WINTERPORT — For Mike Bradford, this was pure adrenaline.
Competing within the finals of a T&L Gamblers Sequence race final month at Winterport Dragway, Bradford, a Lamoine native and passionate drag racer, was, in his personal phrases, “amped up.” After a sequence of prime finishes, he had each proper to be as he competed for a first-place end.
Because the tree lit to start out the June 5 finals sequence race, Bradford’s newly transformed 1937 Chevy Coupe got here roaring out of the gate. Inside seconds, he had barreled throughout the end line and was on his solution to obtain his outcomes slip.
With a time of 5.810, Bradford had received the race by 0.045 seconds — a small margin, although not an insignificant one within the split-second world of drag racing. However what actually caught Bradford’s eye was the column displaying his response time: an ideal 0.500.
“I couldn’t imagine it,” Bradford stated. “You’ll be able to’t get it any tighter than that. There’s individuals who have raced endlessly and by no means completed it.”
Had Bradford come off the road one one-thousandth of a second earlier, he would have been disqualified for an early begin. As a substitute, with a mix of talent, an elite automobile and a little bit of luck, he achieved a remarkably uncommon feat within the drag-racing world with an ideal move.
Bradford, proprietor of Mike’s Detailing in Lamoine, has been drag racing for the previous eight years. He spent two years racing a Mercury Marauder and 5 racing a prized Mazda bought from a pal, Les Foss, earlier than shifting onto his present automobile, Rolling Thunder, for the 2021 Winterport season.
With the assistance of his father, Clifton, Bradford has emerged as one of many prime T&L Gamblers sequence opponents lately. The workforce has completed within the prime 5 of the factors sequence in every of the previous three seasons, and the victories, such because the one Bradford earned along with his good move, have began to pile up.
Provided that something quicker than a good bundle with a .500 response time would have disqualified Bradford, he had been aiming for a response time nearer to the .510 vary to provide himself a little bit of a cushion. As he made his means to get his time slip after the race, he may inform from the group that he had pulled off one thing spectacular.
“You don’t actually know the way you probably did till you return and get that point slip, however after I went again, everybody was giving me the thumbs up,” Bradford stated. “That was after I knew I did one thing proper. It was the final race, so I pulled proper into the winner’s circle.”
The rarity of an ideal bundle with a .500 mild is probably corresponding to a person touchdown on the moon or a 200-yard hole-in-one on the golf course — doable, to make sure, however removed from an on a regular basis incidence. The feat shocked tower operator Matt Lang, who advised Bradford that his run was not like something he’d ever witnessed.
“He advised Michael, ‘I’ve been doing this all throughout america at racetracks, and I’ve by no means seen or heard of an ideal run,”’ Clifton Bradford stated. “Once I heard that, I bought goosebumps going up and down me. It’s simply unbelievable.”
Mike and Clifton are removed from the one ones within the Bradford household with a ardour for drag racing. Mike’s spouse, Stephanie, has additionally made common appearances at Winterport, and his daughter, Aliyah, has the duty of handing her father his time slips after races conclude.
Though nonetheless younger, Aliyah is already interested by her personal racing profession after spending time serving to out her dad on the observe. The 7-year-old just lately made $186 working a lemonade stand with the aim of elevating cash to purchase her personal junior dragster — a dragster that, unbeknownst to Aliyah, her father had already bought and was conserving in a storage unit.
“I advised her if she needed one thing unhealthy sufficient, she needed to earn it and work for it, in order that’s what she did,” stated Bradford, who unveiled the bright-red automobile to his overjoyed daughter over the Fourth of July weekend. “I felt that she had labored good, so I gave it to her. … It was a magical second for all of us.”
The Bradfords are certain to have many extra of these moments this summer season and in future seasons. The T&L Gamblers races, which have been scheduled to return July 10 after the Fourth of July weekend rain pressured a postponement, are set to run by October, earlier than a brand new season begins up subsequent Might.
Between these races and factors races at New Oxford Dragway, Bradford will likely be busy on the observe for the remainder of the 12 months. After his newest accomplishment, he has the eye of racers at each venues.
“I’d say they’re intimidated a bit of bit,” stated Clifton Bradford, who then pointed at his son’s again. “There’s a giant goal proper there. He’s the person all of them wish to run down.”