Spradlin Motorsports “Summer Swing” capped off with Final Round Appearance at Indy
The Southeastern Hose backed NHRA Top Dragster team of Spradlin Motorsports changed a few things for the 2018 season. They acquired a Miller Race Cars chassis and decided to shake up their traditional Southeast Division heavy schedule. One that has in the past produced 3 division championships, for one that included more North Central Division races during the summer months.
“We dubbed it the “Spradlin Summer Swing,” explains Casey Spradlin, driver of the Spradlin Motorsports 220 plus MPH Blown Top Dragster. “With my daughter starting 1st grade and my wife returning to teaching, we changed up the schedule to forgo some of the early season Southeast Division races for some Division 3 races that we have not attended in the past.”
The inaugural Spradlin Summer Swing started on Father’s Day weekend at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee. The racing ended with a respectable quarterfinal finish via a redlight start by just 9 thousandths of a second, but the road trip began.
“My wife planned a great road trip on the way up to Norwalk, OH for the Summit Racing Nationals the following weekend,” Spradlin continued. “We started out in West Virginia with a coal mine tour, some hiking, and white water rafting on the New River. Then a trip through Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio for some unbelievable waterfall sights through a gorge cutting deep below the surface. Then of course hitting the famous Cedar Point amusement park before qualifying started at Norwalk. It was really a great time.”
Back on the track, at the beautiful Norwalk Raceway Park facility, Spradlin set a new career best speed of 221 MPH on the newly resurfaced race track. Persistent off and on rain showers plagued the event but when racing started on Sunday, Spradlin bowed out in the first round in a tough loss.
“You know, mama said they’ll be days like this,” Spradlin quipped about the early round defeat. “We will take our lumps and try again. On the bright side, getting an early start back home to Alabama allowed for one more sightseeing adventure to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. Getting to see this mammoth structure recreated as God directed Noah was an awesome experience.”
After a couple weeks off, the team once again loaded up and headed north to the last stop on the Summer Swing. Their first trip to the fabled Indianapolis Raceway Park for the Division 3 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event. While it was a beautiful weekend weather wise, high 80 temps and cloudless skies produced some 130 degree plus track temps that made for difficult, to say the least, starting line traction.
“Racing or visiting this track is on every drag racer’s bucket list. The scheduling fit into our Summer Swing perfectly so we decided to try to make the 1100 mile round trip worth it,” said Spradlin.
Make it worthwhile, they did. Spradlin, starting from the 22nd qualifying position with a 6.35 at 221 MPH, advanced all the way to the final round. It was not an easy feat as Division 3 racers are known for being some of the best and fastest racers in the Top Dragster category. The elimination rounds leading up to the final round against Zach Sackman were tough. It took a perfect reaction time to win the second round by 9 thousandths of a second and the third round was decided by just 2 thousandths.
The final round matchup would bring to fruition a promise Spradlin made to the Sackman team at the Norwalk Nationals a few weeks earlier. “I’ll see ya’ll in the final round,” Spradlin said in his southern drawl to his pit neighbors. It proved to be another close battle, with Sackman pulling out the win by just 3 thousandths of a second.
“While we didn’t get a Wally, I will say that our first Summer Swing couldn’t have gone any better. We enjoyed our time on and off the track and look forward to making many more memories in future seasons.”