The All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA) has announced immediate revisions to the 2008 Screamin’ Eagle Performance Parts Championship Series schedule that was originally released in early December.
The first announcement affects the Phoenix, AZ, event scheduled on March 29th and 30th. Although those dates will remain the same, the event location has been changed to Speedworld Dragstrip in Wittman, AZ.
Located approximately 20 miles from Phoenix, the facility has undergone notable improvements since AHDRA’s last appearance there in 2000.
AHDRA President Craig Tharpe explained that the reason for the move from the previous location (Firebird International Raceway) was a result of scheduling conflicts and concerns expressed over the track’s length that is needed for the high-powered Top Fuel bikes. “Ultimately, the track was not available on our desired dates, and fortunately for everyone involved, Speedworld was available,” he noted.
“Our efforts were to keep the event in the Phoenix area and in conjunction with the opening weekend of Arizona Bike Week activities,” Tharpe continued. “Speedworld Dragstrip actually puts us closer to a lot of the Bike Week activities”.
The most significant changes to the AHDRA 2008 schedule come at the season’s end, as AHDRA has announced that it will not hold national events in Pomona, CA, or Las Vegas, NV, in 2008.
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) has been hosting AHDRA’s Championship Finals for many years. Unfortunately, efforts to secure a suitable date for 2008 were unsuccessful.
According to Chris Blair, Vice President of Racing Operations at LVMS, the facility will be hosting a major special event at the Drag Strip in November of 2008. Details on that event are not yet available, but Blair said final details would be coming soon.
AHDRA President Tharpe said that it has always been a risk holding the event in mid-November with uncertain weather conditions, and moving the event any later would certainly not be an option. “It turned out that there were no availabilities in October due to AHDRA’s secured and established Rockingham date and with the NHRA event already scheduled at LVMS,” he pointed out. Tharpe went on to say that while it is a huge change and thus an adjustment for the organization, they would try to make the best of it. “We will sit it out in 2008 and see what happens in 2009,” he said.
The impact of the Las Vegas cancellation has additional implications—namely, by forcing the cancellation of the Pomona, CA event as a national points race.
With the AHDRA Championship finals consuming three full days of racing, it is not possible for the finals to be held in Pomona because of numerous noise restriction curfews and limitations imposed on the allowed number of race days at the facility.
“We were barely able to get in our standard two-day event before nightfall at the facility—which does not have permanent track lighting,” Tharpe stated. “With the large number of competitors turning out for the final race of the year, it would not be possible to secure enough track time to accommodate our event at Pomona Raceway.”
Tharpe and many key members involved with California Bike Week and the Love Ride worked together for a great length of time to implement AHDRA’s involvement in the 2007 Pomona event and Tharpe says that he is still talking with the group to explore other possibilities available to maintain the valuable relationship.
AHDRA’s Championship Finals will now be held October 10-12 at the Screamin’ Eagle Performance Parts Nationals in Rockingham, NC.
Tharpe explained that the Rockingham event is already one of the largest on the AHDRA schedule, and hosting the National Championship Finals there could bring phenomenal growth to the already successful event.
“Thankfully, we had already extended the Rockingham event to three days for 2008, which made it possible to easily move the finals there,” he commented.
“Steve Earwood and the staff at Rockingham Dragway are a fantastic group and provide an excellent track for us. Last year, at least nine national records were set at the event. With the fan popularity already established, bringing the AHDRA National Championships there could make it an all-around record-setting event”.
The season-end turn of events will also affect AHDRA’s National Championship Banquet, normally held on the Monday following the Finals in Vegas. Tharpe said that a date and location for the 2008 banquet have yet to be determined, but will be forthcoming.
AHDRA’s Screamin’ Eagle Performance Parts Championship Series will now host eleven national points events in 2008 and one non-points event in Sturgis, SD.
AHDRA contestants may choose ten races to be used in calculating National Championship points.