Drag Illustrated Issue 179, November / December 2022 - Page 69

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Bracket Racing in Thunder Valley

Nearly 15 years after saving Bristol Dragway ’ s bracket program , Red Whitmore ’ s DER Bracket Series is thriving By Van Abernethy
PHOTOGRAPHS BY VAN ABERNETHY

It ’ s been 14 years since Bristol Dragway made the corporate decision to completely eliminate their bracket racing program , and while it was considered to be a done deal , something happened in the final hour to change the course of history . The unlikely savior of Bristol ’ s bracket program was a seasoned veteran of Bristol ’ s neighboring oval track , a man named Red Whitmore , who also had some drag racing experience on his resume from decades earlier when he lived up north and worked at York U . S . 30 Dragway in Pennsylvania .

Bristol had already made the decision to scrap the bracket program when Whitmore urged Bris-
Red Whitmore , founder of the
DER Bracket Series
tol ’ s then-President and General Manager , Jeff Byrd , to give him a shot at making the program work . Reluctantly , Byrd agreed , but explained to Whitmore that Bristol as a corporation had completely failed at making this a success , and gave him virtually no chance at saving Bristol ’ s sportsman racing league .
What management did give Whitmore was just five weekends in 2009 – dates that nobody else wanted – to prove that he could create a points bracket program that made sense financially and was sustainable . At the end of the 2009 season at an employee luncheon , Byrd reportedly began the meeting by standing and saying , “ Red Whitmore has accomplished something that Bristol as a
November / December 2022
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