Thursday, February 29, 2024

Darnell and Swink Prevail during Fall ET Challenge at VMP

Robbie Darnell and Johnny Swink take all the cash from Virginia Motorsports Park during the Fall ET Challenge.

Feature photo credit: Bruno’s Photography

DINWIDDIE, VA – Racers rolled into Virginia Motorsports Park over the weekend to participate in the Fall ET Challenge, presented by FuelTech. The two day event catered to Top ET and Footbrake competitors and delivered thousands in cash and prizes.

After facing a few challenges (no pun intended) on Saturday, the cold weather came quickly and forced an early split between the remaining drivers. However, Sunday provided a full day of racing action as nearly 200 entries battled for $5,000 in Top ET and $1,500 in Footbrake.

corvette wheelie brunos photography vmp fall et challenge
Photo credit: Bruno’s Photography

Top ET Results

By sixth round, only eight drivers remained eligible to win $5K: Johnny Swink, Lee Dixon, Wesley Washington, Kenny Snyder, Chris Mancini, Randy Midgett, Jerry Rucker, and Danny Mattera.

Synder had the starting line advantage but breaks out 1 thou while Swink is .024 total to take the win. Dixon turns on the red light while Midgett is .016 green to advance another round. During the closest race of the quarterfinal, Mattera takes a .001 margin of victory over Mancini after both drivers are .01 and dead on. Washington coasts across the finish line for the win after Rucker illuminates the red light by 1 thou.


In the semifinal, Midgett’s .016 bulb is left mathematically ineligible when Swink lays down a .006 total package. Mattera had the reaction time advantage, but breaks out 5 thou while Washington runs three above for the win.


It was a classic dragster versus door car final round match up as Washington and Swink stage uo for $5,000. During a double breakout run, Swink had the better light and is only 3 thou under to earn the win over Washington.

Johnny Swink fall et challenge top winner
Johnny Swink

[No photo available for Wesley Washington at the time of publication]

Footbrake Results

Seven drivers made it into Sunday’s Footbrake quarterfinal: Sean Sparkman, Julian Waller, Jonathan Martin, Todd Atkinson, Brandon Michaels, Robbie Darnell, and James Sparkman, Jr.

Sean Sparkman used a starting line advantage and two above pass to take the win over Atkinson, who breaks out 7 thou. Waller is .023 and runs dead on with a zero, but was just wasting fuel as Darnell lays down a .004 package for the win. Both Camaros run one above their respective dials as Michaels takes the .006 margin of victory over Sparkman, Jr.


Martin earns the first spot into the final when his .019 package leaves Sparkman’s .028 light mathematically ineligible. Darnell has the better light and runs one above his dial for the win over Michaels who gets to the stripe first, but breaks out.


Both drivers leave too early in the final, but Martin’s .005 red was a few tenths before Darnell’s .01 foul. Robbie Darnell wheels his Chevy II into the winner’s circle to collect the $1,500 check.

robbie darnell footbrake winner fall et challenge vmp
Robbie Darnell
Jonathan Martin
Photo credit: Bruno’s Photography

One More Chance For Cash at VMP

The ebay Motors Turkey Trot Triple 10’s returns to Virginia Motorsports Park on November 26-28. The popular three-day event gives Top ET racers a chance to take home $10,000 each day.

For more information and updates, visit the VMP website or Facebook page.

Check out the latest in bracket racing news and results from DragChamp by clicking here.


Jessica was born into a family of drag racers and fell in love with the sport at a young age. She began competing at 13 and has been hooked ever since! She even met her husband at the World Footbrake Challenge VII. Jessica works full time as an Ultrasound Technologist but spends almost every weekend chasing win lights at IHRA and NHRA bracket races.

You can contact her at Jessica@dragchamp.com or on her Facebook page.

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