JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – The $20,000 Footbrake Thanksgiving Tradition continued with the Fall Footbrake Frenzy IV at Coastal Plains Dragway.
The country’s highest-paying Footbrake race awarded the $20,000 check to William Roberts, while Richard Alford bookended the weekend’s $5K’s.
In addition to the three main racing events, many racers shared in over $5,000 in other cash and prizes, plus a Friday night Racer Appreciation Barbecue and Cornhole Tournament, plus coffee and Bojangle’s biscuits Saturday morning.
Bojangle’s $5K Warmup
Richard Alford didn’t need much of a warmup at the Fall Footbrake Frenzy. While the Raleigh, N.C. racer has always been top-tier driver, Alford has simply been on fire for the past two months.
Alford not only won his second IHRA Div. 9 Summit Team Finals Modified ET championship, he also drove borrowed cars to both a $20K win and a $5K runner-up at the Inaugural American Doorslammer Nationals.
Alford returned to the seat of his familiar yellow Chevelle at the Fall Footbrake Frenzy, with a fresh motor from Dean’s Performance. He didn’t miss a beat.
“For several years now, going back to ’96, it seems like from August on are my good months. I’m real satisfied with my new motor. I called Chris Dean and he said after three runs, it would be broken in. I have never had to go test and tune after putting in a new motor. Dean builds a great motor, and Larry Chapman and Danny Lawson have had a hand in every championship my brother Steve and I have won. I’ve got to give them props.”
During eliminations, Alford employed an unconventional staging technique, rolling in an extra chunk just before the tree was activated. Still, he was able to do so consistently.
“I used to stage like that back in the ’90s when my car was slow. I’m just used to it,” said Alford. “I made 31 passes all weekend, and my 60′ and half track numbers were right on. Everything did what I wanted.”
In the semifinals, brothers Richard and Steve Alford were on opposite sides of the ladder. Kris Bunch overcame an .035 to .002 starting line deficit against Steve Alford by a narrow .007 seconds, 7.500 (7.48 dial-in) to a 6.689 (6.63). Richard Alford made the finals with a holeshot over Eric Aman by .015, 6.440 (6.42) to a 5.967 (5.95).
In the finals, Alford and Bunch matched evenly at the line, .020 to .021, but Alford rolled off to the win with a 6.458 (6.42) when Bunch couldn’t cover, 7.563 (7.49).
Alford’s only hitch of the weekend was a leaking transmission line. In a great display of sportsmanship, opponent Jesse Betterton waited for him while they affected repairs.
“I really want to thank everyone involved: Jamie Holston, Robbie and Tabitha Draughon, and there were people up there I didn’t even know,” said Alford. “I am so humbled that people come to your rescue in a time of need. A man and his wife and kid even came to my trailer to check on me after the round. It was an amazing weekend. It turned out to be real good.
“I’d also like to thank my brother Steve. He always gives me good info to work with. There’s always some people behind you that make it possible,” concluded Alford. “I appreciate Michael and Anthony for putting on the race, and Lisa King for her hard work.”
$20K Main Event
Ronnie Roberts Racing has been a staple of bracket racing in North Carolina for many years now, with the patriarch and crew chief keeping watchful eye over his increasingly successful boys, William, Wesley and Clayton.
Each has honed his skills and earned the accolades resulting from their dedication. William Roberts, of Benson, N.C., took his turn on the podium at the Fall Footbrake Frenzy IV, capturing the coveted $20,000 main event.
The Roberts clan nearly had a chance at a family feud, as both William and Clayton Roberts had advanced to the semifinals. Terry Rucker, who stopped Richard Alford’s roll in the quarters, also stopped Clayton Roberts, however, when Clayton turned it -.003 red.
William Roberts had his hands full with Dave Harvey, Jr. Last year, Harvey had two entries in the semis, and won the $20K. He presented a stellar effort once again with a .006-backed 7.022 (7.03) breakout, but Roberts’ .014 light and dead-on 5.984 (5.98) left him little room.
“I was hoping Clayton would get through,” admitted William. “It would have been great to have two Roberts in the finals.”
Rucker enjoyed a slight headstart over Roberts in the final, .036 to .049, but in a virtual replay of the semis, Roberts was dead-on. This time, his perfect 5.980 (5.98) pushed Rucker under 6.627 (6.63).
“He had me on the tree, but went out by one. I knew I had to get rid of one. I tapped the brakes twice and ran dead-on with a zero,” reported Roberts.
“I had a rough start, but once I got adjusted, it was good,” he said. “The track seemed to work great. The last four passes I was dead-on. It was a good day of racing. It was tough competition. There were a lot of tight passes.”
Racing into the night on Saturday, temperatures fell quickly. Excessively cold track temperatures and high humidity at half track required the race to be stopped prematurely. Six entries remained in competition, including Richard Alford still in with two entries, Mike Barber, Marty Flegal Jr., Tyler Brayton, and Jesse Betterton.
The total of the remaining purse was split, with each entry receiving $1,130. Drivers drew chips to determine who received the Big Check and the Iron Tree trophy – won by Alford.