Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 73

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Pot O ’ Gold

Loose Rocker Promotions kicks off season with St . Patrick ’ s Doorslammer race By Van Abernethy
PHOTOGRAPHS BY HOLLOWAY SAUNDERS

The Loose Rocker Promotions bracket series kicked off their 13th season at North Carolina ’ s Piedmont Dragway with the running of the inaugural St . Patrick ’ s Doorslammer Pot O ’ Gold triple 10-granders , held March 24-26 .

The event began on Thursday night with the Legendary 64 Shootout . Perry Reynolds took home the win after getting past Jonathon Mc- Candless . Cory Gulitti won Friday ’ s $ 10k Warmup , with Dustin Smiley placing runner-up .
Due to unfavorable weather conditions the remainder of the event was combined on Saturday , with the $ 20k main event and the $ 10k finale being completed back-to-back . Kevin Brannon took home top honors in his Chevy Monza , edging out the Mustang of John Engleman in the thrilling finals . The final 10k contest was won by Cory Gulitti , who continued his winning ways from Friday , this time getting past Randy Biddle Jr . in the finals .
For Loose Rocker Promotions founders Anthony Walton and Michael Beard , the inspiration for the Pot O ’ Gold event was greatly influenced by the success of their late-season door car race that ’ s typically held in November and had settled into the 270-290-entry range . But in the last two years something extraordinary and completely unexpected happened when the event topped out at 539 entries ... all within a single class .
Astonishing still , this all happened at the peak
of the COVID-19 pandemic . “ To me , it was unexplainable that we had our best year in 2020 !” says Walton . The event exploded in participation to the point that the decision was made to make it a Thursday through Saturday event , leaving Sunday open for a finish-up / travel date .
The Loose Rocker brand of bracket racing has found an almost exclusive home at Piedmont Dragway in recent years , and the 2022 race season will reflect as much , as all but two events will be held at the IHRA-sanctioned eighth-mile facility in Julian , North Carolina . The 5th annual ATI Performance Products BIGFOOT in May , as well as the 2nd annual Summit Racing Equipment Super Pro $ 75k in June , will be held at GALOT Motorsports Park in Benson , North Carolina .
One omission to the schedule this year reveals no summer races in 2022 . “ We want to enjoy ourselves this year , too !” explains Walton . Both Walton and Beard are avid racers themselves and enjoy traveling to various events . “ We don ’ t get to participate nearly enough ,” Walton added . “ Time is short ... we see it all the time . My dad and son both race , and so it ’ s cool to see three generations out here competing .”
From a promotional standpoint , the duo couldn ’ t help but notice that the most successful races they put on happen early and late in the year , so taking the summers off to do some racing themselves made perfect sense .
The co-promoters are always striving to maintain great value for racers in the face of big-money bracket racing , and are steadfast in their belief that they ’ ll always be a place for the $ 10k event , while also trying to cater to the higher stakes racer .
“ With our ATI BIGFOOT event ,” Beard begins , “ we ’ re presenting racers with the lower buck option to run triple $ 12,500s for $ 350 , or if you ’ re more of a high roller racer , we ’ re gonna include the Ultimate BIGFOOT on Saturday night , which is gonna have an unprecedented 100 % payback of the entry fees , so how much it pays is based on car count , just like the original Million .”
The Loose Rocker brand has a core following that the duo will focus on serving , while being completely willing to try new things to improve and refine their events . “ We ’ ve definitely got some things in the works that we ’ ll be announcing at a later date ,” concludes Walton . DI
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