BTE World Footbrake Challenge at Bristol, Tenn.


Mother Nature has been pretty good to the BTE World Footbrake Challenge IX. Sunshine and slightly warm temperatures greeted racers each day. The wet weather most of the eastern half of the nation has suffered through this season just seemed to not be able to penetrate the Bristol Dragway facility, at least during the day. That is, until today.


The last day of the 2015 version of BTE World Footbrake Challenge IX brought about cloud cover and eliminations began bright and early with no time trials with the exception of new entries. With only a handful of cars left to run at the end of round one, the skies darkened and no longer was Bristol Dragway able to escape the inevitable. An hour or so of wet was followed by the Bristol Dragway crew doing an admirable job drying the track in just about record time to get back to racing.


The racing continued smooth after that little "wet hiccup," and in the quarterfinals, seven remained: Don Raser from Maryland, "Slick Rick Baehr from Tennessee, Jon Lowery from Ohio, Ricky Pennington from Alabama, Michael Beard from Ohio, Devin Dudley of Virginia and Kurt Hunnington from North Carolina. Quite an array of representation from 24 states overall and two countries. The Long Distance Award went to Wes Snodgrass from Hobbs, New Mexico, taking home a $500 gift certificate from Brodix.


In the quarters, Raser took out Baehr, Pennington drove his gorgeous '64 Chevelle to victory over Dudley, Lowery defeated Hunnington and Beard took the last bye run of the day as four remained for the semifinals.


For the semifinals, Beard took out Lowery and Raser lit the red bulb against Pennington. Beard has already been to two $10G finals this year while Pennington is no slouch. The former big bucks winner has been spending his racing time in the NHRA sportsman ranks having driven to the semifinals at the Bristol NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.


For the final round, Beard took the reaction time advantage all the way to the winner's circle.  (John DiBartolomeo photo)


"This is incredible," Beard said afterwards. "I was struggling a little bit earlier this weekend but I'm thrilled to put it all together today. This race is so fantastic and it's a credit to Jared Pennington, Steve Stites and the entire Bristol staff for putting on a great race."


"The support we've seen from the racers this year has been phenomenal," said co-promoter Jared Pennington. "And naturally we couldn't have done it without the many sponsors who choose to support the backbone of our sport.


"On behalf of myself and partner, Steve Stites," Pennington added, "a sincere thank you to all who attended this year's event. With next year being the tenth anniversary, we're planning to make it a truly memorable event that we're working on starting now."