Notes and quotes from stop No. 4 on the AHDRA tour, The Rucker Performance Lonestar Nationals from the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, TX.
Entering Texas The AHDRA is coming off a monumental weekend in St. Louis. Drums Brancaccio took control of the Screamin Eagle Nitro Harley point series and two new performance marks were established – Greg Krenik reset the Pro Mod speed record to 153 mph and Mike Roberts lowered the 124 Challenge ET record to 9.30.
The weekend did not start well for former NHRA Pro Stock racer Tommy Grimes and the Ray Price Samson Exhaust Team. Grimes destroyed an engine in testing on Friday and the team was seen packing up for the weekend on Saturday morning.
Screamin Eagle Top Fuel rider Phil Schmidt is in attendance after his wild crash last weekend in which he came off the motorcycle and the bike continued traveling down track rider-less, crashed into the sandpit, and flipped up into the safety net. Amazingly Schmidt was unhurt and was able to get the machine back intact for Texas.
In opening Screamin Eagle V-Rod Destroyer qualifying AHDRA tour regular Ray Cooper came off of his bike at the finish line. Cooper was up and alert after the incident but was transported to the hospital for evaluation. One of Cooper’s first questions to EMS was “Can I still race this weekend?” Cooper blew his motor and got oil on his tires.
L.E. Tonglet, who has won and quailed No. 1 at each of the first three races, led the first round of Destroyer qualifying with a 9.32
It was just announced that due to heavy winds the pros will qualify on the eighth-mile only. The AHDRA officials are particularly uptight about the Texas Motorplex since a Top Fuel rider has crashed there each of the last three seasons – Bill Furr (2004), Steve Stordeur (2005), and Steve Dorn (2006) – All three are in competition this weekend.
In Pingel Enterprise Super Eliminator (10.90) Charlie Walker took the top spot with the rare dead-on run – .031 light and 10.900 ET. Moments later Walker’s fellow Super Eliminator racer Mark McLaughlin duplicated the incredible run with a .011 light and 10.900 ET – stout competition this weekend in SE. On Walker’s very next run he nearly went dead-on in Super Gas (9.70) with a 9.692.
Defending class champion Andy Simon’s dominance continues in McCaa’s Street Pro as he takes the pole in opening qualifying with a 5.66.
Randy Borho had the run to beat in Samson Pro Mod opening qualifying with a 5.71, edging out Charlie Walker’s 5.74, and Donnie Huffman’s 5.75.
Dave Feazell outperformed the 4.80 of defending class champion Mike Lozano with a 4.66. The class ET record is held by Chip Ellis at a 4.50, set in Gainesville, Fla, in 2006.
John Breckenridge leads Jims Pro Fuel qualifying with a record run of 4.26, surpassing the 4.27 mark of Mike Lehman set in Las Vegas in 2004.
Steve Stordeur was the quickest of the first seven bikes to go down the track in Nitro Harley with a 4.17, before light showers moved in and caused a delay. After racing resumed a few moments later the number held up for best of the session.
Takeshi Shigematsu of Ehime, Japan failed to make a run in the first session but fired back with an impressive 4.22 in Q2 to take the No. 2 spot.
Top qualifiers after all three rounds
McCaa’s Street Pro – Andy Simon 5.62
Samson Pro Mod – Randy Borho 5.58
Kresto Pro Drag – Rick Moore 4.68
Rush Exhaust Pro Gas – David Feazell 4.62
JIMS Pro Fuel – John Breckenridge 4.26
S&S Pro Stock – Junior Pippin 5.10
Screamin Eagle Top Fuel – Steve Stordeur 4.17
V-Rod Destroyer – L.E. Tonglet 9.31
SEP (11.50) – John Burdynski 11.513
Dragmasters Hot Street – Charles Cannon 10.21
Pingel Super Eliminator – Mark McLaughlin 10.900
S&S 124 Challenge – Mike Roberts 9.45
S&S Super Sport – Dan Brumett 10.35
Screamin Eagle V-Rod – Lou Gerencer 9.61
Rucker Performance Super Gas – Joe Boyd 9.72
Saturday Night Notes
While cruising the pits on Saturday night Cycledrag.com was able to get the latest scoop from several racers.
Tommy Grimes, who enters Texas ranked No. 4 in the points but will not be competing this weekend , reported that he cracked a frame in testing on Friday and the team decided to load up.
“Ray (Price, team owner) and I talked about it and we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth risking it,” Grimes. “We could have tried to fix it and race this weekend, but if the chassis isn’t right and we lay it down on the big end we’ll be out all season.”
Ray Cooper, who crashed on his V-Rod Destroyer earlier in the day, was back at the track and explained the incident.
“I put a rod through an engine case and got oil on my tires at the finish line,” Cooper said while icing his hand. “I tried to keep it up, but it went into a bad tank slap and I couldn’t stop it. I’m lucky it wasn’t worse.”
Cooper escaped the incident with only a sprained wrist and a dime-sized patch of road rash on his elbow. Cooper’s head bounced off the track a few times but he did not sustain a serious concussion. – the safety equipment did its job.
In testing John Cabral ran what is believed to be the quickest run ever on a Harley V-Rod Destroyer at 8.62. Cabral revealed his secret weapon.
“The V-Rod Destroyer is a bad bike,” Cabral said. “But if you want to make it really fly put a 50-shot of nitrous in it.”
Top Fuel point leader Drums Brancaccio is grateful to have the No. 1 spot, but is determined to keep a level head.
“You can’t think about it too much,” Brancaccio said. “There are too many good racers out here. One bad race and you go right down to the bottom.”
However, Drums, who collected his 90th career national event win in St. Louis last week, admitted a career first Nitro Harley title world mean the world to him.
The wind is stronger today than it was yesterday and AHDRA officials have decided to continue to run the pros on the eighth mile.
During his first round bye V-Rod Destroyer class dominator and No. 1 qualifier L.E. Tonglet ran his best pass of the weekend with a 9.29. The second quickest run of the session was No. 9 qualifier Gene Thomason’s 9.39. Can Tonglet go four -for-four and continue to run the table?
In the opening round of Top Fuel top qualifier Steve Stordeur, who ran 4.17 yesterday, defeated Jack Romine and reset the low elapsed time of the meet to 4.168. However the mark didn’t stand for long. No. 7 qualifier Jay “The Bulldog” Turner took out No. 10 Steve Dorn with a stellar 4.160. Doug Vancil holds the eighth mile ET record at 4.07, set at Rockingham last season.
No. 14 qualifier Kevin Boyer, of Canada, upset two-time defending class champion and No. 3 qualifier Mike Romine with a 5.30 to Romine’s 5.71. Romine has had a slow star in 2007 and after four races is not in the top five in points.
In round No. 2 of V-Rod Destroyer L.E Tonglet suffered his first loss of the season with a -.021 red-light to No. 13 qualifier Ronnie Fensick, who ran 9.66 to Tonglet’s 9.43.
In round No. 2 of Nitro Harley point leader Brancaccio was upset by Japan’s Takeshi Shigematsu with a 4.29 to Drums’ 8.31. No. 3 in the points Vancil scored a crucial win over No. 5 in the points Turner with a wild run of 5.17 to Turner’s 5.78. Vancil’s bike went hard to the centerline with some forceful body english he was able to keep it from crossing by mere inches. That makes Vancil the last man ranked in the top five in points left in competition.
Pro Mod racer reset the eighth mile ET record, which he established last wee in St. Louis at 5.57, to an impressive 5.53
In 124′ Challenge Mike Roberts became the fist event winner of the day with 9.36 to beat a red-lighting Lou Gerencer. The final was run early because there were only two bikes in the class.
In the Top Fuel final nitro rookie and first time finalist Joey Sternotti of C&P Cycle Center went side-by-side with top qualifier Stordeur most of the way down the track. In the end it was Stordeur taking the win by .0246 with a .043/4.23 light to Sternotti’s .046/4.25.
Just two years ago Stordeur had a near career ending crash at the Texas Motorplex. Today he stands in the Texas Motorplex winners circle.
McCaa’s Street Pro – Danny Worth
Samson Pro Mod – Greg Krenik
Kresto Pro Drag – Howard Wiggins
Rush Exhaust Pro Gas – David Feazell
JIMS Pro Fuel – Jay Turner
S&S Pro Stock – Junior Pippin
Screamin Eagle Top Fuel – Steve Stordeur
V-Rod Destroyer – Brian Fox
SEP (11.50) – Dan Norlin
Dragmasters Hot Street – Charley Douglass
Pingel Super Eliminator – Dean Druschel
S&S 124 Challenge – Mike Roberts
S&S Super Sport – KW Seneca
Screamin Eagle V-Rod – Jamie McNaughton
Rucker Performance Super Gas – Danny Harvey
SYN 3 ET – Dan Brummet