals by defeating Collier. Patton demonstrated his prowess, sealing a win over Canady with a one-above dial-in.
Heading into the 10th round, the final showdown of the event pitted Patton against Jesse Fritts. Fritts faced an unexpected setback as he traded his own Camaro roadster for Joey Moore’s Camaro due to mechanical issues. Patton took an early lead with an .018 reaction time, maintaining control throughout the race and finishing .02 above his dial-in.
Fritts, unfortunately, encountered difficulties, missing the tree and dialing in his borrowed race car at the last minute. Patton’s victory aboard the dragster ended the door car domination at this year’s Million Dollar Drag Race.
“It feels great to be back,” Patton said. “It’s been a long while, but hard work and dedication gets you back.”
Reflecting on his own experience at the Million Dollar Drag Race, Fritts adopted an optimistic perspective.
“I’m not upset about today; I’m fortunate to get as far as I was and to be able to even stage up in the final, thanks to Joey Moore,” Fritz said. “As a twelve-year-old, I looked up MotorManiaTV and thought, ‘Oh, that’s the OG Million. I’m going to stay up ’til 4 AM and watch, and I’ll go to school at 7 in the morning.’ So, to be here right now is pretty surreal.”
FRIDAY: NO DELAY BOX? NO PROBLEM FOR HAGAR
There’s something to be said for swimming upstream. And for Donnie Hagar he swam against the current to collect $100,000 in first place money on Friday of the 28th Annual Mickey Thompson Million Dollar Drag Race.
The soft-spoken Hagar stopped Alabama drag racing phenom Shane Carr in a monster of a final round.
“I’m super thankful and happy, obviously,” Hagar said.
Because there were 471 entries in the event, racers were guaranteed a $590,000 purse, and even the runner-up would pocket $50,000.
Following a moment of silence for the Million Dollar Drag Race creator, George Howard, the first pair of No Box racers make their way through the tunnel and onto the racing surface.
It took six rounds to pare the field down to 12 cars. Joining Hagar and Carr were Braden Bowden, Jeff Serra, Isaac Wilde, Trevor Moore, Chad Branum, Rocky VanNote, Mikey Bloomfield, Hunter Whitehead, Wes Neely, and Hal Blevins.
Hagar and Car advanced to the final round when Wilde and Branum fouled. Moore broke out .001 beside Neely, who delivered a .018 total for the win. Bowden broke out against Bloomfield, while VanNote delivered a .015 total to eliminate Whitehead. Blevins was .008 on the tree, but Serra was .006 and ran closer to his dial to advance.
Hagar won a double-breakout over Van Note, and to show how close this race was, he won when he went only .001 too quick compared to the losing .004. Carr didn’t have to work quite as hard as Neely fouled. Bloomfield took advantage of Serra’s .006 breakout.
With Carr en route to the final round courtesy of the bye run, Hagar faced Bloomfield, and while they both left with .00 reaction times, he ran dead on his dial-in for the victory.
Hagar, who also claimed the $2,000 No Box bonus, left first against the 2012 event champion Carr, with a .005 reaction time. Carr jumped the gun only .001 of a second, handing Hagar the win.
Understandably, the road to the winner’s circle was a physical challenge.
I’m really tired,” Hagar admitted. “It just doesn’t seem real... to be honest, I’m just super blessed; at a loss for words.”
THURSDAY - LAWRENCE LEAVES WITH $50K CHECK ON THURSDAY OF THE 28th ANNUAL MILLION DOLLAR DRAG RACE
One day removed from Nick Hastings proving that you don’t need a delay box to collect a $50,000 prize, drivers had another opportunity to cash in during Thursday’s installment of the Summit Triple 50’s.
The 28th Annual Mickey Thompson Million Dollar Drag Race witnessed even more racers roll through the gates of World Wide Technology Raceway as the new entrants received a time trial prior to eliminations. Buybacks were canceled to compensate for the crowd which soared to a staggering 774 entries during the first round of competition. The support from racers produced the highest car count during the 28-year history of the Million Dollar Drag Race.
As a gesture of appreciation, the Folk family has announced a $28K Giveaway that will take place during the Million main event. On Friday, 28 tech cards will be randomly selected, followed by a live contest on the starting line where various cash prizes will be distributed via sealed envelopes with a combined value of $28,000 as a nod to the 28th Annual Million Dollar Drag Race.
Diving back into the action on Thursday, the field eventually dwindled to seven drivers in round number eight: Greg Sesti, Kenny Underwood, Josh Luedke, Jason Lawrence, Rayce Kidd, Daryl Patton, and Tyler Roach. Patton has an issue with the delay box and goes red while Lawrence is .024 green to advance. Luedke has the starting line advantage but breaks out 1 thousandth beside Roach who runs one above his dial for the win. Sesti misses the tree while Kidd is .012 up front and one above taking the win in his father’s dragster after experiencing fuel pump issues in his own ride. Underwood earns the bye run courtesy of his previous .002 reaction time.
Two Camaros, a Vega, and one dragster gather for the semifinal round as they inch towards claiming a $50,000 payout. Lawrence is in control with his .008 bulb and illuminates the win light while Roach breaks out 4 thou. Underwood is uncharacteristically late up front, and Kidd takes full advantage of the situation putting together an .029 package for the win.
The Summit $50K final round on Thursday is a cross-country battle with the West Coast Kidd taking on the New Jersey native, Lawrence. The better light of .015 is produced by Lawrence who then wheels his Camaro to an .017 margin of victory over Kidd.
A pair of unique stories and impressive winner’s circle interviews polish off the race day starting with Lawrence who explains his unconventional trip to the 28th Annual Million Dollar Drag Race. “I got in on a free entry that I won through a practice tree league, but then our Duster caught on fire. They pushed the free entry back to this year, which was really nice of them, so I could be a part of this,” says Lawrence.
He continues, “Like for a lot of people, this has been a bucket list race...it’s a dream come true just to be here. This is the best of the best in the country.”
Kidd uses his interview as an opportunity to discuss the importance of his faith by saying, “This racing stuff is really cool, but my purpose here is to know God and make God known. I just want to use this outlet to share the gospel…God first always, all this stuff comes after that.”
The last bottom bulb racer left in competition Thursday was Nick Curl who picked up the $1,000 No Box bonus after defeating Michael Crass.
Friday is the focal point of our race week as racers prepare for the 28th Annual Mickey Thompson Million Dollar Drag Race main event. The payout increases as the car count climbs and everyone is anxious to see if last year’s record will be broken and if so, by how many.
On track action will begin a bit earlier than originally advertised with time trials starting at 7:45 AM. The Million race will have a re-entry round for those drivers who fail to illuminate the first round win light. The No Box bonus will also increase to $2,000 for the last bottom bulb racer standing.
WEDNESDAY - HASTINGS FOOTBRAKES TO $50K VICTORY WEDNESDAY AT THE 28TH ANNUAL MILLION DOLLAR DRAG RACE
Approximately five hours after Wes May claimed the first big check of the 28th Annual Mickey Thompson Million Dollar Drag Race, the rumble of racecars returned to World Wide Technology Raceway for Wednesday’s Summit Racing Equipment $50K.
Drivers who rolled in the gates later than the rest of the competition were given a new entry time trial to get dialed in for a daunting day of drag racing. Another increase in car count resulted in the second day without forgiveness from a buyback round to crown a winner at a reasonable time.
A mix of no box, door cars, and dragsters totaled an impressive 680 entries launching off the starting line in round one of Summit $50K Wednesday. In the fifth round, the last two bottom bulb racers staged up to see who would claim the $1,000 No Box bonus. John Ratulowski leaves first with his 6.26 dial, but Nick Hastings has the reaction time advantage and chases him down taking a .006 margin of victory.
Round number eight consisted of six drivers: Wayne Gibson, Marco Abruzzi, Charlie Hamma, Brian Folk, Nick Hastings, and Brent Vincent. Up first in a brutal quarterfinal round is Folk who puts together an .013 package, but Abruzzi lets go .000 and runs one above to take the win by 2 thousandths. The second perfect light in just as many pairs comes from Hastings as he leaves Gibson mathematically ineligible. Vincent launches with a .001 light and runs dead on to lay down a .003 package to shut down Hamma’s .011 bulb.
In case you overlooked the arithmetic, out of three remaining drivers there were two triple zero lights which left a .001 bulb at the bottom of the ladder. In a battle to see which door car would line up next to Abruzzi, Hastings is .009 and runs dead on to take the win over Vincent who breaks out 7 thousandths.
The Summit $50K final on Wednesday comes down to a clash of two titans with a footbraking Hastings taking on Abruzzi in the dragster. Abruzzi has the starting line advantage with his .005 light but breaks out 1 thou while Hastings is .015 on the tree and one above for the win.
During the winner’s circle interviews, Abruzzi expresses that his opponent is probably the greatest of all time while a humble Hastings had just mentioned that lately he is a little rusty around the edges.
Speaking of his victory, Hastings says, “After the kind of year I’ve been having it really feels good. I’ve been taking a little bit of time off to spend with my new son, Jett, but we are finding our way back.”
In addition to thanking his sponsors, Hastings then elaborates on the significance of competing during the Million Dollar Drag Race. “Especially the OG Million, that’s a big deal. I watched this as a kid and a lot of my heroes now I’m racing against them.”
Another Summit Racing Equipment $50K begins on Thursday with only new entries receiving a time trial at 8:30 AM. Once the test passes are complete, the first round of eliminations will kick off with no box, followed by door cars and then dragsters.
TUESDAY - MAY TRIUMPHS TBM BRAKES TUESDAY $20K DURING THE 28TH ANNUAL MILLION DOLLAR DRAG RACE
As one of the most well-known big money bracket races in history, The Million Dollar Drag Race is etched on the bucket list for most and circled on the calendar of many racers year after year. For the 28th installment of The Mickey Thompson Million, Folk Promotions swapped the long-standing southern staple for a Midwest venue just east of the Mississippi River as they relocated to World Wide Technology Raceway.
Racers were not only welcomed with views of the nearby Gateway Arch but also the hospitality that only The Million can provide. From complimentary snacks and beverages in the staging lanes, one free event t-shirt per competitor, zero spectator or crew fees, and the Laris Motorsports Insurance Racer Appreciation dinner on Friday, The Million’s attention to detail makes each participant feel valued, which explains why the pits were packed full on a Tuesday.
Five days of competition would kick off on TBM Brakes Tuesday where a top prize valued at $20,000 was ready for the taking. An overnight rain shower delayed the start time but eventually, each car would make a test pass prior to the first round of eliminations.
An impressive 584 entries made their way down the eight-mile in a high-stakes round one as buybacks were canceled due to the late start and crowd of racers. Seven rounds of win lights later, only five drivers remained eligible to pay the week’s tab off on day one: Wes May, Darian Boesch, Jake Stephens, Mark Cather, and Brett Williamson.
The first quarterfinal pairing has Boesch turning on the red light by three thousandths beside a wheel standing May who is .001 green for the win. Cather also leaves too soon while Stephens puts together an .028 package to make it an all door car semifinal. Williamson coasts through the finish line on his bye run after launching with a .004 bulb.
Williamson continues to crush the tree and lays down an .017 total package to leave Stephens mathematically ineligible, although his semifinal finish does earn an entry into Friday’s Million main event. May’s previous near perfect light allows him to stage up for the bye run where a hard launch results in almost taking down the tree literally, but he quickly recovers and will return for the final unscathed.
TBM Brakes Tuesday’s final round included $18,000 and a Million main event entry for the winner while the runner up earned a full weekend entry. Only four thousandths separate the pair on the starting line when May throws down a .006 total package turning on the win light beside Williamson who was .009 up front but had no chance.
Wednesday is the first of three $ 50,000-to-win races courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment. Registration opens at 8 AM and only new entries will receive a time trial at 8:30 AM, followed by eliminations. For the bottom bulb drivers, a $1,000 No-Box bonus is up for grabs during each $50K.