Martin: Series spotlight - Bruce Thrift

Thrift has 22,500 reasons to be thankful After months and months of anticipation leading up to Saturday's Moser Axle-Mania Sportsman Shootout this weekend at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park, Bruce Thrift (Waycross, Ga.) made what will without a...

Thrift has 22,500 reasons to be thankful

After months and months of anticipation leading up to Saturday's Moser Axle-Mania Sportsman Shootout this weekend at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park, Bruce Thrift (Waycross, Ga.) made what will without a doubt go down as the easiest $22,500 he will ever make in his life.

Going head-to-head with Scott Macy (Randleman, N.C.) in the final of Saturday's Moser Axle-Mania Shootout, Thrift had all of the butterflies one would expect in knowing that a win or a loss would be the difference in $15,000 in his pocket.

But after staging the car and preparing himself for the most profitable ride of his life, all of the pressure was immediately lifted when he saw the red light come on in Macy's lane.

At that point, all Thrift had to do was cruise to the other end at a lazy 6.320 seconds at 78.06 miles per hour in the eighth mile to take home his share of the $51,000 in prize money up for grabs Saturday night.

"He was going for the throat. We were fixing to have a drag race, but he just pushed it a little too close," Thrift said, moments after letting out a yell of excitement. "It wasn't easy, that was some hard earned money. But when I saw that, I just lifted and eased on through."

Thrift, behind the wheel of his '96 Beretta Top Sportsman machine, was one of three door cars in the semifinals of Saturday's shootout, with Greg Slack's dragster being the odd man out. Glenn Ferguson was the other semifinalist during Saturday's showdown.

Thrift was matched up with Macy in his '78 Volare Stock machine in the final in a matchup of one of the fastest sportsman categories versus one of the slowest.

In the final Thrift had a dial of 4.86 seconds, but he didn't need to worry himself with those numbers when Macy lit the red bulb by a few thousandths of a second to hand the win to the 50-year-old Georgia native in a race that included many of the best in business today.

"You can't take any of them lightly. For any of them to get here, they didn't just wake up and get here," Thrift said. "They earned their spot just as I did."

With the victory Thrift pocketed a cool $22,500, while Macy received $7,500 in the runner-up spot.

While Saturday was definitely the biggest payout of Thrift's racing career, it wasn't his only big money victory. Thrift also took home $10,000 in a bracket race a few years ago.

So what is Thrift going to do with all of that money?

"Me and my wife are going to the Bahamas if she wants to. She has supported me through everything and I wouldn't be here without her," Thrift said. "She supports what I do and it means a lot to me."

And it was because of his wife that Thrift is even still racing.

"When I wrecked last year I thought this is a good time to quit, but she picked me up and said that I should probably go make a pass," Thrift said. "I was ready to quit and she is what kept me going."

Now Thrift has 22,500 reasons to thank her for talking him back into a race car.

Thrift reached Saturday's final with wins over Greg Slack, Slate Cummings, Frank Teague and Jason Lynch. Macy reached the final by knocking off Glenn Ferguson, Britt Cummings, Billy Wilson and Nick Folk.

Also finishing in the money were semifinalists Glenn Ferguson (Greensboro, N.C.) in his '66 Fairlane Hot Rod and Grag Slack (Albemarle, N.C.) in his '03 Dragster Quick Rod.

Once again the highly popular Moser Axle-Mania Sportsman program was a hit with drivers and fans as the competitors put it all on the line for a shot at the fame and glory associated with one of the largest purses in sportsman drag racing.

"This is the most awesome stuff in the world, especially the way times are right now. For them to step up and give away $51,000 with the way the economy is it is amazing," Thrift said. "They make you feel like you are just one of the family and that is what is so great about it all."

-credit: ihra

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