Top Fuel Motorcycle 14-time champion Larry “Spiderman” will make his return to the famous Rockingham, N.C. dragstrip for the first time in over 20 years for the Manufacturers Cup DME Nationals, Aug. 22-23.
“It’s been a long time,” McBride said. “I’m excited. It’s a great track and there is a lot of history there. I talked to DME and they told me they test there all the time. They said the track is fantastic.”
Preparing for this race was not easy for the veteran. After destroying several of his custom parts during a match race at Maryland International Raceway in late July, it wasn’t until just a day before the Rockingham event that McBride and his brother had the legendary “Blue” ready to compete again.
The team wrapped up its final preparations late Thursday night and began the 300-mile trip to the Rock from Newport News, Va. early Friday morning.
“We have been working until midnight all this week,” McBride said. “We had to make some new chain guides and we had some chassis work to do.”
Part failures have seemed to plague the nitro category this summer.
Dave Vantine will sit out Rockingham after damaging several engines match racing McBride in Maryland. Korry Hogan and the Alwine team will also miss this event. During a routine start up prior to the race a connecting rod failed. The team will spend this weekend thoroughly inspecting the motor.
McBride still expects fierce competition in Rockingham.
Sam Wills and Mike Dryden enter the event fresh of their 4.01 eighth mile run at the WMDRA race in Eddyville, Iowa and a re-energized Chris Hand is hungry for another five-second time slip after suffering a major engine explosion at the last Man Cup race in Memphis, Tenn.
McBride also expects a few top-notch nitro Harleys to contend for a trip to the prestigious winner’s circle.
As for a personal challenge, The Spiderman is always aiming to improve upon his career best of 5.74.
Pro qualifying begins at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and continues until 10:50 p.m.
Opening ceremonies begin at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday with racing to continue until complete, or approximately 7:30 p.m.
McBride thanked his primary sponsors; Pingel Enterprise, Trim-Tex Drywall Products, Drag Specialties-Parts Unlimited, Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation and Final Swipe Merchant Services.
Web-Cam, Vance & Hines Motorsports, PR Factory Store, Ferrea Valves, Kibblewhite, Precision Machine, World Wide Bearings, Vanson Leathers, Millennium Technologies, Belt Drives Ltd, Simpson Race Products, Nitrous Express, APE, EK Chain, Arias Pistons, Cometic Gaskets, B&J Transmission, Carolina Cycle, L.A. Sleeve, PJ1, Mickey Thompson Tires, Valco, Goodridge, Carlisle Belts and Gates Belts.