Kyle Seipel earned the 2019 DragChamp Promoter of the Year award after his peers voted for him via Facebook. Kyle is one of the most well-known promoters in this age of drag racing.
During the off season, the DragChamp staff awarded several year-end awards and contests to wrap up the 2019 racing season. Some awards were based on performance over the 2019 season while others were voted on by the racers and fans.
For the Promoter of the Year contest, promoters from across the country were nominated. Fans then voted on those nominations to determine the final 10 promoters. Those promoters with the most likes on our Facebook page then faced off to see which one could garner the most likes in the final round of voting.
With hundreds of votes, Kyle Seipel was crowned the 2019 DragChamp Promoter of the Year.
Kyle Seipel has been promoting the infamous Spring Fling Bracket Races since 2010. That’s when he and Peter Biondo put their heads together and decided they wanted to put on an event that they would like to compete in themselves. Having fun and running a fair event for all competitors were the two most important factors. But before Kyle was a promoter, he was a racer himself.
Kyle grew up at the dragstrip. His mother managed Fremont Drag Strip and Sonoma Raceway when he was younger, so he spent most of his time helping his mom with whatever job she needed or watching his father race from the grandstands. He started racing an 80cc motorcycle at the age of 12 and got the bug immediately.
When Kyle got his license at the age of 16, he jumped into an 18 second Nova and progressed to going faster and faster as he got older. He started his NHRA career in Super Street with some bracket races in between. Over the years, Kyle has been fortunate enough to earn 10 LODRS Divisional Championships and 12 ET Finals wins.
“The Lamb Family has furnished me with some great cars over the years,” Seipel stated. “I am very fortunate to be in that position and appreciate their friendship and support.”
Racing slowed down for Kyle the last decade or so when he started to focus more on his family, but the promoting part of his career was burning brighter than ever.
The Start of the Fling
Kyle and Peter first met in 1993 and have had a bond ever since. They both come from very similar racing backgrounds and their fathers were both prominent bracket racers on each coast.
“I truly believe that we have both excelled our racing performance on the track with each other’s help,” Kyle stated. “We have made each other better racers and better people on and off the track.”
The two promoted their first event in 2010 at Bristol. They spent a good six months preparing for their first event and it was a flop. A non-favorable forecast and a total of 170 racers resulted in losing a good amount of money.
“When we left Bristol that April in 2010, we both felt like we would not promote another race,” Kyle stated. “But post event we received a great response from the racers that attended and decided to give it another shot in 2011.”
Fast forward a few years and the Spring Fling Bracket Races are as popular as they’ve ever been. Recently this past year, the first ever Fall Fling $500K came to Bristol. Texas native Hunter Patton took home the trophy and the race went down in the books as drag racing history.
Peter & Kyle
After working together for 11 years, Peter and Kyle know exactly what to expect from one another. Like any partnership they have had their ups and downs, but they both realize their strengths and weaknesses and allow each other to perform the tasks the other might not necessarily be best suited for.
“I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else,” Kyle stated. “He has made me a much better promoter and businessperson in general 100%.”
Kyle is the go-to person and people person when a racer might have a question or issue, while Peter oversees the event making sure it runs as flawless as possible. The two, along with the entire Fling staff, spend nine to ten months to assure the events run as smooth as they can. It makes a huge difference with that amount of preparation prior to opening the gates for each race.
In late August of 2018, Kyle received news that no one ever wants to hear. He had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue, after his seven-hour surgery it was determined that it was stage IV cancer.
He underwent chemo and radiation treatments for the next six weeks and finished in late January of 2019. But his journey was far from over. Kyle continued promoting his events, but in October of 2019 it was determined that he had a metastatic recurrence and had stage IV cancer in his lungs with three to six months to live.
With the help of his friends, family, and fellow racers, Kyle and his wife, along with Peter and his wife Emily, traveled to two of the best cancer centers in the United States to get a second opinion: MD Anderson in Texas and The James at OSU in Ohio.
The staff at The James came up with a program that Kyle could complete locally which would keep him close to his family while receiving treatments. Kyle has completed the first four chemo/immunotherapy treatments with two to go. The most recent CT scan determined that the tumors were starting to shrink.
“We still have a long road ahead,” Kyle stated. “But we are optimistic that we are turning a corner and not slowing down.”
Kyle and Peter have been very fortunate since their first race in 2010 to have success. They keep striving every year to make their events better and better.
“Promoting events is what I love to do,” Kyle stated. “Having success in promotion drives me harder. There is no better feeling than hosting an event and having a racer come up to you and say that he/she had limited success on the track, but their family had a great time attending.”
About the author: Megan Strassweg is a 21 year old Super Comp racer from Louisville, Kentucky. She races a 2015 American Dragster sponsored by Coolshirt Systems. Megan is a student at Western Kentucky University and is pursuing a degree in Photojournalism with plans to graduate in May 2020. Megan works at Jim Butner Auto in the Finance Department. Growing up at the racetrack, drag racing is all she has known and never plans to give up on it.