Racing Around The Sunshine State At Sick Week 2023


Racing Around The Sunshine State At Sick Week 2023


Last year Tom Bailey, a Hot Rod Magazine Drag Week veteran with five wins under his belt, decided that he wanted in on the lucrative drag-and-drive scene and whipped up his own racetrack-and-roadway tour, called Sick Week...and it was a success. 350 slots were available for anyone who wanted to push their car and themselves to the limit while touring the dragstrips of Florida and Georgia, and even with a day rained out last year, the racers raved and many said up-front that they would come back for round two in 2023. Sure enough, at the start of Sick Week 2023, a full roster of racers were waiting at Orlando Speedworld to begin a five-day affair that would see personal bests smashed thanks to outstanding conditions, two major accidents, and plenty of mechanical carnage while racers worked to secure the best average elapsed time in their class.

Sick Week 2023 Eric Yost

Day 1 started off very strong. Eric Yost, a well-known name who hasn't been at an event in years, made up for lost time in his Super Street-class 1968 Camaro, barking off a [email protected] MPH run. Bryant Goldstone, whose 1973 AMC Javelin hadn't been seen since it was involved in a rollover crash at US 131 Motorsports Park in 2021, returned triumphantly to the dragstrip and laid out a [email protected] MPH timeslip. Bailey's Camaro laid down a [email protected], good enough for the lead in Unlimited but well off of what he was expecting the car to lay down. From the Cleetus McFarland camp came a surprising entry: "McFlurry", a white notchback Fox Mustang packing a 7.3L Godzilla in the engine bay, complete with twin-turbochargers. Even Cleetus's jaw was on the asphalt as James Taal ripped the Lenco shifters on an [email protected] MPH opening shot. But not everybody was having a good time. David Schroeder's C7 Corvette got loose at the 1,000-foot mark and found itself rolling over at high speeds after making contact with both walls before coming to rest on the wheels. Luckily, Schroeder walked away unhurt in the incident.

Day 2 brought the drivers who remained to Bradenton Motorsports Park and mineshaft-quality air...nice and cold. Alex Taylor's 1955 Chevy and Steve Morris's "Boost Master" Chevrolet Caprice station wagon put everybody on alert with a side-by-side six-second shot on the first pass of the day. If you wanted to see a battle, however, you needed to watch both of the Swedes that were fighting for second place in Unlimited. Michael Westberg's 1991 Chevrolet S-10 and Stefan Gustafsson's C4 Corvette were within a tenth or two of each other throughout the entire week. Gustafsson would be hit with a setback in Bradenton when his passenger door was blown clean off of the car, leaving the latch in place. He wasn't the only one with problems, however. Bailey's transmission had enough troubles to put him out of competition, but that was nothing compared to the transaxle explosion that blew the case apart in his Corvette. Steve Morris's wagon wound up with a fragged transmission, and sadly, the "McFlurry" Mustang would retire with an engine knocking like a Fuller Brush salesman.

Sick Week 2023 Malibu Wagon

With the number of racers knocked down to 277, the remaining racers geared up for Day 3. With Bailey out of the way. Westberg and Gustafsson went back-and-forth in the war to see who was going to take the Unlimited crown. Westberg was edging out Gustafsson, if only just. Brett LaSala's "Snot Rocket 2.0" Mustang had been ripping off 6-second passes all week up to this point, so when he could barely nudge 7.03@212, things didn't look great...up until the moment that Cleetus McFarland punched a hole through the "Mullet" El Camino's engine block, putting him out of contention and putting LaSala into the top spot in Modified. Jordan Tuck, driving Devin Vanderhoff's Mustang convertible, was running away with the Rowdy Radial class and wasn't looking back except to check to see where Sheldon Root, his closest competitor, was at. And the second wreck of Sick Week 2023 occurred when Andrew Nelson's 1959 Volvo PV544 blew its engine while in the middle of a 9.12@149 MPH run against Timothy Blythe's Triumph Spitfire. Despite being launched almost thirty feet in the air with the tail of the car completely on fire and landing like a rock, Nelson survived, despite being banged up a bit.

Sick Week 2023 See Red Camaro McEntire

On Day 4, LaSala was hit with a protest regarding the front sheetmetal of his Mustang. Per the rules in Modified, a car can't have a one-piece fiberglass front clip. LaSala's technically is a two-piece affair (hood and everything else) and openly threatened to cut the fenders in front of everybody to make them independent parts. After a review by the officials, he was allowed to continue on. Racers were feeling the end coming on and there were two major scenes going down: in Street Race 275, William Lujan's 1990 Mustang and Jordan Boudreaux's 2002 Mustang were separated by a thousandth of a second, while in Sick Street Race, Aaron Shaffer's 1998 Camaro SS and Dustin Trance's 2005 Mustang were split by a hundredth of a second.

Sick Week 2023 Karmann Ghia

The remaining racers would return to Orlando for Day 5 were facing the make-or-break moment. If they didn't turn in a timeslip here, hundreds of miles driven would be all four naught. Some racers planned on using their final pass to knock out a "wild" tune, while others planned on just getting a timeslip and not risking any mechanical injuries before turning everything up for a second all-in lap. At the end of it all, it would be Michael Westberg and his S-10 taking the win. Alex Taylor took the title in Unlimited Iron, and Brett LaSala would clench Modified.

Sick Week 2023 Class Winners

ClassWinnerVehicleFinal ETAverage MPH
UnlimitedMichael Westberg1991 Chevrolet S-106.4640214.416
Unlimited IronAlex Taylor1955 Chevrolet 2106.9866206.946
ModifiedBrett LaSala2012 Ford Mustang6.7438213.444
Pro StreetClint Sodowsky1968 Chevrolet Camaro7.6976183.796
Super StreetEric Yost1968 Chevrolet Camaro7.4614186.822
Stick ShiftRichard Guido1965 Pontiac GTO8.8452160.488
Naturally AspiratedJames "Doc" McEntire1968 Chevrolet Camaro7.8338163.742
Rowdy Radials (1/8th Mile)Jordan Tuck1993 Ford Mustang4.6444166.494
Sick Week FreaksTony Niemczyk1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse8.7606154.892
Gassers vs. Hot Rods vs. BeetlesLarry West1941 Willys Americar10.0334132.342
Street Race 275William Lujan1990 Ford Mustang8.5428159.196
Sick Street RaceAaron Shaffer1998 Chevrolet Camaro SS8.5106163.840

Dial Your Own Classes

ClassWinnerVehicleFastest ETSlowest ETSpread
Pro DYONicholas Desmine1983 Ford LTD9.2629.2960.034
DYOWilfredo Blanco2016 Ford Mustang GT10.54010.5860.046

Sick Week 2023 Bullseye Winners

DayWinnerVehicleBullseye NumberETReaction TimeSpread
1 - OrlandoDouglas Fisher2011 Chevrolet Camaro3914.4970.34110.7
2 - BradentonJeremy Tapscott2005 GMC Sierra0211.0770.4585.7
3 - South GeorgiaRobert Sharp2019 Dodge Charger6710.6840.5521.4
4 - GainesvilleRick Doern2020 Ford Mustang7811.7810.3340.1
5 - OrlandoCole Harvey1970 Chevrolet Camaro2314.2460.6271.6


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