The MIROCK Fast by Gast Fall Nationals from Maryland International Raceway, Sept. 29-30, got underway at about 10:30am on Saturday after a precise and thorough track prep led by MIROCK official Jason Miller.
With temperatures in the 60s and 70s and outstanding air quality, Miller is expecting racers to surpass records. Entering the event the records were; Pro Mod – Nitrous 4.06 Ron Procopio, Turbo 4.03 Mark Paquette, Nitro 4.51 Jamie Emery, Pro Street – Nitrous 6.99 Ryan Schnitz, Turbo 6.94 Rodney Williford, Real Street – Nitrous 7.76 Jeremy Teasley, Turbo 7.76 John Dobrin.
Earlier in the week a pessimistic weather forecast was released,prompting Miller to release a few updates encouraging racers not to be intimidated. By Saturday morning the forecast changed and indicated less than a 20% chance of rain each day.
In the first round of Pro Mod qualifying, Ryan Schnitz took the pole on the injected, HTP Hayabusa with a 4.12. Nitro Harley veteran, Bob Malloy was impressive in his MIROCK debut and annihilated the Nitro record with a 4.16 to qualify fourth. It marked Malloy’s first race in three years.
The bike count as of Saturday afternoon was 527. That marks a MIR record for 2012.
An oil down, that nearly stretched the entire length of the drag strip, contributed to the second round of qualifying being delayed about an hour.
In Pro Street, point-leader Joey Gladstone and defending champion Rodney Williford are in for a fierce, season-ending battle. With just two MIROCK races left, Gladstone and Williford were only separated by 34 points – about two rounds of racing.
In Real Street Q2, both riders eclipsed records with Gladstone running 211.93 mph and Williford extending his lead over the field with an impressive 6.913.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Williford said. “We need to win both races.”
In final qualifying, Ron Procopio remained the motorcycle to beat in Pro Mod by improving to a 4.08. Neither Gladstone or Williford were able to get a back-up for their potential records. Gladstone was unable to make the run and Williford spun hard off the line.
Jeremy Teasley is the top qualifier in Real Street at 7.80.
After a second count, it was announced that the total number of entries for the race is over 600 – a new MIROCK record for MIR.
The final round of Grudge and Saturday’s buyback rounds were cut in an attempt to get the race and Afterdark Underground completed before the track’s 1am curfew.
In Sunday’s first round of eliminations, No. 2 qualifier Schnitz suffered a huge upset in Pro Mod. Schnitz’s Hayabusa broke and his 6.57 left the door open for No. 11 qualifier Joe Erickson Jr., who won with a 5.91. Erickson’s luck got even better as his scheduled second round opponent, Malloy, hurt a piston and didn’t have a spare motor. Erickson was a second off the pace, but now had a free pass to the semifinals.
Joey Gladstone got the MPH record in the first round of Pro Street with a 7.07/212 MPH win over Schnitz. It’s not often Schnitz is eliminated from two classes in round No. 1 on the same day.
In the second round of Pro Street it was Gladstone who fell victim of an upset. Gladstone’s bike wouldn’t start. Moments later, Williford scored a round win and a bye in the final, putting himself inline to leave MIR with the point lead.
By 5:30 MIR had experienced its sixth oil down and, again, was running several hours behind. First round of Street ET had yet to be completed. Miller announced re-entry would again be cancelled. It’s clear drastic changes need to be made to the schedule over the off-season to get the races finished in a timely fashion. It’s not out of the ordinary for the Sunday program to go past 10PM, and several racers who travel and have to be at work on Monday are becoming frustrated.
On his semifinal bye run, Williford ran a 6.97 to make his 6.91 record official. Williford picked up 10 bonus points for the new ET mark.
In the Pro Mod final, McAdams was unable to make the round and Procopio opted to break the beam for the victory. With Pro Mod cranks costing about $4,000 and just a handful of people left in the stands, Procopio made a wise choice.
In The Pro Street final Williford took out Danny Cox with a 7.03 to Cox’s 7.32, and in Real Street, Teasley beat Chris Moore with a 7.84 to a 10.31.
The final MIROCK event of the year takes place Nov. 3-4 from Rockingham, NC.