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Dornbos Reviews...

Run What You Brung Nationals to
Provide True Heads Up Drag Racing

By Doug Dornbos

In 2000, I started mulling over the various ways that a drag racing event could be structured and ultimately wrote a piece about it as a Draglist.com Story of the Day. The time has come for me to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.

I have rented the Mid-Michigan Motorplex for Saturday, October 12, 2002, and am planning a one-day race. Several things make this event unique:

  1. Every racer goes three rounds, there is no elimination
  2. There are no classes, regardless of vehicle type, everybody is in one class, run what you brung
  3. It's ALL heads-up drag racing, there is NO bracket racing at this event.

WOW! How can we do this so the hobbyist and sportsman can afford it?

In the first round (after three rounds of qualifying), the #1 qualifier is paired with the #2 qualifier, the #3 vs. #4, #5 vs. #6, and so on to the end of the entries (maximum is 200). The winner of each pair moves up for the next round to race the loser of the pair just above them on the qualifying list. The losers of the round drop back to race the winners of the heats just below. This way, the winners keep moving up to race faster opponents and the losers keep moving down to race against slower opponents. I have an acquaintance here that refers to this as "test-n-tune plus." There is no need for buy-backs because everyone races all the rounds.

The first question that bracket racers typically ask is: how will we keep people from sandbagging? I am splitting the spectator gate with the racers and EVERY racer will get a portion, which will be calculated totally from his (or her) qualifying time. There is no extra inducement for winning.

I've got a website up and running at www.runwhatyoubrung.com. All the details are there and since it is so early, yes I am open to feedback. Really, I am pretty blown away by all the things that need to be done. The Ledfords, track owners of the Motorplex, were great to meet with and I felt very encouraged leaving our initial meeting. I hope to work some events for them this season prior to my October event to get a better feeling what it's like on the "other side of the fence."

My employer, The Holland Grill Company, has been kind enough to allow me some flexibility on this over the next few months in return for added exposure for their product. Yes, we will have grills there for people to use on race day!

When the movie "Die Hard" was being made, they ran out of snow-covered runways to finish the filming of the movie. After looking over the entire U.S., they found a little town in Northern Michigan that had a runway long enough to land a jumbo jet on and it still had snow. It was the city of Alpena whose airport was built with runways long enough (I'm told) to allow two B-52s to simultaneously take off in opposite directions (to compliment nearby Wurtsmith AFB).

So off the crew for "Die Hard" goes to Northern Michigan. As you can imagine, this area is not often visited by the likes of Bruce Willis and his entire filmmaking crew so they basically took the town by storm. This town was so hospitable, so encouraging, so friendly, that when the movie opened for its world premiere, they opened it in Alpena, MI. If you watch the credits real close, at the end of the movie, you can see where they thank the people of Alpena. Is that cool or what?

Bill Pratt has been extraordinarily encouraging of me and my constant questioning of the way things are in drag racing. His friendship has meant much to me especially during the days I was familiarizing myself with "online reality." For that reason, I wanted to make this public announcement here first. Starting tomorrow, I am going everywhere else I can with it but to Bill and his gang, I wanted you to know how much I appreciate what you have done for me.

Doug Dornbos


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