Overcoming the largest footbrake car count in history, McKinney outlasts the competition during the BTE World Footbrake Challenge XVII.
Feature photo courtesy of Holloway Saunders Photography.
BRISTOL, TN – Only hours after welcoming a record-crushing car count, racers and staff returned to Bristol Dragway for day three of the BTE World Footbrake Challenge XVII. Another overnight rain shower dampened the scheduled start time, but it wasn’t long before engines were heard roaring through Thunder Valley.
Saturday’s $25,000 to-win main event eliminations held 625 entries in the first round and everything was going smoothly until mother nature returned to throw a wrench in the program. Almost instantly the mountain skies darkened, gusty winds took hold of canopies, and a downpour drenched the facility with approximately forty entries or so remaining in the re-entry round.
Luckily, the rain and clouds departed within the hour and the Bristol Dragway staff worked their magic to get the track back in shape by 7 pm. Unfortunately, with the remaining balance of entries for Saturday’s $25,000 race estimated at around 467, a tough decision had to be made.
Co-promoters, Jared Pennington and Steve Stites went back to the drawing board and delivered Plan D (at this point) which labeled Saturday’s event a wash-out. Re-entry money was refunded, and today’s racers would now be running for a combined $50,000 to-win main event on Sunday. All advertised money including runner-up, semifinalist, and round money would double as will the buyback.
Friday Gamblers Race
That brings us back to a racetrack ready for action and a balance of 45 entries leftover from Friday’s $15,000 to-win Gamblers Race- which began with an unheard of 713 entries.
After picking back up with the sixth round, the field was quickly cut down to only six remaining drivers: Andrew Adkins, Todd McKinney, Kelly Stevens, Jesse Betterton, Cody Barnhart, and Scott Vaughn.
Adkins eliminated Vaughn with a .027 reaction time during a double breakout race when both drivers ran 1 thousandth under their dials. Betterton runs dead on his 6.34 dial, but the .019 red light ended his chances at the starting line while McKinney is .004 green for the win. Stevens is .011 red to send a coasting Barnhart into the semifinal.
The final three have each claimed Coalburg Racing Promotions big checks ranging from $10K to $15K and were just two win lights away from another one.
Adkins turns on the dreaded red bulb by 3 thousandths beside Barnhart who is .028 green to advance to the final round. McKinney’s near-perfect prior reaction time earned him the bye run where he lays down a .004 package…because why not?
All eyes were on the orange Chevrolet Camaro wheeled by Barnhart and yellow AMC Spirit of McKinney as evidenced by the large crowd surrounding the waterbox.
As both cars launched with wheels in the air, McKinney held on to an .026 starting line advantage to take the win over a mathematically ineligible Barnhart. McKinney not only adds $15,000 to his pocket but overcame the highest car count in the history of Footbrake racing to claim the prestigious victory.
Two Round Challenge
The always popular Two Round Challenge returned Saturday night in between late rounds of the Gamblers Race where drivers who illuminated two win lights would earn an entry into the BTE Labor Day $250K.
Drivers who punched their ticket back to Bristol include Lucas Walker, Jake Clayton, Lee Zane, Jake Hodge, Brad Plourd, Jason Overstreet, Mitchell Seymore, Jason Overstreet, and John Dunn.
Saturday-Sunday Combined Main Event
There is still one massive prize left to claim tomorrow during Sunday’s $50,000 main event. Only new entries will receive one time trial at 8:45 am followed immediately by first round of eliminations. Before the on-track action begins, everyone is welcome to join the Sunday non-denominational church service at 8:15 am.
Our final day is going to be one you don’t want to miss, but if you’re not here you can still watch live on MotorManiaTV thanks to the support from JEGS Performance.
For more information on the BTE World Footbrake Challenge XVII visit our website at www.worldfootbrakechallenge.com.
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.