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Tom Bailey's Sick Week 2022 Was Wildly Wicked

Posted By: Steve Baur
The inaugural Sick Week drag and drive event held in February of 2022 was by all accounts an overwhelming success with over 300 cars attending the week-long torture test of driving and drag racing. The event brought in racers from all over, as well as Dave Freiburger and Mike Finnegan from Roadkill, and social media influencers such as Cleetus McFarland, Alex Taylor, Derek Bieri from Vice Grip Garage, PFI Speed, Boosted Boys, KSR, and more.
 
Sick Week 2022 kicked off with registration at Bradenton Motorsports Park, where some contestants grabbed track rental spaces in the days leading up to event to test out their machines and shake down new combinations.
 

On day one of competition, Stefan Gustafson set the pace in the Unlimited category, with his C4 Corvette clicking off a 6.64. Event organizer Tom Bailey managed a 6.26, but his engine would suffer a dropped valve en route to the next stop and was unfortunately out of the event. In the Unlimited Iron class, Steve Morris and his woody Caprice wagon posted a 6.82, and both 
Mikael Borggren and Rick Prospero clocked 6-second runs to lead the Modified class.
 
Between the tight times and the number of competitors in the class, the 275 Street Race and Street Race classes are some of the toughest to win, with both classes essentially 8.50 index eliminators. In 275 Street Race, Richard Flint clocked an 8.500, followed by Jordan Boudreaux with an 8.505 and William Lujan with an 8.508. Nine other racers posted 8-second elapsed times in the class that had over 30 racers in it. Likewise, in the Street Race class, Aaron Shaffer posted an 8.507, and was followed by Tim Flanders with an 8.567 and Alex Corella with an 8.581—six other racers running 8s followed them.
 

From Bradenton, just south of Tampa, the racers drove northeast to Orlando Speed World, but the track festivities were cancelled due to inclement weather, and so they soldiered north to Gainesville Raceway for the next stop.
 
Gainesville Raceway, home of the NHRA Gator Nationals, saw the action pick back up and Gustafson once again held the top spot with a 6.83, with Nick Taylor again right behind him with a low-7-second run. Both Morris and Shawn Fink collected 6-second time slips in the Unlimited Iron category, and Prospero held on to the lead in the Modified class.
 
The Stick Shift category, which had seen 9- and 10-second runs in Bradenton, saw Richard Guido of Canada lay down an 8.77 in his turbocharged and Pontiac-powered, Pontiac GTO. Racers also saw James McEntire post up an 8.06 in the naturally aspirated class, an improvement from day one and a trend he would continue at the next stop.
 

Loading up and getting back on the road, the 2022 Sick Week competitors would drive further north into Georgia for the next stop at South Georgia Motorsports Park. The ambient air temperatures were a bit of a challenge, but that didn’t stop the racers from sending it.
 
Gustafson and Taylor were once again 1 and 2 in Unlimited, Glenn Hunter improved his time in Pro Street, going from a 7.53 in Bradenton and an 8.01 in Gainesville down to a 7.36 at SGMP. Guido maintained his hold on the Stick Shift class in his classy GTO, and James McEntire improved on his best ET of 8.06 with a 7.88 in the Naturally Aspirated class—that’s a 7-second second quarter-mile time in a naturally aspirated street cars, folks! The 275 Street Race and Street Race classes remained super competitive at the top of the class, with numerous racers separated by hundredths of a second. 
 
Heading south back to the final stop of Sick Week 2022, racers jumped off the I75 exit for a check point at the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida, museum before venturing further south to Bradenton Motorsports Park. After logging over 700 miles of driving, racers were greeted with spectacular weather for their final runs on track.
 

By now, many had fallen out of competition, but there were hundreds of racers still in contention, and some fighting on the last day to stay so. Steve Morris had his 6-second Chevy Woody wagon up on the jacks for transmission work at the start of the day, while others were performing maintenance and switching over to race-spec.
 
On track, many racers were getting after it. Some were successful, while some suffered mechanical failures or worse. Stefan Rossi had made contact with both of the walls with his 1966 Nova, but was able to soldier on—he also recieved the Sickest of the Sick award for that feat. Ayden Bailey, however, did not fair so well. The Unlimited Iron racer was on his final pass of the week, but the car made a hard right at the top end of the track, sending the 1957 Chevy wagon into an unrecoverable crash. Bailey was ok, and the Bradenton Motorsports Park crew got the track ship shape so the rest of the racers could have one more shot.
 
With the on-road and on-track portions of the event complete, everyone made their way to Cleetus McFarland’s Freedom Factory next door for the awards, which were emceed by Bangshift’s Chad Reynolds, who had shared announcing duties with Derek Putnam and Adam Dorey throughout the week.
 

In the Unlimited category, Stefan Gustafsson clicked off a wicked 6.53 on the final day to average 6.677 seconds over the event and claim the Sick Week Unlimited victory. Nicholas Taylor and Joe Barry checked in at 2nd and 3rdrespectively.
 
Just like Gustafsson, Shawn Fink had shown he had the staying power all week long and took home the win in Unlimited Iron with a 7.102 average. He was followed by Clint Sodowsky and Kevin Smith in 2nd and 3rd.
 
Next up was the Modified class, and while Mikael Borggren did run quicker at one point during the week, it was Rick Prospero who claimed the Modified class win with a 6.887 average. Borggren collected 2nd place with his 6.918 average and Curt Beyer placed 3rd with a 7.683.
 

Moving to the Pro Street category, Tom McGilton looked to be the guy to beat, having clocked a 7.222 on day one and a 7.29 on day 3. He bowed out after that, though, and Glenn Hunter was there to pounce on the opportunity. Hunter drove his 1956 Chevy Bel Air to a 7.574 average for the class win, and was followed by Alan Mougey in 2nd and Hilbert Osborne in 3rd.
 
In the Stick Shift class, Richard Guido, Michael Janousek, and Frank Romano all had a shot at the title and in three very different cars as well. Guido was piloting his turbocharged 1965 Pontiac GTO, Janousek his Rotary-powered Mazda, and Romano in his traditional shoebox Chevy. When the awards were announced, Guido had taken the top prize, followed by Janousek and Romano.
 
James McEntire won the Naturally Aspirated category with an impressive 8.039-second average. He was followed by Jason Tabscott with an 8.763 for 2nd place and Matt Sweet with an 8.844 for 3rd.
 
Freaks, a class that featured everything from Hondas to Tesla Plaids, was won by Tony Niemczyk with a 9.239 average in his Mitsubishi Eclipse, and Gasser vs. Hot Rods vs. Beetles was won by Jarrad Scott who clocked 9.367 average in his 1962 Ford Ranchero.
 
Racing on a 235mm-wide tire is quite the challenge, and 12 racers checked in for 235 Outlaw Street Race to see who could meet that challenge. Matt Lamphier’s turbocharged and LS-powered 1992 Mazda Miata was the quickest of the week with an 8.529-second average.
 

Moving to the super competitive 275 Street Race class, the top 12 racers all averaged between 8.54 and 8.96, and that represented just one quarter of the class. At the end of the weekend, South Florida’s William Lujan narrowly secured the win with an 8.5405 average in his Mustang to Flint and his Honda S2000 with an 8.541—a margin of victory of .0005 seconds.
 
In the equally competitive Street Race category, fellow South Floridian and fellow NMRA racer Alex Corella fought valiantly eight other racers who were all clocking 8s in the quarter-mile, and claimed the victory with an 8.526 average over second-place Aaron Shaffer with an 8.547 and third place Scott brown with an 8.555.
 
There was no lack of competition, or competitors in the Pro Dial Your Own and Dial Your Own classes as well. William Spangler took home the win in Pro DYO with a .023-second spread between his runs, and Jackson DeVaughan claimed the DYO win with a .025-second spread among his runs.
 

Another “challenging” class was the Bulls Eye Challenge, where the event staff would throw out a number and racers would try to get as close to it as possible. This was a daily challenge with Robert Lebron-Frank, Randy Franklin, Adam Malleck and Jason Zeigler collecting the wins.

The Overall top three racers of the event received custom guitars courtesy of Gear Vendors, with those going to Gustaffson, Rick Prospero, and Mikael Borggren for having the quickest averages of the event at 6.67, 6.88 and 6.91—it should be noted that the latter two did so on small radial tires rather than the big tires tha the Unlimited classes usually run!
 
It was announced during the final day of Sick Week 2022 that the event will return for 2023, and it should only get better from here on out. The elapsed times and durability of the machines you find at Sick Week are certainly impressive in their own right, but the uniqueness of each of them is just as interesting. There’s certainly something for every car or truck enthusiast to enjoy.






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